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italian ramen – chicken soup for the soul

italian ramen – chicken soup for the soul

Soup 2 800

“The Italian Ramen is a delicious cross-cultural take on chicken soup. The angel hair pasta represents Italy; the soft-boiled egg and chile oil evoke Japan” – Food & Wine

Italian Ramen – I have this lovely American colleague that started working with me this year and she reports to me what she cooked the night before (and I of course report to her :-)) and sometimes she brings along a small tester portion for me to taste. The American’s name is Madeleine. I needed to clarify that because I have another American in my life that I love dearly – she is another talented foodie and I will talk about her at a later stage.

So one morning Madeleine brought this delicious chicken based soup to the office – an Italian Ramen. It just blew me away – the chicken broth was so intense and just perfectly infused with the herbs. The chicken was cooked to perfection and the crunchy carrots added a wonderful sweetness and texture to the dish. Madeleine sent me a link to this specific recipe on Food & Wine’s website and I decided to make it – this is not a dish you want to fiddle with – It is perfect as is. It takes about 3.5 hours to make but its well worth doing it.
Soup 1 800

This soup is served with a beautiful soft boiled egg – the traditional Ramen way … the egg compliments the dish but does not steal the limelight from the perfect chicken broth and succulent fleshiness of the white chicken meat.

So here is a quick guide to boiling the perfect soft boil egg:
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil add the eggs and cook for 5 minutes. While the eggs are boiling fill another large bowl with cold water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the bowl of cold water for 2 minutes. Crack the shells and peel the eggs.

Italian Ramen - chicken soup for the soul

 

italian ramen - chicken soup for the soul
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • For the broth
  • 1.3kg Chicken, cut into quarters
  • 2 White skinned onions, quartered
  • 4 Large carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 4 Celery sticks, cut into large chunks
  • 4 Thyme sprigs
  • 2 Rosemary sprigs
  • 2 Basil sprigs
  • Salt
  • Other ingredients
  • 2 Carrots cut into fine matchsticks
  • 6 Large soft boiled eggs
  • 500g Angel hair pasta
  • Chilli oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Few basil leaves to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 260°C. Arrange the chicken in a roasting pan and roast until the skin is lightly browned – for +- 20 – 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chicken and any juices to a soup pot. Add the onions, carrot chunks, celery and herb sprigs. Add 3.8L of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes.
  3. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the broth and let cool slightly.
  4. Remove the meat from the bones and pull into shreds; discard the skin.
  5. Return the bones to the pot and simmer until the broth is reduced to 8 cups, about 1½ hours.
  6. Strain the broth, discard the solids and skim off the fat. Season the broth with salt and keep warm.
  7. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain and divide the pasta between 6 large soup bowls.
  8. Top with the shredded chicken, carrot matchsticks and soft-boiled eggs.
  9. Ladle the hot broth on top, add some chillie oil and garnish with basil leaves and serve hot.

pizza … my style – just don’t tell mamma

pizza … my style – just don’t tell mamma

brown bread pizza

Watch me make this live by clicking here.

Stand back … I can honestly say this is one of the most amazing things I have ever made. It astounds me that I did not discover this earlier in my life … you know all those times you sat hankering after a pizza but were just too lazy to call the pizza delivery guys. Well, now there is just no excuse. Just take a slice of whole wheat bread + roll it out with a rolling pin + brush with garlic and olive oil + fry in griddle pan + add your toppings + and bake! This takes just minutes to prepare and you can decide on what toppings you want…healthy or decadent…the choice is yours.

Just tell me this isn’t good? I know that you cannot beat an original Italian pizza base….you know the ones they make in Italy – but this is just as delicious, believe me. Just don’t tell Mamma!

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pizza ... my style - just don't tell mamma
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Pizza base
  • 4 Slices of bread
  • 2 Cloves garlic – grated
  • 3T Olive oil
  • Topping
  • 140g Ina Paarman Sundried Tomato
  • 1 Small block of mozzarella cheese (this all depends on how much you want to layer on)
  • Dried origanum (optional) – a very small pinch per “pizza”
  • 8 Slices cooked salami
  • Kalamata Olives
  • 1 large onion – sliced and slowly fried in a bit of olive oil till golden brown
  • To serve
  • Rocket
  • Fresh basil
  • Chillies
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 220 ºC.
  2. Take a rolling pin and roll the bread till flat.
  3. Mix the garlic and olive oil and brush the slices of bread with it.
  4. Fry each slice on both sides in a griddle pan tuntil the brown etching lines appear on your bread
  5. Take the sundried tomato and mesh it together with a fork. Smear the tamato on one side of the bread.
  6. Then add the mozzarella and all the toppings.
  7. Pop in the oven at 220ºC till the cheese in melted and bubbly.
  8. Serve with fresh rocket, basil, chopped chillies and always wash down your creation with a glass of good wine.

