Showing posts with label Coconut Milk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coconut Milk. Show all posts

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Ahhhhhh!  That was the sound of panic when the doorbell rang this morning at 7.15.  Not because I was still in bed and there was someone at the door, but because the person at the door was our lovely veg box man.  Don't mis-understand me - there was nothing actually wrong with the veg box, nor the hour of its arrival (although a more fashionably late hour would suit me better)

No, the cause of my outburst was that there was meant to be parsnips in the box this week, which were going to form the basis for this weeks soup, Curried Parsnip.  Only, now bereft of parsnip, what is a boy to do?  Well, what is that I spied in the veg box, nestled under some cabbage and next to the potatoes?  Carrots?  Still covered in mud you say?  Well that gives me an idea...

I told you all a while ago about the first ever soup I made, minestrone as part of a home economics class when I was 12? Well today I'm going to tell you about the first soup I ever cooked to impress a girl...  Carrot and coriander soup.  This soup seems to be a bit of a student classic, probably because it's cheap and easy to make, healthy and quick, and there are hundreds of ways to do it.

Some people add lentils, some tomatoes, cream, sour cream, coconut milk.  It is, in a nutshell, what is brilliant about soup - it's tasty and it's very hard to mess it up.  So I thought it would be perfect for impressing a girl that I invited to come round for a meal.  It was the first time I'd ever cooked to impress, so needless to say, I was worried.

The soup simmered away, with vegetable stock as she was a vegetarian, not too much chili as she didn't like her food too spicy. The ginger and lemon a sharp counterpoint to the earthy carrots sweet tomatoes and spices.  It was perfect...

She turned up, the lights were low, the music was soft, the chat was small, and then I dished up the soup and... she loved it, was very impressed - in fact, it was the best carrot and coriander soup she'd ever tasted - even better than her friend who worked in a vegan cafe made (which was previously the pinnacle of soupy perfection for her)

I could hardly believe my luck.  Maybe there was something in this cooking malarkey after all.  And then I served the main dish - tandoori salmon, choked on a fish bone and spent the next three hours retching and coughing like a cat coughing up a hair-ball...  The girl left rather quickly after that...

500g Carrots
10 Medium Tomatoes
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 Lemon (Juice Only)
750ml Chicken Stock
1 Tin Coconut Milk
1tsp Grated Ginger
1tbsp Coriander Seeds
1tsp Cumin Seeds
1tsp Chili Flakes Oregano

Balsamic Vinegar
Bunch of fresh Coriander
Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper

1.  Heat the oven to 200ºc.  Cut the tomatoes in half and de-seed.  Put them in an oven dish and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle on a pinch of dried oregano and a splash of balsamic vinegar, then a pinch of salt and pepper.  Put the dish in the oven and roast the tomatoes for 35-40 minutes, until they have started to brown.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

2.  In a dry frying pan, heat the coriander and cumin seeds over a moderate heat for 2 minutes, until the seeds start to pop.  Transfer them to a mortar and grind.

3.  Slice the onion and fry gently in a little oil.  Add the  garlic and ginger and fry for another 2 minutes, then add the ground cumin and coriander seeds, as well as the chili flakes and stir until everything is coated in the spices

4.  Add the tomatoes, stock and peeled sliced carrots.  Bring the soup to the boil and then cover, simmering and cooking for 30 minutes, until the carrots are cooked through

5.  Blend the soup until it's smooth and then return to the pan.  Gently heat through.

6.  Stir in the coconut milk, chopped fresh coriander and the juice of a lemon.

7.  Garnish with a few coriander leaves.  Serve and enjoy!

Monday, 6 August 2012

FaiKakai and Mango Pineapple Sorbet - Olympic Food Challenge : Tonga

Tonga is today's stop on the Olympic Food Challenge and, ummm, this was a bit of a distaster...  "What on earth could go wrong?" you ask  "After all, it's dumplings and we know you are crazy about dumplings Dan".  Well, a lot of things, it turns out - the sauce turned into toffee and set like concrete - and I have a slight phobia about toffee after losing teeth to the awful stuff.  Also, the dumplings more or less disintegrated in the pan, leaving a gooey, sludgy mess, over which I tried to pur the aforementioned sauce.

