Carrot and Tomato Soup for a moody weather

Summer is almost upon us in Sydney. The only whereabouts of winter are found in the slight chill in the air as the evening sets in. Woolies have been stored away for the next cold season, but I still find myself reaching out for a shrug in the evenings to drape myself in if the breeze has a bite to it.

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And when you are still caught in the midst of a weather having mood swings, I think making soup is not a bad thing. Especially if the soup has the hue of blushed cheeks in winter. This lovely “Carrot and Tomato” soup is just what you need for evenings like the ones we have today. I love serving the soup with thick set yogurt and Cucumber. The yogurt settles the tartness of the Tomatoes, and the Cucumber gives the much needed bite with every sip. Easy to make, delicious to taste, offering just the right amount of warmth, it is a great recipe to have in your kitty.

 

Tomato & Carrot Soup (Serves 4 – Cooking time 30 minutes)

5 Juicy ripe Tomatoes, chopped

2 large Carrots, finely chopped

3 Coffee cups of Vegetable or Chicken Stock (You can use plain water as well but using a good stock gives your soup a nice flavor)

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 Shallots finely chopped

2 Garlic cloves

1 tsp Coconut or Olive Oil

Handful of fresh Basil leaves

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan.

Add the chopped Garlic and Shallots and fry till translucent.

Add the Carrots and saute for a few minutes.

Add the Tomatoes and cook till they are almost mushed up. Add the Stock or water, Cover and cook till the vegetables are done.

Blend the Vegetables in a blender till smooth. Add the puree back into the pan with the Basil and bring to a rolling boil. Season with Salt and Pepper and serve with Yogurt and Cucumber (optional).

 

 

Indian Spiced Cauliflower Soup

I keep claiming that making a bowl of soup is not really considered as a meal in my books. But hey let’s be honest, who can pass a good bowl of soup? Not me.

So when I stumbled upon this delicious “Indian Spiced Cauliflower Soup” in Pete Evan’s new cookbook “Healthy Everyday”, I knew I had to make it, especially because Cauliflower has become a very interesting vegetable for me off late. Apparently there are a lot of things one can do with it besides the standard “Aloo Gobi” made in Indian homes.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAnd this soup was something really scrumptious and delicious. It was thick and chunky and filled me up instantly. Also because I had some homemade Vegetable stock ready in my freezer, again made with Pete Evan’s recipe and a Cauliflower just waiting in my fridge begging to be cooked,  there was really no reason for me to not make this soup.

It is flavorsome and wholesome and goes really well on its own or with a slice of crusty sourdough bread.

Here is the recipe (Cooking time 60 minutes)

4 Tsp Coconut Oil (use can use Butter or Olive Oil instead)

1 Cauliflower head cut into florets

1 Garlic clove, finely chopped

Sea salt

1 tbsp Yellow Mustard seeds

10 Curry leaves

2 Onions chopped

¼ tsp Cayenne pepper

750 ml Chicken or Vegetable stock

1 ½ tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)

1 ½ tsp Indian Garam Masala

Toasted Cumin seeds and freshly chopped Green coriander to serve.

Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt 2 tsp Coconut oil. In a large baking tray, toss the florets and garlic and the melted Coconut oil and ½ tsp of the Garam masala. Mix well so the Garam masala and Oil is coated with the florets. Toast for 20 – 25 minutes in a pre heated oven at 180 C.

Heat the remaining Coconut Oil in a large pan on medium flame and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the Onion and cook till almost translucent.

Add the toasted Cauliflower florets and Garlic, Garam masala and Cayenne pepper and cook for around 5 minutes.

Add the Vegetable stock and cook till smooth. Remove from heat and blend till smooth.

Add the Vinegar and salt and pepper as per taste.

Garnish with Toasted Cumin seeds and Coriander.