 

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vegetable soup = slow warm hearty comfort

vegetable soup = slow warm hearty comfort

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort

Vegetable Soup – A couple of weeks back I invited a few foodie friends over to watch the finale of Mastechef SA, as it was winter I thought it would be appropriate to put on a large pot of my vegetable soup for the occasion. It went down a treat; the problem came about when they all asked me to share the recipe. This proved to be quite difficult as I don’t have a recipe for this soup. The way it works in my house is that I make soup on Sundays. I open the fridge, take out all the veggies + herbs that I did not use over the previous week and make a steaming pot of soup with it. So…to be frank, the recipe below is a list of all the items leftover in my fridge from last week…

If you think the recipe seems a bit long, do not be put off, once you get the hang of it and taste of it you will be making this soup for generations to come. The thing about soup is, you have to make it your own … put in the effort and spend that little extra time…I can promise you it is worth every little spoonful. Enjoy making it and remember to serve it with love.

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort

I do have 10 tips that I have picked up along the way that I would like to share with you when making this soup:

1. Don’t be in a hurry – take your time… and love the process – that is why I normally do it on Sundays – it takes time to grate and chop. Make big bowl of this soup… the soup freezes very well and will never go to waste!
2. Use the veggies + herbs – even lettuce, rocket – whatever you have in your fridge or veggie basket…..the stuff you did not use during the week and want to throw away.
3. Look in your freezer and use all those small packets of frozen veg that you still have not got around to using…
4. The five basic vegetable ingredients that you have to put in to your pot are the following: potatoes, carrots, onions, celery + tomatoes.
5. I always leave the skin on all my vegetables.
6. I grate my vegetables …that is if they are grate-able – it cooks faster and I feel the flavours infuse just that much better.
7. Veggies like broccoli and cauliflower – use the stems – cut them into thin slices – it adds to the beautiful chunkiness of the soup.
8. Parmesan skins – when you buy and use parmesan – don’t throw the skin or rind away – keep them in your freezer and use this in your soup – it adds a wonderful richness.
9. The secret ingredients of my soup : cloves, pesto (any flavour), whole pepper corns, parmesan cheese skins and grated, instant tomato cream soup, oats, good stock to cover the veggies, Worcestershire sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and always a bit of butter.
10. To serve always finish your soup with a drizzle of olive oil , chopped parsley and some parmesan shavings.

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort  - broccoli stems

 

vegetable soup = slow warm hearty comfort
 
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This recipe makes a pot of soup large enough to feed an army - you can just half or quarter the quantities as your mood takes you…
Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • A
  • 300g Grated large potatoes +- 2 large
  • 300g Grated large carrots +- 2 large
  • 220g Grated medium onions +- 2 medium
  • 250g Grated butternut squash +- 2 generously thick slices
  • 350 g Tomatoes either chopped or rosa tomatoes halved
  • 200g Baby marrows - sliced
  • 150g Cauliflower - cut into chunks
  • 130g Broccoli - cut into chunks
  • 2 Long pieces of celery - chopped
  • 70g Lettuce
  • 80g Cucumber - chopped
  • 300g Frozen peas
  • 50g Sundried tomatoes - chopped
  • 10g Fresh coriander - chopped
  • 25g Garlic - grated
  • 6 Cloves
  • 20 Black peppercorns
  • 20g Fresh parsley - chopped
  • 1t Chillie flakes
  • 410g Tinned chopped tomatoes (1 tin)
  • 2 Stock cubes (Vegetable or chicken)
  • 75-100g Parmesan skins
  • 3L Water (or 3L of good stock – then omit the stock cubes and remember to add more salt)
  • B
  • 100g Dry pasta (I use spaghetti and normally break the spaghetti up into small pieces)
  • 100g Oats
  • 2x 410g Sugar beans (drain the fluid) – you can even replace this with tins of baked beans
  • 60 ml Olive oil
  • 1 Packet cream of tomato soup mixed with 500 ml cold water
  • C
  • 1T Worcestershire sauce
  • 100g Pesto (any basil or rocket pesto)
  • 100g Parmesan cheese grated
  • 50g Butter
  • 1t Salt
  • 1t Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Put all A ingredients into a large pot and bring to boil. Simmer for 30 minutes on medium heat. Please remember to stir frequently. As this is a big pot of ingredients, it can easily burn if you don't keep a watchful eye on it.
  2. Now add all the B ingredients and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
  3. Then add all the C ingredients – stir well – and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. At the end please taste for seasoning – adding salt and pepper as per your individual taste or preference.
  5. To serve: Drizzle some olive oil over the soup, add some chopped parsley and some parmesan shavings.

