Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Wild Garlic Soup

Wild Garlic Soup

It's springtime! The sun is (sometimes) in the sky and everywhere, nature is erupting from its winter slumber like an, erm, volcano of green things.  And one of the greatest things about this time of year is wild garlic!

I've done a few soups with wild garlic before, but out of every one I've tried, this is by far the best and the most simple.  On  Sunday afternoon, we had guests for a roast dinner, so I served this soup as a starter, which meant a quick walk down the the canal, following my nose until I smelled the unmistakable smell of the wild garlic, grabbed a carrier bag full of the stuff, headed home and an hour later the soup was on the table - how's that for 'straight from nature'?

Wild Garlic
Wild Garlic, yesterday, in a secret location
 Of course, it goes without saying, if you are going to pick wild garlic, make sure that you know what it is first, no picking deadly poisons and then trying to sue me, okay? Secondly, wash it thoroughly - there are lots of dogs and dog walkers around where I pick mine, so it needs to be cleaned properly.

Wild Garlic
Even more wild garlic. Surely no-one will miss a few kilos for soup purposes, right?
Bearing that in mind, wild garlic is about the easiest thing in the world to forage for, and its a brilliant ingredient that you never see in the shops, for reasons I can only guess at. Anyway, the addition of some cream, black pudding slices and croutons will make this a quick, easy and tasty soup.

Wild Garlic Soup

150g Wild Garlic
1 Large Onion
1 Large Potato
40g Butter
900ml Vegetable Stock
100ml White Wine
Juice of half a lemon
Double Cream
Black Pudding Slices
Salt and Pepper

1. Peel and chop the onion and potato.  In a large pan, heat the butter and then gently fry the onion and potato until they start to soften.

2.  Wash the garlic and remove any tough stems.  Add to the pan and allow to wilt.

3.  Add the stock, lemon juice and white wine, bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 25 minute.  Take off the heat and allow to cool

4.  Blend the soup until smooth, passing through a sieve to remove any lumps, then return to the pan and reheat gently, adjusting seasoning to taste

5.  Fry some slices of black pudding

6.  Serve with a swirl of cream, some black pudding slices and a few crunchy croutons.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Budae Jjigae (Army Base Soup) - Korean Spam and Kimchi Soup

Budae Jjigae

Here it is.  The pinnacle of my soup making career to date!  If you could create a recipe that combines my love of soups of the world with my love of unloved ingredients, combine something I've never tried before and sprinkle a bit of military history on top (yes, I'm a history geek as well as a soup geek) it would look something like this unholy but delicious dish.

The story behind this soup goes as follows... A few weeks ago, I got a craving for Spam - I have no idea where it came from except that when I was a kid, every Friday in the summertime we had a salad that featured either Spam or Pek pork, nestled alonside limp lettuce, pickled beetroot and sliced boiled eggs.  Maybe I was feeling nostalgic for those days, or maybe I'd just been watching Monty Python, but regardless, my recipe seeking brain went in search of things to make and do with Spam, and it eventually lead me to South Asia...

Budae Jjigae
East Meets West.  It's like an episode of M*A*S*H in tinned form
After the Second World War (and the Korean War too) food in Japan, Korea and the Pacific Islands - recently devastated by a harrowing but highly cinematic conflict - was in short supply.  Indeed, the only regular supply of it was often to be begged, borrowed or stolen from the American GIs  who were still around.  And one thing they had plenty of was Spam. And since then it has become something of a delicacy in the region, even appearing as Spam Musubi (a form of sushi featuring Spam)

This soup (or stew) is made entirely of ingredients that could be scrounged from GIs, hence the name Army Base Soup, but its the sort of thing I would have eaten as a student, if I'd had access to kimchi.  It might now exactly be fine dining, but I'm guessing it's as authentic as any recipe from any cook book on your shelves, and doesn't it deserve some look as much as the pulled porks, confit potatoes, cronuts and quinoa stuffed, organically sourced alpaca steaks of this world?

If you can get Korean hot pepper paste, that is more accurate than the chilli powder that I used, and the instant noodles should be added without their soup powder mix!

Budae Jjigae

200g Spam
4 Hot Dog Sausages
100g Mushrooms
100g Kimchi
1 Small Tin Baked Beans
1 Large Onion
Spring Onions
Red Chilli Pepper
1 Packet Instant Noodles
1tsp Sesame Oil
1tbsp Minced Garlic
1tbsp Rice Wine
1tsp Chilli Powder
1tsp Fish Sauce
900ml Chicken Stock

1. Bring the stock to the boil, add the sesame oil, garlic, rice wine, chilli powder and fish sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat and set aside for later

2. Cut the hot dog sausages into small pieces, slice the spam, wash and halve the button mushrooms, peel and finely slice the onion.  Place the ingredients in a pan, along with the baked beans and then add the stock.  Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minute.

3. Add the instant noodles and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the noodles are soft.

4. Garnish the soup with thinly sliced spring onions and red chillies.  Enjoy!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Potato and Caraway Soup

Wow!  This is my 200th post! Who knew I'd still be doing this thing (oh, wait, I said this all when I did my 100th soup recipe didn't I? Anyway, thanks for sticking with me, and there are still so many exciting soups to come, I promise...) 

