Tag Archives: soup

Revenge of the Soup.

4 Oct

In order to maintain my incessant laziness, I’ve decided that every time I make soup, I’m merely going to insert the word ‘soup’ into the title of a Star Wars movie. Admittedly The Soup Strikes Back was a happy coincidence and I doubt Seriously Simple Jedis was – or ever will be – a contender for the sci-fi saga, but this post is an unabashed and intentional rip off. So now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s move on to the next installment of Soup Wars.

Today was a pretty miserable day, weather-wise. It was a pathetic excuse for an approaching-the-middle-of-Spring day, with rain and clouds and wind and all things sad. I was reluctant to venture out in the cold but needed something for lunch. All we had on hand was a tin of tomatoes, a tin of beans and the usual staples like garlic, onions and dried herbs. And because of the dismal weather, all I really wanted was a bowl of hot, steaming soup and some carbalicious bread.

I pretty much bung everything in a pan and left it for ten minutes to cook – another example of my indolent ways – but the results were bowl-lickin’ good. The tomato became rich and sweet, heady and fragrant with garlic and herbs. The addition of chili gave the soup a warm and hearty kick. The beans added a mellow flavour and gave the soup substance and stodge – perfect for a rainy day in.

Tomato and Cannellini Soup.

Tomato and Cannellini Bean Soup

Serves 2

1 TBSP olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/2 medium brown onion, peeled and chopped

1 400g tin crushed tomatoes

1 400g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 tsp mixed dried herbs

1/2 tsp chili flakes (optional)

3/4 cup water

salt and pepper

grated Parmesan, to serve

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil.

2. When hot, add the garlic and onion. Fry for five minutes, until fragrant.

3. Add the tomatoes, beans, herbs, chili flakes and water and stir to combine.

4. Simmer for ten minutes and season to taste.

5. Serve with grated Parmesan.


The Soup Strikes Back.

20 Sep

Following my flatmate’s bout of food poisoning (to me, minor; to her, ghastly), I was forced to forgo making a rich lasagna for dinner and instead replace it with something a little less heavy and a little easier to digest.

The brief was that it couldn’t require much effort on her part, had to involve a broth and absolutely had to contain glass noodles. The answer here was obvious: I’ve already hammered on about the healing properties of soup, and what better way to really rehash a tired argument than to blog about it again?

This time around, the soup was light and fragrant and filled with fresh ingredients. The chicken remained tender and moist and the bok choy added a nice dose of clean, natural flavour. If possible, I much prefer using fresh vegetables over tinned or even frozen. There’s something invigorating about eating pure and wholesome vegetables that you can’t really emulate in a cylindrical piece of aluminum or a plastic bag. Buy in season and, if you live near one, buy from a fruit and vegetable market, such as Paddy’s in Sydney. You save money this way and also get the most bang for your hard-earned buck in terms of freshness and flavour.

The use of fresh vegetables also really ups the healing ante with the addition of extra vitamins and minerals. It was the perfect antidote to my flatmate’s ailments and the best way to silence her cries of pain (admittedly only for a lowly ten minutes) as she noisily slurped it down.

Chicken, Noodle and Bok Choy Soup.

Chicken, Noodle and Bok Choy Soup

Serves 4

4 chicken drumsticks

1.5L chicken stock

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

200g dried rice sticks (also known as rice noodles)

1 bunch bok choy, washed and roughly chopped

pepper, to taste

1. Place the stock and the chicken drumsticks into a large pot and bring to the boil.

2. Reduce to a simmer and add the soy sauce, ginger and pepper.

3. Simmer on medium heat for around 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Pull a piece out and cut open to check.

4. Add the rice noodles, cover with the soup stock and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the noodles are cooked through.

5. Add the chopped bok choy and cook for another 5 minutes.

6. Check the seasoning and add more soy sauce accordingly.

7. Remove from the heat and ladle into bowls to serve.

* If you so desire, you can shred the chicken off the bones after they’re cooked and re-add it. Much to my flatmate’s embarrassment, I’m an infamous bone-gnawer and prefer to keep it on.

Seriously Simple Soup.

30 Aug

When times get tough, soup is what’s called for. It’s nourishing, nutritional and tasty (I searched desperately for a synonym for ‘tasty’ starting with ‘n’ to keep the alliterative ball rolling but only thought of ‘nommy’, which probably doesn’t even exist and, if it did, would just be plain ridiculous. But anyway). There’s something comforting in a bowl of hot soup. Memories of bad days and general teen angst are brought back by the only cure all: my mother’s chicken and vegetable soup. Potato soup will forever remind me of my Ukrainian grandmother. Pumpkin soup will always conjure up the first time I made soup myself, as a naive 12-year-old who thought adding cheese was a good idea.