 

peas + lettuce + parsley + onions = petits pois a la francaise

peas + lettuce + parsley + onions = petits pois a la francaise

peas + lettuce + parsley + onions=petits pois a la francaise

Lettuce + peas + onions – in French … Petits Pois a la Francaise. Sometime a go I decided to up my French cooking techniques and my friend Pierre (kitchenbabble.com) from Bangkok suggested we start cooking our way through Le Cordon Bleu at Home recipe book. As it then turned out, Saturdays became a specific cooking lesson, with Pierre in Bangkok and myself here in Cape Town, we set out on what was such an intriguing and rewarding international, virtual cooking experience. From other ends of the atlas, we emailed and facebooked our comparative findings.

This dish of lettuce + peas + onions was a lesson in which they paired it with a roast chicken. My culinary dictionary expletives included…it is absolutely delicious!!! As it happened, we did not finish the chicken – as this dish just took centre stage on the table…. My friends tucked into this dish, with bread in hand it was like a peasant dish – or from the look of my friends, their last meal as they soaked up the juices, finishing every little last little pea! You can serve this as a side dish or as a main meal – just bring the bread, good wine..and good friends.

peas + lettuce + parsley + onions=petits pois a la francaisepeas + lettuce + parsley + onions=petits pois a la francaisepeas + lettuce + parsley + onions=petits pois a la francaisepeas + lettuce + parsley + onions=petits pois a la francaise

peas + lettuce + parsley + onions = petits pois a la francaise
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Small head of lettuce chiffonade * see at bottom of recipe for the chiffonade technique
  • 5 Tablespoons of real butter (margarine is not going to work this time!)
  • 3 Cups of peas ( I used frozen peas, I simply poured hot water over and let it stand for 5 minutes and thereafter drain)
  • 18 Pearl onions pealed
  • 1 Small bunch of parsley ( tie into bouquet with kitchen twine)
  • ⅓ Cup water
  • 11/2 T Sugar
  • 1t Salt
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the lettuce + peas + onions. Stir gently until the lettuce wilts.
  3. Add the parsley + water + sugar + salt.
  4. Stand back, simmer for +/- 30 minutes, taste for seasoning, then be amazed!
  5. Remove parsley and serve.
  6. * Stack the lettuce leaves one on top of each other and roll them up tight into a cylinder – or something like a rolled lettuce tube. Then cut the cylinder crosswise into thin slices.

 

pork sausage + bacon + beer + veg = modern irish coddle

pork sausage + bacon + beer + veg = modern irish coddle

pork sausage + bacon + beer + veg=modern irish coddle
Porks sausages + bacon + beer + vegetables – my version of the Irish coddle is one of Rick’s favourite dishes. I am married to a man of Irish descent and what I have learned from our family visits to Ireland – and my husband is that the Irish love beer (Guinness only when in the Emerald Isle) + whiskey + eating potatoes + pork sausages + salmon + they only start a party at 9pm and even if you are around the ripe age of 75 there is still nothing wrong with partying till 4am and passing out on the couch at you friends house if you had too much to drink!! I just love the Irish, it is their spirit, their joviality and perhaps the fact that they are never shy to drink more than me.