Due to circumstances beyond my control I couldn't make the polish soup I'd planned this week (again) and I needed to throw together a quick 'cupboard' soup.  I can't think of any other kind of food where you can just throw random things into a pot and out comes a tasty result - that's why soups are so brilliant, but I wanted to also have something that had a bit of character, not just a random veggie thing.

I had a look in the cupboards where vegetables lurk and found a few things that would go well together, then added some caraway (I'm still addicted to the stuff in a way that's probably unhealthy) and some sausage to add a little meaty savoury taste to the whole thing, and voilà - a tasty soup was born...

600g Potatoes
1 Leek
1 Large Onion
2 Stalks Celery
40g Butter
3 Cloves Garlic
2tsp Caraway Seeds
1tsp Marjoram
1.2l Chicken Stock
2 Polish Sausages

1. Finely chop the leek, garlic, celery and onion, Heat the butter in your soup pan then gently fry the vegetables until the start to soften

2. Peel and cube the potatoes, then add them to the pan, letting them soften slightly too.

3. Add the stock, marjoram and caraway seed, then bring the soup to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are just starting to break up.

4.  Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree it, then return it to the pan (or alternatively, just use a potato masher - this soup works best with a few lumps in it)

5.  Slice the sausage and then fry it in a little oil

6. Serve the soup with slices of sausage as a garnish.  Enjoy

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Zupa Koperkowa - Polish Dill Soup

Zupa Koperkowa : Polish Dill Soup

I had some friends who went on holiday to various East European countries, and when they returned, the brought back tales of culinary horror.  Not only was it nigh-on impossible to get a decent vegetarian meal in Latvia, but in Poland - horror of horrors - they put dill on EVERYTHING.  And my friends REALLY couldn't stand dill. Now I can't vouch for the veracity of these stories, but I'm pretty sure my friends would hate this soup...

This is a really simple soup that is really all about the dill, although it is really filling and creamy and would be good as a winter warmer, or as a summer soup.  Of course, the recipe I really wanted to do this week was a Polish Tripe soup, but the supermarket seems to have stopped stocking cow's stomach linings, so I will have to take a trip to Leeds Market to procure some.  You have been warned...

Zupa Koperkowa : Polish Dill Soup

1 Carrot
1 Potato
2 Parsnips
250ml Sour Cream
150g White Rice
1.5l Chicken Stock
1 Bunch of Fresh Dill
2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper

1. In a large pan, heat your chicken stock.  Add the bay leaves and the carrot, potato and parsnip, all peeled and cubed.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes

2. After 20 Minutes, add the rice and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, until the rice is cooked and the vegetables are soft.

3.  Finely chop the dill and add to the pan, along with the sour cream. Heat through

4.  Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with some extra dill for garnish.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Krupnik - Polish Barley Soup

Krupnik  - Polish Barley Soup
So, because I like to have themes on the blog (mainly as it's a good way to get inspiration for new soup recipes), welcome to Polish Month on Soup Tuesday!

I used to live down the road from a rather brilliant Polish restaurant - the food was cheap and cheerful, but blimey it was filling, and I think that's where I first got addicted to Polish cuisine.  The owner / waiter was always helpful in pointing out what was the special of the day and they did some killer pirogi, but one thing I never tried was the soup - being equally as addicted to dumplings as I am to soup, I always went for them first - and occasionally, the restaurant did serve tripe soup (which will be coming to the blog shortly...)

Since starting this blog, I've done a number of East European soups, and they have always been brilliant.  This one is no exception.  Krupnik is a sort of Polish minestrone, it seems - with various recipes adding or subtracting different elements - you could always try it without the mean - but the constant is the pearl barley.  Its a chunky soup that works well (as you would imagine) on a cold night.

Krupnik is not to be confused with the honey sweetened alcoholic drink of the same name, but I'm pretty sure it would go well with this soup too!  Also, the dried mushrooms I used in this recipe were given to me as part of a foodie pen pals parcel ages ago and I'd never used them until now, but they gave a nice meaty edge to the soup.

250g Chicken Breasts
150g Pearl Barley
1 Large Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Carrots
2 Potatoes
1 Leek
1 Stalk Celery
2 Bay leaves
25g Butter
15g Dried Mushrooms
1/2tsp Ground Allspice
1.5l Chicken Stock
Fresh Dill

Krupnik  - Polish Barley Soup
1. In your soup pan, heat the stock, bringing it to the boil.  Cut the chicken breasts into small cubes, then put them in the stock, poaching them for 3 minutes until the meat is cooked.  Skim any scum from the stock as you do this.  Remove the chicken from the stock and set aside.  Take the stock off the heat for the moment

2. Heat the butter in a large frying pan.  Into this add the finely chopped onion and celery.  Cook until the veg starts to soften, then add the garlic, cubed carrot and leek, cook for another few minutes and then add the cubed potato.  Cook for another few minutes until all the veg is softened.

3.  Add the vegetables to the stock with the pearl barley, allspice and bay leaves.  Wash the dried mushrooms to remove any grit and then add these to the pan also. Bring the soup to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. 

