Minty Pea & Ham Soup

Minty Pea & Ham Soup

Hello Everyone! I’ll keep today’s story short today just because I don’t have much to tell or write about for this recipe. However, I do just want to say that this was supposed to be a recipe for Pea and Watercress Soup, but for some reason I could not find watercress anywhere even if I did see them on the shelves two/three weeks ago when I didn’t need them. I had all the ingredients ready from grocery shopping two days ago, except the watercress. Maybe they’re not in season hence the lack of? Well I just did a Google search after writing that sentence and it appears that watercress is a late spring, early summer vegetable in Australia, available from October to December. Oh well. Anyway, so when I went to the shops yesterday morning as a last resort and could not find watercress, I decided to change my soup menu for today and bought a pack of ham for a pea and ham soup instead! I guess no harm done, but such hassles to find what could not be found.

Minty Pea & Ham Soup

I completely forgot that I had mint leaves in the fridge hence why not pictured in the ingredients shots. I think I wanted to use the mint leaves for the recipe with the watercress soup, but it completely slipped my mind when I had to change the menu. Also, at that time I couldn’t find my bottle of thickened cream when I rummaged the fridge; I found it in the end though, at the very back of the fridge…

Minty Pea & Ham Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3-5

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups frozen green peas
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pack (300g) shredded ham
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 bunch mint leaves
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • Thickened cream

METHOD

  1. Heat a little bit of cooking oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the shredded ham and fry until browned (about 5 minutes). Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. Add a little bit more cooking oil and sauté the garlic until golden brown and fragrant. Then add in the onions and cook until soft. Add in the carrots and potatoes, and season with a bit of salt and black pepper. Leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let it cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the green peas in together with half of the fried shredded ham. Bring the heat down to low and let it simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Turn the heat off, and throw in the mint leaves. Then, using a stick blender, blend the ham and vegetables together with the liquid in the cooking pot until smooth.
  5. Divide the soup equally into serving bowls (3 large bowls, or 4-5 small bowls) and top with the remain shredded ham, a dollop of thickened cream, and mint leaves. Serve immediately with some toasted bread.

Minty Pea & Ham Soup

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Hearty Chicken Chipotle Soup

Hearty Chicken Chipotle Soup

Hello Everyone! Another week, another soup on the blog today! Just three more soupy recipes to go until the end of Winter Warmer Month, and gosh until the end of July as well! I can’t believe time has flown by that fast! It’s making me said because that basically means that I have about 2 weeks left in this beautiful city that I have called home for the past 4 and a half years. It’ll be heartbreaking to leave, but it’s time that I get my career life together and make that transition from uni life to a professional working life.

Hearty Chicken Chipotle Soup

Anyway, enough about how my life is and will be for the next few weeks/months/years, let’s get onto today’s recipe shall we? If you’ve read my previous blog post on my Moroccan Pumpkin Soup, you might remember me going on about how I can’t believe that they don’t sell chipotle peppers in any of the big grocery stores here in Sydney. Well, when I was out doing a quick shopping run at a with my friend Marissa (basically just buying extra ingredients to go with our dinner for that day), I tried my luck to see if the Asian store that we went to sold chipotle peppers. To my surprise, they did, canned and in adobo sauce as well! My reaction was sort of like a what the *bleep* is this for real kind of reaction. I even said to myself that I should’ve popped by this store before I went all Moroccan on my pumpkin soup, and this was honestly like 2 day after I had posted my pumpkin soup recipe. Since they had them in store, and only 4 cans remaining, I decided to buy a can and figure out ow I can use them for another recipe seeing as I practically went cuckoo trying to find these peppers.

Hearty Chicken Chipotle Soup Ingredients

Today I had actually scheduled a recipe for Cauliflower and Stilton Soup, but instead, seeing as I had the chipotle peppers, I decided to do a Hearty Chipotle Chicken Soup. The soup that I made is the exact definition of a Winter Warmer Soup; it had a nice kick to it from the chipotle peppers, and a lovely sweetness to it from the corn, while the beans and the chicken meat bulked the soup up. You can find the original recipe on Taste of Home. I’ve tweaked the method a bit as well as some of the ingredients for my recipe.

For the chicken broth, I bought 2 chicken carcasses from the butcher and boiled it together with some bay leaves, sea salt, black peppercorns, and ginger for about 45 minutes to an hour to get the flavour into the broth. I then shredded the meat from the carcasses and used them to bulk my soup up instead of using chicken breasts as the original recipe used. I also used fresh field grown gourmet tomatoes and roasted them over the gas stove to give it that flame-roasted flavour to them for my soup. Yes I probably picked the most time consuming way to make this soup, but it was all worth it in the end I believe. I completely forgot to deseed the chipotle peppers, as the original recipe stated, before adding them to the soup, but I’m glad I didn’t because, though it gave the soup a good kick, it wasn’t as spicy as I thought it be. If I had deseeded them, I don’t think they give the heat that I had with this dish.