For this recipe I have added a few herbs, mustard seeds and some beer and then also added some lemon. I think it’s a bit of modern Coddle and it’s hearty and just perfect in the dead of winter. It is so easy to prepare …everything is in one bowl, meat, veggies etc. So between my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law I think we have come up with a rather decent local version of the Irish coddle! Sleinte!

pork sausage + bacon + beer + veg = modern irish coddle
 
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Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 6 Pork sausages
  • 4 Garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 125g Bacon finely chopped
  • 4T Olive oil
  • 2 Onions - sliced
  • 2 Celery sticks - chopped finely
  • 2 Large carrots - chopped
  • 2 t Mustard seeds - if you dint have just add 2t mustard
  • 30 g Flour
  • 3 Large potatoes - peeled and cut in quarters
  • 50g Tomato paste
  • 1t Lemon juice
  • 1t Balsamic vinegar
  • 2.5 Cups of stock - I used beef stock
  • ½ cup of beer (I used a lager – no Guinness on hand I’m afraid)
  • 2T Chopped parsley
  • 1T Fresh sage (optional)
  • 1t Black pepper corns
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Fry the sausages in an oven proof dish with 2T olive oil. Just brown them and then remove from dish. Now fry the fry the bacon and take out.
  3. Add the other 2 T oil and fry the onions till golden brown.
  4. Add carrots and the celery and garlic sweat veggies till translucent.
  5. Add 30 g flour, let it fry for a minute or two.
  6. Now add all the other ingredients.
  7. Put the lid on and bake for 1hour.
  8. Serve with fresh bread.

 

cauliflower soup with brie + smoked paprika + little toasts

cauliflower soup with brie + smoked paprika + little toasts

cauliflower soup with brie + smoked paprika + little toasts

Derick Henstra is the Chairman of the company that I am very fortunate to work for. He is an amazing individual, architect, artist, food lover and wine connoisseur. A while ago he told me about a cauliflower soup with brie, smoked paprika and crostini (“little toasts” in Italian) that he ate in Durban. I immediately decided that I would have to make and taste this – I made it a bit different…choosing to roast the cauliflower … well, I cannot tell you how amazing it tasted. The smoked paprika certainly compliments the roasted cauliflower and the melting brie inside gives it just that extra edge. There is not one flavour that overpowers the other and all seems to come together in perfect harmony … it is a simple + beautiful bowl of joy! This one is for you dh … carpe diem.

Note: Smoked paprika is a wonderful ingredient but please use it sparingly + with respect. You can easily overpower the dish with its strong flavour. I bought the smoked paprika at Newport Deli in Cape Town.

cauliflower soup with brie + smoked paprika + little toasts

 

roasted cauliflower soup with brie + smoked paprika + little toasts
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 Cauliflower heads – cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1 Big onion – cut into quarters
  • 2T Olive oil
  • 2 Cup water
  • 1 Chicken or Vegetable stock cube
  • 2 Cups full-cream milk (if you want it richer you can replace one cup of milk with cream or you can use fat free milk as a more healthier option)
  • 20g Butter (or more 🙂 )
  • 1 Large pinch of salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 125g Brie cheese – cut into 6 pieces
  • Smoked Paprika to sprinkle over the soup.
  • Preparing the "little toasts"
  • Cut a French loaf into thin slices and toast in toaster.
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Put cauliflower and onion in bowl – pour the olive oil over it and swirl the contents around in the bowl until all the vegetable pieces are lightly covered in oil. Place on baking tray and bake in the oven for +- 25 - 30 minutes until roasted and browned.
  3. Take a pot, add the water and the stock cube.
  4. Add the cauliflower and onion and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the milk and liquidize. It will have a nice thick consistency. If you find the consistency too thick just add a bit of extra milk.
  6. Add the butter and season with salt and pepper. Please taste and use more salt if needed.
  7. Pour piping hot soup into bowls. Put a wedge of brie in each, then add the "little toasts" on top and sprinkle lightly with smoked paprika!
  8. Tuck-in and enjoy!

 

tomato + onion + basil + puff pastry = easy + hearty tomato tart

tomato + onion + basil + puff pastry = easy + hearty tomato tart

“If you enjoy reading my blog please vote for it in the Eat Out Best Local Food Blog Award by 1) clicking on this link {eat out best local food blog award} 2) and casting your vote at the bottom of the Eat Out web page” – anél

tomato + onion + basil + puff pastry=easy + hearty tomato tart

I just LOVE tomatoes – and I need no inspiration to cook with these amazing and nutritional gifts from nature’s wonderful garden. This is probably the easiest and most delicious tomato tart you will ever taste – simple, hearty, sweet and sour and such a rich taste when combined with the caramalised onions! Try my easy puff pastry – you only need 1.5 hours and its fluffy and flaky.
Serve this with a side serving of rocket salad + balsamic dressing!