4.  Check the mushrooms and barley are cooked and soft, then add the chicken back into the pan and heat through.

5.  Adjust seasoning to taste and then serve.  Garnish the bowls with plenty of finely chopped fresh dill.  Enjoy!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Smoked Haddock Chowder

Smoked Haddock Chowder
So, it's the new year and here is a new blog post.  And it's a special one.  This soup recipe makes 100 soups on the blog! Wow.  When I started doing this blog, mainly as a way to keep occupied and to inspire me to cook new and interesting things, I never thought I'd make it this far.  In the 3 years I've been doing this, I have found by cooking becoming increasingly more adventurous and that I've also gotten a lot more passionate about what I eat.

And the soups - who would have thought that there even were more than a hundred types of soup in the world?  And it seems that I've just scratching the surface - not just in terms of 'Ooh, what veg do I have in the cupboard?  Let's jam them into a soup...' which is a perfectly acceptable way of coming up with recipes, but also in terms of national dishes, soups particular to countries, cuisines and regions.  So many wonderful tastes and recipes yet to come.

So thanks to you, my lovely readers - some of whom I have talked to on twitter (and if I haven't, why not say hello - I'm @souptuesday) for reading this blog, and hopefully enjoying the soups I've made so far, and put up with my occasional ramblings and bad jokes.

As well as more soups this year, you can look forward to some more posts about what else I'm eating (after getting more than my own bodyweight in cookbooks for Christmas, I'm itching to try out some fancy-pants new dishes) and also the World Cup Food Challenge - much like the Olympic Food Challenge, where I will be cooking selected dishes from some of the countries taking part in that whole football thing (and showing off my shocking lack of knowledge about the beautiful game)  If you want to know more about it, you can read more (and find out which other food blogs are taking part) by clicking here

And without further ado, the 100th soup recipe - suggested by Mrs Soup, without whom, this blog wouldn't exist...

Smoked Haddock Chowder
300g Smoked Haddock
450g Potatoes
150g Sweetcorn
1 Large Onion
2 Leeks
75g Smoked Bacon
30g Butter
1 Bay Leaf
1tsp Fresh Thyme
700ml Water
500ml Milk
150ml Single Cream
3 Hard Boiled Eggs

1. In a large pan (I used a frying pan) gently heat the milk and then put the haddock in, simmering over a low heat for 5 minutes, until the fish it poached.  Take the pan off the heat, and using a slotted spoon, remove the haddock, putting it into a bowl for later, flaking it with a fork.  Also keep the poaching milk for later too!

2. Cut the bacon into small pieces.  Heat the butter in your soup pan and gently fry the bacon

3. Finely chop the onion and leeks.  Add them to the pan and then sweat the vegetables until they are soft

4.  Peel and cube the potatoes, then add these to the pan, cooking for a further few minutes.

5.  Add the water, milk, sweetcorn, thyme and bay leaf.  Bring the soup to the boil and then simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and starting to break up.

6.  Using a potato masher, break up the potatoes a little more, then add the haddock back into the pan, along with the single cream and reheat gently.  Test seasoning and adjust to your preference.

7 Serve with crusty bread and sliced boiled eggs on top of each bowl.  Enjoy!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Matar ka Shorba - Indian Pea Soup

This is pea soup recipe number 5 on the blog!  Who would have thought that I could get so much mileage out of the humble pea?  And unlike the others, which are variations on two themes, this one is a little different.

You could use frozen peas or fresh, but the great thing about frozen ones is that using those makes this pretty much a cupboard soup - as long as you have a vaguely well stocked spice cupboard - and the fact that its quick and easy to throw together, like most soups, makes it perfect for a tasty lunch or when surprise visits happen.  In fact that could apply to most soups - they really are perfect food, aren't they?

Also, I love the fact that a curry sauce is also known as gravy, as you all know just how much I love gravy.  I assume that the term was taken to India by the British, but you, lovely readers, may know better.  If so, please let me know...

250g Peas
1 Large Onion
1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
1 Bunch Spring Onions
1tsp Garlic Purée
1tsp Ginger Purée
2tsp Turmeric
2tsp Coriander
1 Green Chilli
1tsp Garam Masala
1tsp Mustard Seeds
1tsp Cumin Seeds
4 Cardamom Seeds
2 Bay Leaves

1.  Heat some oil in your soup pan.  Once it's hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seed, cardamom and bay leaves and fry them for 2 minutes, so they flavour the oil.  Watch out, because the mustard seeds can pop in the oil and go everywhere!

2.  Add the finely chopped onion, garlic and ginger puree, then cook through until the onions are browned a little

3.  Add the chilli, turmeric and coriander, stir them through the onions, and then add the tomatoes, cooking until everything reduces down to a thick, spicy paste.

4.  Add 900ml of water, chopped spring onions and half the peas.  The other half of the peas should be smashed to a pulp - I used the end of a rolling pin - and then added too.  Add some salt, then bring the soup to a simmer, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes.

5.  Add the garam masala and then serve.  Accompany with naan or boiled rice.  Enjoy!