Recipe Courtesy : ‘Healthy Everyday’ by Pete Evans

 

Zucchini Soup with homemade Vegetable stock

When I think of cooking for my family or just for myself when I am alone, ‘Soup’ is not considered as a meal. Anything I can drink instead of chew cannot be just can’t be a meal in my head and I refuse to think otherwise. I know it is silly but Soup was not something we made often when I was growing up. We only had soup when our parents took us out for dinner and Soup would be just Soup that we had before the main meal. My dad would order 2 bowls of soup and then the 4 of us would share it to wet our appetite before a more satisfying meal followed.

1-10698645_833707796663432_2613351786832155142_nAs I have grown older and become a little health conscious and a little lazy I have trained myself to have soup and I mean a huge bowl of soup to satisfy my hunger and I am getting quiet used to it. Especially when I am alone and not in the mood to cook at all, I will resort to making soup with whatever vegetables I have in the fridge.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetAlso as I learn to cook I have started to do a lot of basics on my own, like making my own Stock and freezing it so I can use it to make soup whenever I want to.The stock I make is a very healthy and without any preservatives, I also use “Coconut Oil” to cook the vegetables. The recipe for the stock is from ‘Pete Evan’s’ new cook book called “Healthy Every Day” and is very easy to make.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAnd I used the stock in this very delicious and creamy Zucchini soup. I have been cooking a lot with Zucchini lately and everytime I marvel at the ability of this vegetable.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetIt is something I have in my fridge all the time and I often just chop it and freeze it in bags to use as desired. Hope you enjoy making this soup as much I did.

Here is the recipe:

For the Vegetable stock (Cooking time 2 hours)

1 tbsp Coconut Oil

1 onion roughly chopped

2 large carrots roughly chopped

2 parsnips roughly chopped

1 celery stalk roughly chopped

½ large bunch of silverbeet/swiss chard (about 600 g)

Several thyme sprigs

Several flat leaf Parsley stalks

1 dried Bay leaf

In a stockpot or a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Add the Onion and cook till caramelised. Add the Carrots, parsnip and celery and cook till Tender.

Wash and clean the silverbeet and chop roughly adding it to the pot. Add 4 litres of water to the pot, thyme, parsley and bay lead. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until the stock is highly flavoured.

Remove the stock from the heat and strain through a fine sieve, pressing on the vegetables to extract all their juices. Pour into storage containers for the fridge or the freezer. The stock will stay in the freezer for upto 3 months.

For the soup (Makes 2 big bowls, cooking time 20 minutes)

2 medium zucchinis chopped roughly

1 small onion finely chopped

2 cloves of Garlic

1 tbsp Coconut Oil or Olive Oil or Butter

3 cups of Stock (I used homemade vegetable stock)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese to garnish the soup (optional)

Heat oil in a pan and add the Garlic, Zucchini and Onion and cook for 10 minutes on a medium flame.

Add the vegetable stock, Salt & Pepper cover and cover and cook till the vegetables are cooked.

Cool and blitz in a blender, pour it back in the pan and bring it to a boil.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.

 

 

Curry or Soup – Dahi ka shorba/Yogurt Soup

I think we can all agree that Indian food is extremely versatile. We can make a meal using 1 main ingredient in 100’s of ways and still never get tired of it. If you don’t believe me just take something as humble as Yogurt/Curd or Dahi as we call it. We use it as base for gravies, add it in smoothies and use it a coolant during the hot summers and we also make soups out of it. One of my favourite ways to have this healthy and something I cannot live without ingredient is to make it into a Soup. To be honest I am not sure if I should call it a curry or a soup, so I am sticking with Soup as I just drink it as is.

1-IMG_4509The base of the soup is “Tomatoes” and the Dahi is just dropped in it gently like one would drop Eggs in boiling water while poaching them. The tanginess of the Tomatoes, heat of the Chillies and the cooling properties of the Dahi can cure many a sinuses, headaches and heartaches.