Hearty Chicken Chipotle Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 20 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 small field grown gourmet tomatoes, flame-roasted and cut into chunks
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 large chicken carcasses, washed and cleaned thoroughly
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, sliced or minced
  • 2 ears of corn, cut from the cob
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 can (400g) cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers)
  • Fresh cilantro or coriander
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • Thickened cream or sour cream
  • Thumb-sized ginger, sliced
  • Whole black peppercorns

METHOD

  1. Add the chicken carcasses together with the bay leaves, ginger, salt, and whole black peppercorns, to a large pot with enough water to cover the chicken. Boil for about 45 minutes to an hour over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken carcasses from the broth and set aside to cool. Strain the broth into a bowl and discard the bay leaves, ginger, and peppercorns. Set aside for later.
  2. Once the chicken carcasses have cooled down, pull the meat from the chicken carcasses and shred to small pieces. Set aside.
  3. Heat the same pot over medium-high with a little bit of cooking oil. Sauté the garlic until golden brown and fragrant. Then add in the onions and cook until soft. Add in the shredded chicken pieces and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Give it a good mix and follow with the adobo sauce, chipotle peppers, cannellini beans, sweet corn, and tomatoes to the chicken mixture. Give it a good mix and let it cook further for about 5-6 minutes before adding the chicken broth in.
  4. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring the heat down to medium-low and let the soup simmer away for a further 10-15 minutes to ensure all the flavours blend together.
  5. Divide the soup equally into serving bowls (3 large bowls, or 4 small bowls) and top with a dollop of whipped thickened cream and fresh cilantro. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Hearty Chicken Chipotle Soup

Anyway, before I end this post, I would just like to share my experiences of how I’ve heard other people try to pronounce chipotle (chee-poat-lay). The very best, and even I still remember until now even if it’s been just about 2 years ago, I’ve heard chip-poh-lah-tay from Jack Harries (jacksgap) on YouTube when he was doing a chilli challenge with Jamie Oliver, also note the way they say jalapeño, jah-lah-pee-nose instead of HAH-lah-pen-yose.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Potato & Caramelised Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon

Potato & Caramelised Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon

Hello Everyone! It’s the beginning of Winter Warmer Month on the blog! For the next month of July I will be sharing my favourite soup recipes, as well as learning how to make other various soups that I don’t already have up my sleeve. These soups are sure to keep you warm on a mid-winter’s night while you’ve got a duvet wrapped around you as you binge watch all your favourite movies and/or tv shows; I know I’ll be doing that most nights!

Potato & Caramelised Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon

Today’s recipe is one that I’ve made many times before in the past when I started getting into cooking, before I started my blog. Before moving to Australia, I’ve never seen a leek before, not including the one that Farfetch’d carries around and whacks other pokémon with. I don’t think Brunei sells them? Or maybe they do but call them a different name or something. I know one grocery store that sells them now, and at a whopping $15.99/kg. Leeks can be pretty hefty so imagine the price! Here at Coles they sell it at $2.48 or something around that price range per piece, and of course I always choose the bigger piece.

The only possible thing that I dislike about this recipe is that it made me cry and left my eyes with a stinging sensation – those darn leeks and onions! Other than that, this is quite possibly one of my favourite soup recipes alongside roast pumpkin soup. Leeks are an excellent source of vitamin K, and are a very good source of manganese, vitamin B6, copper, iron, folate, and vitamin C. It has quite a number of health benefits, but a majority of people don’t know how to cook leeks, or what to pair them with. I am probably one of them as I only know how to use leeks in this recipes, and a pasta recipe with chorizo sausages. Maybe I’ll have a week where I just cook and experiment with the use of leeks in various dishes!

Potato & Caramelised Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 3-5

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 100g streaky bacon, cut into bits
  • 2 cups chicken (or pork)* stock
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 1 leek, washed thoroughly** and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

*Remember my last post on roast pork belly crackling? Well, I had about 2 cups of rich pork broth that I didn’t want to throw away, so I reserved it and decided to use it for this recipe instead of using store bought stock or the powdered/bouillon version of it; made my soup super (or should I say, souper) tasty indeed! Okay I’ll stop there.

**Tips for cleaning leeks: Cut off the green tops of the leeks, removing any outer tough leaves. Cut off the root and cut the leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Make to to thoroughly wash out any dirt/soil that can be found in the insides of the leek.

METHOD

  1. Heat a large pot over medium-high. Add in the bacon bits and fry until crispy. Remove from the pot and set aside, leaving the bacon fat/oils in the pot.
  2. Add the garlic in and sauté until golden brown before adding the onions in and cooking them until soft. Add the leeks and a little bit of water. Mix it around leave it to cook for about 5 minutes or until the leeks have softened. Add the brown sugar to the leeks and give it a good mix. Cover the pot and let the leeks cook and caramelise for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Throw in the potatoes and add the pork stock to the vegetables. Season the soup with a bit of salt and pepper and leave it to boil for about half an hour or until potatoes are soft. Once done, remove from the heat and let it sit too cool down slightly for about 10 minutes.
  4. Using a stick blender, blend the vegetables together with the liquid in the cooking pot until smooth. Add in the cream and give it a good mix.
  5. Divide the soup equally into serving bowls (3 large bowls, or 4-5 small bowls), and top each with a bit of crispy bacon, spring onion, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Serve immediately with some toasted bread.