Following the bake-a-thon, which proved to be fantastically therapeutic, I decided to up the healing ante and make some chicken and corn soup for my dear flatmate. Admittedly I’ve always been wary of the stuff – finding the varieties available at local Chinese restaurants strangely comparable to glue. An excess of corn flour (and Lord knows what else) means I’m always left with that claggy mouth feeling and a bowl of unfinished gloop. But I decided to persevere, if only for the sake of household peace.

Searching through recipes for the soup, I was saddened to find that most of them contain bacon, shallots, sesame oil, ginger and chicken breast – things that, sure, probably make the dish undoubtedly delicious, but things that I certainly can’t afford for one lowly meal.

So we KISSed – and for all of you that know us, no, this does not put to rest those rumours – by Keeping It Simple, Stupid. We omitted pretty much everything and made it a very basic, but nevertheless flavoursome, dish. By all means add the aforementioned ingredients to make it even better but, if the only thing at your disposal is a few tins of corn and some low-grade meat, go with my option.

Chicken and Corn Soup.

Chicken and Corn Soup

Serves 2

2 chicken legs

1 400g tin of corn kernels

1 400g tin of creamed corn

2 cups of chicken stock

1 TBSP soy sauce

1/2 tsp ginger powder (optional)

2 eggs (optional)

salt and pepper

1. Place the chicken legs on a roasting tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Roast them for around 30 minutes in a 200C oven, turning occasionally for even browning.

3. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

4. In a large pot, place the corn kernels, creamed corn and chicken stock.

5. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.

6. Add the soy sauce and ginger powder and season to taste.

7. Using your fingers, tear the meat off the chicken legs and add to the soup.

8. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes and then remove from heat.

9. Ladle into bowls and stir an egg through each one.


22 May

I never realised how expensive fresh herbs were until I tried to buy some. Thus far we’ve been lucky enough to receive them as gifts from generous, cashed-up friends and have savoured them over several weeks to get the biggest bang for our (friends’) buck.

But when I went to the supermarket expecting to pick up a bunch of coriander for, say, fifty cents, I was rudely awakened – after all, these are the days of ridiculously high food prices.

Instead the coriander was four times my fantasy price. Two dollars for one or two usages? That hardly seemed fair – unless, of course, someone else was paying. So I came up with a more economical solution.

My flatmate and I discussed getting our own herb garden before we moved in together, and then quickly forgot about it once bills and rent started coming in. It just seemed an unnecessary cost in the grand scheme of things and nowhere near as important as a fondue set or heart-shaped ice cube trays.

Yet seeing pretty little pots at the supermarket hit a nerve and made me reminisce about the good ol’ days where my herbs didn’t come in powder form. The days of vibrant green freshness and intense bursts of flavour. Sigh.

And seeing as the individual pots were only a dollar extra than their packaged bunch counterparts, I figured they’d be much better value – granted we could keep them alive.

So I chose the three I thought would come in most handy: coriander, basil and flat-leaf parsley. There were more that I could have chosen, and indeed if I had more money and plant-rearing skills, I would have, but due to my lack of both I stuck with three as a kind of trial.

They’re sitting quite nicely in the kitchen and are so far pretty easy to keep alive. A bit of water, a lot of sun and voila, fresh herbs at the ready. We’ve only had them for six days but I’m thinking this whole home gardening thing can’t be too hard.

To celebrate (because this is clearly a significant milestone) the addition of our new herbs, I decided on a spiced pumpkin and coriander soup as our first (legitimately paid for) fresh herb meal.

Pumpkin is cheap as chips, making this entire meal cost roughly $3. I suppose it’s not necessary but the addition of coriander takes it to a whole new level – whatever that means.

Spiced pumpkin and coriander soup.

Spiced Pumpkin and Coriander Soup

Serves 2 (with leftovers)

1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped

2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 TBSP chicken stock powder

1 litre (4 cups) water

½ tsp cinnamon powder

½ tsp ginger powder

1 tsp cumin

½ cup milk

salt and pepper, to taste

¼ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped

  1. Put the pumpkin, carrots, chicken stock and water in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  3. Once the pumpkin and carrots are really soft and able to be broken up quite easily, add the spices.
  4. Using a masher, mash up the pumpkin-carrot-water mix. To get it to an even smoother consistency, put the lot in a blender and puree. Or you could use a bar mix. Or, like me, you could attempt to use a hand mixer. It leaves the soup a little chunky but if that’s all you’ve got, it’s fine.
  5. Add the milk and continue to blend.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve topped with fresh coriander.