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The Dahi is this soup somehow thickens up and resembles poached eggs and tastes really good. The key is to remember not to overcook the soup once the Dahi is added.

This is a childhood favourite and recipe I had forgotten, so when nostalgia hit, I quickly called my mom to get the recipe and it took me only 15 minutes to make this dish and the husband was so impressed that he had 2 bowlfuls of it asking me to make it again the next day. This is what I love about cooking so you can make simple and tasty food in minutes if you just put your heart in it. With every sip that I took, I could feel the warmth of this soupy, somewhat oily and a little tangy soup/curry gladden my soul.

Here is the Recipe: (serves 2 greedy souls, ready in under 15 minutes)

3 medium sized ripe tomatoes finely chopped

2 Green chillies finely chopped

3 Garlic Cloves thinly sliced (you can skip these if you don’t want)

4 tbsps of Yogurt/Curd (Thick not runny and AVOID Greek Yogurt, we need set yogurt for this)

2 tsp Vegetable oil

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Red chilli powder

Salt to taste

5 – 6 Curry leaves

Lots of freshly chopped Coriander

1 tsp Cumin seeds

 

Heat oil in a pan add the Cumin seeds, Garlic cloves, Curry leaves and Green Chillies.

Once the Garlic has browned (not burnt) add the chopped Tomatoes and let them cook till the oil starts to separate. Add the Turmeric, Red Chilli powder and Salt and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add 2 cups of hot water and let the water come to a boil. Once the gravy is boiling reduce the flame and add the Yoghurt to the gravy one spoon at a time, like you would drop an Egg in a soup.

 

Let it cook for 5 minutes on a very slow flame ensuring the Yoghurt does loosen up else you would have a slush on your hands. Garnish with freshly chopped Coriander and serve hot with Rice or Roti or just drink it like a soup.

 

PS: One thing to note here is that you have to serve this dish instantly and cannot have it the next day as the yoghurt will become hard and chewy if left for a few hours. The fiery redness of the gravy and the tanginess of the Yoghurt complement each other making it taste almost like a soup. Try it and let me know what you think, I for sure am happy with the results.

 

Tomato & Coconut Soup (सार/Saar) for cold wintry evenings

Winter has hit Perth in full force. The mornings are freezing, afternoons are nippy and we have very cold evenings. Infact as I write this post I see huge drops of rain falling on my window sill making a very comforting sound as the rain melts into the hungry, thirsty earth and I just love this moment.

Growing up as a child in hot, sticky, humid Mumbai where I had only 1 sweater for many years, I had only read about winters in Enid Blyton fairy tales or from the stories that the cousins living in the northern parts of India shared. And somehow I craved for those cold bitter mornings where the frost would cover the window panes and one could wear winter clothing and snuggle up beside a warm open fire with a book in hand.

There is also something very romantic about winters. Maybe it is all the snuggling or cuddling that one can indulge in with another warm body or just a hot brew of your choice.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetMind you it doesn’t get as cold in Perth as it does in some other parts of the world and nor does it snow, it gets cold enough for us to curl our toes under the duvet for warmth, turn the heaters on and make hearty comforting soups and stews. And one of my favorite Soups/Broths is this “Tomato & Coconut Soup”.

IMG_0618This is actually a Maharashtrian delicacy that my mother in law often made for us. So when she was visiting us recently I begged her to make it again and wrote down the recipe. Trust me if I had my way I would make this every single day because it is so delicious and heartening.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIt is pronounced as “सार” “Saar” in Marathi which means Soup. And it is made using so many different ingredients but my favorite is the “Tomato Saar” made with Tomato, Coconut and Rice flour. It tastes really good with rice or can just be sipped on its own, perfect for wintery evenings.