Potato & Caramelised Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spicy Carrot, Chickpea & Almond Soup with Roasted Croutons

Spicy Carrot, Chickpea & Almond Soup with Roasted Croutons

Hello Everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts once again. I’ve been a bit busy with University, preparing for the last 2 weeks to go! It’s been hectic! Also, the weather hasn’t been very cheerful for the past couple of days. Winter is definitely kicking in! It’s cold, damp and miserable. On occasions there’d be rays of sunshine, but Sydney weather being deceptive and all, the sunshine never lasts long. So what better way to warm up that a nice bowl of spicy soup with crunchy croutons? Soup has never tasted so good.

Today I cooked from the UNSW Student Cookbook, a recipe by Serena Coady. This dish was served at the Cookbook Launch last week and I fell in love with it. It tasted so good that I really wanted to make a whole bowl for myself after a measly taste test without the croutons. Today was definitely the perfect time to whip it up. I tweaked the recipe just a bit in terms of using different bread, herbs and beans, and leaving the sour cream as is, but otherwise I pretty much followed the recipe.

To be honest, the title of this recipe doesn’t quite live up to it – the spicy part that was. I was a bit disappointed that my soup was not spicy at all, like I wouldn’t even say it was mildly spicy. So I may have added a bit too much of dried chilli flakes to give it that kick that I was after. Now that really grasped the word ‘spicy’! It may just be cultural thing, I know a lot of my Western friends who can’t take anything spicy at all, or even calling a dish that had a dash of paprika in it ‘really spicy’. I seriously have no comment for that.

Spicy Carrot, Chickpea & Almond Soup with Roasted Croutons Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 3-4 slices of Pane di Casa bread from Bakers Delight
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Dollop of sour cream
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 250C.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium to high heat and sauté onions until soft, about 2 minutes. Add in the carrots with the chillies, paprika and oregano and sauté until combined. Season with a touch of salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and stir intermittently for 15 minutes until carrots are tender and browned. Add the vegetable stock and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the almond flakes into the soup, saving some for garnish later.
  3. Meanwhile, spread the flaked almonds on a lined baking tray and place in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the flakes are golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  4. Rip the slices of bread into bite size pieces and toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small bowl. Spread onto the same lined baking tray and roast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
  5. Pour the soup over into a blender (working in batches if I does not all fit) and blend on low speed for about a minute until well combined and smooth. Pour into a bowl and add a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with almonds, croutons, and paprika. Serve.

Spicy Carrot, Chickpea & Almond Soup with Roasted Croutons

A definite favourite winter warmer.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Clam Corn Chowder

Clam Corn Chowder

Happy Hump Day Everyone! The weather has been nice and warm all week, which is a bit unusual since it’s nearing the end of fall and entering winter next month – I’m not complaining though! And yes, I know that Australian winters aren’t as cold as Northern American and European countries, it’s cold for me because coming from the tropics, it doesn’t get as cold as 24C. I love the heat! I’ve been planning on making this dish for a while now, as in a few weeks ago when the weather dropped to about 10-15C, but I never got around to. I had half a pack of vongole left from my spaghetti alle vongole in the freezer and I wanted to cook it. So yesterday for dinner I decided to make Clam Corn Chowder.

I made this dish once before last year when I went on holiday with my flatmate and two other friends. It was a great winter weekend away at Port Stephens – though it was in the middle of winter, we did very non-wintry activities: parasailing, camel riding and sand boarding. The evenings were a little chillier, and we also had a ‘Christmas in July’ dinner night, where I whipped up a nice pot of Clam Corn Chowder; full of sweet corn, smoky bacon, and delightfully briny clams.

Also, please check out the original recipe that I followed here: Epicurious.

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg NZ Westhaven Vongole
  • 3 hickory smoked bacon slices, diced
  • 1 can (400g) super sweet corn kernels, drained
  • 500g potatoes, wash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups fish stock (clam juice preferable if available)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 stalks scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. In a large pot, melt 1 tbsp of the butter and sauté bacon until lightly browned, but not crisp, over medium heat. Add in the scallions (pale white parts) and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add in the corn and potatoes, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the fish stock, water, and season with pepper. Bring to a boil, uncovered.
  2. Add the clams in and bring to a boil again, uncovered. Stir occasionally until the clams open (about 5-8 minutes). Discard any clams that remain unopened after 8 minutes.
  3. Add the milk and cream to the chowder, remaining butter, and season with salt. Cook until heated through but do not let it boil. Garnish with green scallions and serve with buttered bread roll.

Clam Corn Chowder

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com