 

tomato + onion + basil + puff pastry = easy + hearty tomato tart
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ Big onion – thinly sliced
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 500g Rosa tomatoes
  • 1 Roll puff pastry
  • 30 - 40 g Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 handful of shredded fresh basil leaves
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • To serve
  • Parmesan shavings
  • Handful of basil leaves – shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  2. In a pan - on medium heat - caramalise the onions for about 10 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Take a +- 37cm by 25cm pan (+- the same size as the puff pastry) put the tomatoes in the pan. Sprinkle with olive oil and roll around till each tomato is lightly coated in oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and a bit of black pepper.
  4. Take the caramalised onion and scoop these over the tomatoes.
  5. Sprinkle the grated parmesan and a hand full of shredded basil over the tomatoes.
  6. Take the whole piece of pastry and cover the tomatoes. Don’t press it down or anything. I you want you can tuck the sides in.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or till pastry is a lovely golden colour.
  8. Turn over on a big dish (so the tomatoes are on top) and sprinkle some shredded fresh basil and parmesan shavings.
  9. Cut into pieces and serve with your green rocket salad….
  10. Remember to never forget the "pomme d’amour"!

 

ostrich fillet + red wine + king oyster mushrooms + beetroot blocks

ostrich fillet + red wine + king oyster mushrooms + beetroot blocks

ostrich fillet + red wine + king oyster mushrooms + beetroot blocks
Today, I need to tell you about my little weekend adventure … the Ultimate Braai Challenge… This past Saturday my friend Joani and I took part in the Western Cape auditions for the Ultimate Braai Challenge. This turned out to be one of the best foodie experiences of my life – the 100 crazy teams, the ‘gees”, the organizers, the judges were just amazing and Justin Bonello is such a fabulous guy and so down to earth! Kudu’s go to all the organizers, the sponsors and everyone that took part both young and old. I was really gob-smacked by all the different people that took part – their liveliness, their spirit and what passion we South Africans have! I realised once again – we LOVE a braai! I cannot wait for this show to start – I really think it is going to take SA by storm!!

But let me get back to what food we presented to the judges – our main course was braaied Ostrich fillet in a red wine and mushroom jus with beetroot blocks – all done on the braai. One of the judges told us that this specific dish was the best dish he had tasted on the day. So I thought I would share this recipe with you. For sure you can do this on the stove as well but for those of you who are adventurous why not also try this on the braai…? Serve this with buttery, mustardy, crushed new potatoes. If you are not so much an ostrich steak fan you can always swap this with a cut of beef or even kudu fillet. Do not forget to enjoy this with a good glass of red wine …

Happy Braaiing … remember where there’s smoke … there is a braai!

ostrich fillet + red wine + king oyster mushrooms + beetroot blocks
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For steak
  • 4 x 200g Ostrich Fillet
  • 1Tablespoon cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the Jus
  • 15 g butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ large onion, cut in quarters and parted
  • 3 king oyster mushrooms, cut in 3x lengthwise
  • 4 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Big pinch of black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups of red wine
  • 1 Cup chicken stock (it is ok to use stock cubes diluted in water as per instruction)
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 20 g butter
  • For beetroot blocks
  • 250g cooked beetroot cut into 1cm x 1cm cubes
Instructions
  1. Add the oil and butter to a pot then add the onion – caramalise the onions over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Onions need to have that beautiful honey colour.
  3. Add the mushrooms, thyme, rosemary and the salt and pepper. Fry for a further 10 minutes. I love to hear the snap-crackle-pop of the thyme!
  4. Add the red wine and garlic and de-glaze the pan.
  5. Then add the chicken stock and the tomato paste. Simmer till half the amount is left. This is important - it needs to be a thickish sauce consistency.
  6. Add the rest of the butter and let it melt. Taste and season.
  7. Sieve through a fine sieve and add the beetroot blocks. Set aside.
  8. Keep the big onion pieces and oyster mushrooms aside – discard the thyme and rosemary.
  9. Heat the oil in the pan and fry the ostrich according to your taste – medium rare for me. Season meat to your taste.
  10. Add the onions and mushrooms (that you used in the jus) and fry these with the steak.
  11. Take the steak out of the frying pan to rest (let it rest for least 8 minutes) and add the red wine jus to the steak juices in the pan.
  12. To serve: Put the steak on a plate – add some onion pieces and giant oyster mushroom on top. Then pour some jus at the bottom of the plate. Dress with a few blocks of beetroot around the steak.