Recipe (Cooking time 20 minutes, makes enough for 6 – 7 people)

5 medium sized Tomatoes

1 large Green Chilli

¾ cup fresh desiccated Coconut

2 tsp Rice Flour

½ tsp Turmeric powder

1/2 tsp Cumin seeds

½ tsp Mustard seeds

Salt to taste

2 tsp Vegetable Oil

6 – 7 Curry Leaves

Boil the Tomatoes in hot water till the skin peels off. I usually leave the Tomatoes in a bowl full of hot water for 10 minutes.

Add the Tomatoes (skin and all), Green chilli, Coconut, Turmeric powder and Rice flour in a grinder and grind everything to a smooth paste. Add a cup of water depending and grind again. The consistency has to be thin and a little watery.

In a round bottom pan add the Oil and once it heats up add the Curry leaves, Cumin and Mustard seeds. Once they start to splutter gently add the Tomato and Coconut paste, lowering the flame. Let the Saar come to a soft rolling boil before you add Salt as per taste.

Let it boil on a very gentle flame for another 5 minutes before turning off the heat. Sprinkle the freshly chopped Coriander at the time of serving and serve hot. The Saar goes really well with fried Fish.

 

Beat the winter blues with Mushroom & Chicken Stew in White wine

I must admit that I am taken aback with how cold it has been in Perth the past few weeks. It gets extremely hot in the summer months and coming from Mumbai where we only really experience 2 seasons – summer and Monsoon, this cold Perth weather has taken everyone by surprise.

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It is a struggle to wake up in the morning and drag yourself away from the comfort of the warm bed. I roam around in the darkness of the chilly house almost in trance trying to get my bearings until I have had the first cup of tea and let it warm my insides.

However the days when it gets extremely cold I find that getting up is even more difficult, so I splash my face with icy cold water to wake myself up. Evenings get even gloomier as the sun sets by 5 pm and then the world outside is covered in a blanket of darkness with the moon coming out and shining brightly giving the cold night an eerie feeling.

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Since I have to travel a considerable distance for work by the time I come back from work it is already dark and that makes me feel lazy and I am usually not in the mood to make elaborate dinners. So I usually stick to cooking one pot meals where I can put everything in a single pan and just forget about it and go and hide in my room under the warmth of my bed till the heady aromas of whatever I have on the gas drag me out.

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And stews are such wintery comfort meals in themselves. I love making Chicken stews a lot and this delicious “Chicken and Mushroom stew” is a one pot heartening wonder meal. I have resorted to making this when I have nothing else to cook or when I am feeling terribly lazy on a cold winter evening. It has a soupy consistency which means I don’t need to make Rice or Roti and can just mop up the juices with a warm crusty bread.

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And ofcourse the generous quantity of Wine that goes in the stew helps a lot to make you forget your blues.

Here is the recipe: (Cooking time 40 minutes, serves 4 big portions)

8 Chicken thighs (skin removed)

½ cup Plain flour

1 Coffee cup Chicken Stock

½ Cup good Quality White Wine

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 Cup Button Mushrooms cleaned and chopped into thin slices

1 Cup Leek Chopped (you can substitute Leeks with White Onions if you can’t find it)

4 -5 medium sized Carrots cut into round pieces

Small bunch of Parsley

Good Quality Olive Oil

1) Heat around a tbsp of Olive oil in a big pan in which you want to cook the Chicken.

2) Sprinkle Salt and Pepper to the Flour and mix well. Rub the cleaned and dried Chicken thighs in the flour and lightly fry them in the olive oil till lightly Golden in color.

3) Drain the Chicken thighs on a kitchen towel to remove any excess oil and keep them aside.

4) In the same pan add a little more Olive Oil and add the Chopped leek and cook for 5 minutes on a medium flame.

5) Now add the Chopped Mushrooms and Carrots, cover the lid and let them cook for 5 minutes again on a medium flame.

6) Put the Chicken pieces directly over the vegetables, adding the Wine and the Chicken stock and letting it come to its first boil.  Add the chopped Parsley and some more Salt depending on your tastes and some Pepper, cover and let it cook for 20 – 25 minutes on a medium head till the Chicken and Vegetables are cooked.

7) Serve hot with some warm crusty bread.

A stew for passion – Fish stew in white Wine

We all love to be around people who share the similar passions with us don’t we? A few weeks ago I visited “Taste Budds Cooking Studio” which is a delightful cooking classes run by the very pretty “Sophie Budd”. I am always keen to learn new things and when I discovered her classes I knew I had to join them.

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Sophie who is quiet a celebrity chef herself in Perth had worked with famous chefs like Rick Steins and Jamie Oliver. Her love of food was evident in the kind of food she made and the classes she conducted.  The more I read about her and her cooking studio, the more intrigued I got. So I enrolled for the “Italian Summer” classes, since Italian food is my favorite.

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We met on a rather chilly Tuesday evening at her studio. The group was an eclectic mix of men and women from different walks of life sharing the same passion for good food. We learned to make some gorgeous Roasted Zucchini rolls, Ravioli, Gnocchi, Fish Stew, Foccacia bread and a Ricotta Tart for dessert. Sophie personally supervised all tables patiently answering all our questions. I came home inspired to make some of the delicious dishes I had learned. And I did just that.

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The first dish I made was the very heartening Fish stew. It is extremely easy to make and doesn’t take much of an effort. I added some chili flakes while serving it to give it a kick and served it with some toasted crusty Bread on the side.

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The stew is very filling and we can use almost any type of Fish that we like. I could not find any “Mussels” in the local fish market so I tried “Vangole”, which according to the fish monger were a bit like “Clams”.  Frankly speaking “D” and I ate so much that we couldn’t move.  We just moped the bowl up with the left over bread and whatever the Bread couldn’t get we used our tongues to lick it up.

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Try it and tell me what you think?

Recipe (Serves 2, cooking time 40 minutes)

Ingredients

1 large Onion finely chopped

1 tin good quality canned Tomatoes (400 gms)

3 Garlic cloves crushed or chopped finely

1 cup dry white Wine

Salt and Pepper to taste

Handful of Basil

200 gms Prawns (you can shell and peel them)

300 gms fillet of any fish (I used Barramundi and Snapperl)

150 gms Mussells/Clams or Vangole

Red Chilli Flakes to sprinkle on top (optional)

1 tbsp good quality Olive Oil

Some crusty toasted Bread to serve

Method:

1) Wash and clean the fish and keep it aside. Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add the Olive oil. Once the pan is hot add the Garlic and Onion and saute till translucent.

2) Put the can of tinned tomato in the pan and add the wine. Mix well and cover allowing it to cook on a low flame for 15 minutes.

3) Add the Basil, Salt and Pepper. Mix well and add the fish in layers adding the Prawns first. After 2 minutes add the fillet fish, cover and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

4) Now add the Vangole and cover and let the stew cook gently. You will know the stew is ready when the Vangole open up. Any unopened Vangole should be discarded.

5) Serve the soup in big bowls garnished with some Chilli flakes with toasted crusty Bread.

Enjoy this bowlful of goodness.

Cold Cucumber, Pea and Mint soup for the Non Valentines day celebrations

I do not believe in Valentine’s Day. There I have said it. The whole world around me is going gaga around what we would be doing for our loved ones. And I cannot be bothered. Facebook. Twitter and even some News channels are flooded with Valentines day messages to celebrate the great day of love.

Not that I don’t love my loved ones or don’t want to express it. It just feels strange that you have 1 special day nominated for it when you have 365 days to love. Another reason is I am not sure how to be romantic. Yeah Yeah I am a girl and I am the most unromantic person you will ever know. I hate flowers, Chocolates and the color Pink. Give me a book, have an intelligent conversation with me and you have my attention. Give me flowers and I will think you like to waste money, get me chocolates and I will throw up. And Pink lets not even get started on that.

All my blogger friends are doing something for their loved ones on Valentine’s Day and blogging about it. So I thought I should do something  for the non romantics like me who do not celebrate.

I had no idea what to make till I stumbled upon an idea for a Cold soup, which would be so perfect for this hot weather in Perth. Well how sad am I. When everyone is making so much attempt to celebrate the day with Cakes, Chocolates etc I am making a soup. To think of it my true love is food so what would be a good way to express it then cooking for your other love. Also it was something I had never made so it would be special. So I made a Cucumber, Mint and Pea soup. And man I tell you it was delicious and a perfect treat.

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Here is the recipe (Cooking time 45 minutes, serves 4)

2 Tablespoons extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 medium Onions finely chopped

1 Garlic clove finely chopped

3 medium sized Potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped

400 gms frozen Peas

450 gms Cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped (I used 2 medium sized Lebanese cucumbers)

500 ml Chicken or Vegetable stock

1 tablespoon Lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly chopped Mint

50 ml Milk

A few Slivered Almonds and chopped Mint to garnish.

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Heat Oil in a thick bottomed pan and cook the Garlic and Onions till translucent.

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Add the Cucumber, Peas and Potatoes and cook on a medium flame for 5 – 7 minutes coating them well with the Oil.

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Add the Mint, Lemon Juice. Salt, Pepper and stock and let it come to a boil. Cover the pan and let the vegetables cook for 10 – 15 minutes till the Potatoes are tender on a medium flame.

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Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down. Once cooled puree it in a blender till smooth.

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Put the puree back in the same pan and heat it without boiling it, adding the Milk. I would recommend you taste the soup a little to ensure that the seasoning is right. I had to add some extra Salt and Pepper at this stage.

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Turn off the heat and garnish with some Mint and Almond flakes before you serve it either hot or Cold. Tastes great either way 🙂 Happy Valentines day.

Easy Roast Tomato Soup for everything that ignites your passions

Life is all about passions and apart from food my few other passions are Reading, travelling and gardening.  

My school had a huge library in school and I was blessed with friends who hated to read. So every week in the library period I would choose the books I wanted to read and give the list to my friends so they would borrow the books for me. I would then go home laden with my weekly dose of Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Enid Blyton. I would spend hours holed up in a corner reading oblivious of everything and everyone around me. 
We also had a huge garden in the house we grew up in and both my father and grandfather enjoyed Gardening. We had all sorts of trees an plants in our backyard and it was lovely growing up surrounded by nature all around you. And since then I have always attempted to have a small garden or atleast have potted plants of herbs and flowers wherever I have lived. The whole act of dirtying your hands in the cold mud is very soothing somehow.
Living in a rented house in Perth it has been a challenge to have a green balcony with so many restrictions and regular inspections by the landlord. I have however managed to plant a few plants and was rewarded with some gorgeous red juicy Tomatoes today morning. These were my first home grown Tomatoes and I did not want to spoil their beauty by cooking them in some gravy dish. And what can do justice to them then a soup which is dominated by Tomato. 
This Tomato soup is gorgeous and needs less than 5 ingredients which is great because the only dominating flavor is that of the Tomatoes. The soup is lovely and fresh and very warm for the evenings with a nip in the air. This is a Donna Hay recipe https://www.donnahay.com.auand is perfect.
Recipe (Cooking time 1 hour out of which 40 minutes is to roast the Tomatoes, serves 2 large bowlfuls)
6 Ripe Juicy medium sized Tomatoes
5 – 6 Garlic cloves
1 1/2 cup Chicken Stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 tsp Olive oil

1 1/2 tsp Sugar

Some fresh Mint sprigs to garnish (optional)
Place the Tomatoes in a baking tray lined with Baking paper. Sprinkle the olive oil, Salt and Pepper and roast in an oven for 20 minutes. Now add the garlic and roast for the next 20 minutes of till both the Garlic and Tomatoes have become soft.


Let them cool before you grind them into a puree.


Keep the puree aside till you prepare the stock.


Heat the Chicken stock in a big pan. Once it boils add the the Tomato Puree, Salt and Pepper to taste and let it boil once before turning the heat off. Serve with fresh Bread and garnish with some Mint. It is a delicious and hot soup perfect for a wintery evening when you want it to warm up your heart.



A special soup for the special people who read my blog – Pea and Mint soup

While walking home from work today my friend S messaged me and told me that his beautiful wife J follows my blog and she has cooked a few of the recipes I have posted and they were very pleased on how good they turned out.

The message made me so happy that I almost floated my way home. I was filled with resolve on making my blog better and more interesting so anyone who reads it can feel instantly connected to it and try some of the recipes that I post. 
I kept thinking that I should try and make something different tonight but one of the perils of being a working woman are that by the time you reach home after a long day at work you are exhausted and drained out of all energy. And then when you have to prepare Dinner and lunch for the next day and also think what you will have for breakfast the next morning, by the time you are done with all that there is no stamina left to try something new and exciting. 
So as I was reaching home the little bubble on my head was ready to burst. But I shook myself up and started to rummage through the fridge thinking of what I should make that could be easy and also a little special. 
I started to look at the cookbooks and blogs I access and came across a Pea and Mint soup on a Donna Hay blog which instantly got my attention.
Soups have lately become a part of my daily diet and the only 2 soups in my repertoire are a Pumpkin & Spinach soup. I have never made any other soups and cannot be bothered to make elaborate ones and do all the preparations.  However this soup looked fresh and fairly easy to make, which gave me the confidence that I could make it without breaking into sweat.
I was happy with the results and by the time I finished my bowl I was a very happy person.
Recipe for a Pea and Mint soup:
3 cups (360g) frozen green peas
4 medium sized Potatoes
1.5 liters Chicken Stock (I boiled 1.5 liters of water and added Chicken stock powder)
½ cup single Cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped Mint
Sea salt and cracked Black Pepper
½ cup (120g) Sour Cream to serve the Soup with.

Take the Frozen Peas (no need to thaw them) and Chop the Potatoes.
 But them all together in a big bowl with Chicken Stock. 
 Bring them to a boil and then cover and let them cook till the Potatoes are tender. 
 

Let the Potatoes and Peas cool down and then blend them in a mixer till nice and smooth. 
 
Pour the mixture back in the bowl and add the single Cream to it.
 Once the soup starts to boil add the chopped Mint, Salt and Pepper to it.

Let it boil for 5 minutes and the soup is ready.

To make the Soup extra special you can serve it some Pepper Sour cream. 

Recipe for the Pepper Sour cream:
 

 Add 2 teaspoons of Sour Cream in a small bowl (If you are serving more than 1 person increase the quantity of the Sour Cream. I go with 2 spoons per person). 

Add the Pepper to the cream and mix well.


Pour the soup in bowls and put a nice big dollap of the sour Cream on top to decorate the soup. The Sour cream gives a nice kick to the soup which would otherwise be too bland. 

I hope you will enjoy this soup as much as I did. Do leave your comments and feedback to let me know.
Lessons Learned: I did not like the Mint leaves coming in mouth while drinking the soup. Next time I will blend the leaves with the Peas and Potatoes itself and see how it goes.

A Spinach Soup for Popeye

Lately I have been obsessed with soups. Now a day’s my dinners have been replaced by soups as they are light on the stomach and don’t make me feel bloated and stuffed the next day.

I have been reading about Soups and the various ways in which they can be made. There are some cookbooks and websites which have some amazing but really long and hard soup recipes which require considerable time and patience. And if you have been following my blog you know I do not have time for time or patience for patience. So I do keep going back to the basics of making simple healthy soups that can be prepared with the least amount of ingredients and in no time. 

The only thing in my fridge was 2 bunch of Spinach, which I know will not be consumable if left for another day or two. Spinach reminds me of Popeye, one of my favorite Cartoon Characters after Tom & Jerry of course.  Spinach is a low fat food, with just 2% fat per bunch, making it an ideal vegetable. There is 30% of our daily need of fiber in a small amount of Spinach and it also has fat burning properties along with various other vitamins, nutrients and minerals. 

No wonder it charged Popeye up every time he ate it.


Now a Spinach soup on its own is not very tasty so I raided my freezer and thankfully found some frozen Corn which I could use with the Spinach to make the soup tastier. 

I have used the same base as the Pumpkin soup, just changed the vegetables and the result was amazing and filling. 

Here is the recipe: (makes soup for 4 or in my case I will have it 4 times)

2 Bunches of Spinach 

1 cup Corn

1 medium Onion finely chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 knob of Butter to saute the Onions

Some cream or Milk to garnish

Blanche the Spinach in hot water for 7 – 8 minutes and then drain the water away. Boil the Corn separately and keep the water in the corn to use in the soup. I boil them separately as Spinach has usually got some dirty hidden in it and it is not a good idea to use the water it is boiled in as it would carry the dirt.

Grind the Corn and Spinach to a fine paste. Adding the Corn water if necessary. The consistency has to be smooth and thick. 

Heat butter in a Pan and sauté the Onions till Golden brown. Now add the Spinach and Corn Puree. The only problem here is that the puree splatters a lot, so do lower the flame or you will be covered in Green spots.

Once the soup has boiled add some cream or milk and Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve piping hot with a garnish of fresh Cream. 

After drinking the soup I feel like singing “I am strong in the village cause I eat me Spinach, I am Popeye the Sailor man”.

Jhatpat Pumpkin Soup to drive away your winter blues

There is a slight nip in the air from the past few evenings announcing the arrival of winter to Perth.  Winters remind me of freezing balmy London evenings when I saw Snow for the first time in my life and went crazy making little Snow balls, throwing them at the passing cars.  Last year in December I visited Jammu which can get really cold in the winter. So to beat the chilly nights we would sit near to the Chenab River, hearing it gush by and drinking bowls of hot steaming soup.
There is something amazingly comforting about Soup on a cold night when the first sip warms your insides making you feel all cuddly and nice. 
The culinary world has millions of soup recipes and every chef worth his salt will have some signature soups under their belt. I have even tasted a Strawberry Soup once (didn’t think I cared for it much). The point is almost any vegetable in your fridge can be turned into Soup. Nutritionists argue the health benefits of soup because once the vegetables are pureed they lose all their nutrition value.  
But tonight I was not worried about the nutrition value what I wanted was a nice hot soup which would fill me up. I had some Pumpkin lying in my fridge, which can be made into a very simple and easy soup ready under 30 minutes and uses only 5 ingredients which are available in every kitchen. 

The recipe:
 

½ Kg Pumpkin
2 – 3 small Potatoes
1 white onion
Cream or ½ cup Milk
Salt to taste
Pepper
Knob of butter to saute the Onions.
Chop the Potatoes and Pumpkin and boil them in water with a pinch of Salt till they become soft. 
Once they have become soft let them cool down before you puree them. I have left the skin on the Potatoes for the Fibre but you can peel them if you wish. 
Remove the Potatoes and Pumpkin from the water it was boiled in and puree them adding the same water little by little. You don’t want the puree to be too watery. Look at how beautiful the color is.
 
Chop the Onions really finely. Heat butter in a Pan and add the chopped Onions and let them cook till they are almost Golden Brown. Be careful as Butter burns easily so keep stirring at regular intervals.
Now add the Puree to the buttered Onions and a little water if it is too thick. Add Salt and pepper and let the soup boil. Then add some fresh Cream or Milk in it. Serve hot and garnish with Cream.
This soup is so yummy and creamy it will take away your hunger pangs and the winter blues. Burrppp!!!