Now the kitchen is strewn with plates, dishes and pans that are glued together with toffee, and I am a bit cross for messing things up.  Bah!

Still - the sorbet was amazing..

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Chicken Lap Lap - Olympic Food Challenge : Cook Islands

Today's dish is Chicken Lap Lap, which involved a few new experiences and ingredients for me.  Not least amongst these was using Taro.  Not even knowing what it actually looked like, we were quickly educated by a lovely man in Leeds Market and left with one huge vegetable.

The same trip also provided us with banana leaves , which again, I'd never used.  This was in some small way a voyage of discovery - which is appropriate in a number of ways, not least that the Cook Islands are named for Captain Cook, who planted a flag there and named them, erm, The Hervey Islands...

Anyway, the Cook Islands are kinda special to me as the aforementioned Capn' is my Dad's hero, and also, the starting point of his historic journey was, of course, Whitby, which is the informal spiritual home of the Soup family (in that we went there on holiday every year when I was a sproglet)

Anyway, without further rambling - Chicken Lap Lap

Monday, 30 July 2012

Suafa'i Banana Soup - Olympic Food Challenge : American Samoa

The islands of American Samoa are our next stop on the Olympic Food Challenge.   American Samoa have never won a medal in the Olympics, but the plucky little guys are sending 5 competitors to take part in 4 sports including swimming and wrestling.  See if they can break their duck by checking their progress here  (Their flag is amazing, I will be waving one for sure...)

After a bit of research, it seems that American Samoa, like a lot of other pacific island nations, favours bold, simple dishes with lots of flavour and little fuss.  I was originally going to make a fish and coconut soup, but was assured in no uncertain terms that Samoans like their fish on the bone, with the head still attached, so they can taste every bit of the fish.  Whilst I'm not that fussy with what I eat, I still can't bring myself to do the whole fish-staring-at-me-from-the-bowl thing.  So I didn't feel I could do that dish justice.  Bananas however have neither bones or eyes...

When is a soup not a soup?  That is a question I asked myself when making this dish, which reminds me more of sago pudding from my school days, either that or the brains of a zombie... (And today's brand new - to me, anyway - ingredient is tapioca, which I've often eaten from a tin, but never cooked with from scratch.  Who knew it looked like polystyrene packing balls in it's uncooked state?)

Either way, it's a simple, brilliant sweet dish that tastes brilliant when served chilled.  I could have eaten it all day...

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Callaloo Soup

I love food, I love cooking and I love trying new eating experiences.  That much should be obvious to anyone who's even taking a passing interest in this blog, which will shortly be celebrating it's first birthday - and thanks to everyone who's taken the time to read my witterings, and even perhaps tried a recipe or two that I've published.  And if you have, I'd love to hear if they turned out well!

Sometimes, when making a soup that I've never tried before, I feel a bit guilty for not doing the spirit of the dish justice.  None more so than one of the first recipes that I tried on the blog - Callaloo soup.  Although there are any number of variations on the recipe, there are some ingredients that make Callaloo, well, Callaloo.
Amongst these are Callaloo itself, which when I first made this soup, I used spinach instead, Salt Beef, which I got confused with Corned Beef (The Fray Bentos stuff) so I left it out, and Okra, which I did find and use.

And I always felt like I'd only made half a soup, that anyone would look at my recipe, shake their head and say "Oh come now Dan, that's not right, that's not right at all.  How would you like it if we made Yorkshire puddings and put jam on them, it would be wrong, wouldn't it?" (And yes, I know some un-godly people from the wrong side of the Pennines do that kind of thing, but it won't wash in Leeds!)

Tinned Callaloo and Okra
So here is my actual Callaloo recipe, with Salt Beef with I made myself (method is here) and Callaloo, courtesy of Asda, in a tin, but hey, nobody's perfect...

200g Tin of Callaloo
200g Salt Beef
75g White Crab Meat 
150g Okra
1.2l Chicken Stock
100ml Coconut Milk
1 Onion
2 Sprigs of Thyme
1 Red Chili
2 Cloves Garlic
1tsp Turmeric
2tsp Corriander
1 Tomato

1 .  Chop the Onion.  Heat some oil in a large pan and fry the onion for 3-4 minutes, until it starts to soften.

2.  Add the garlic, turmeric and coriander.  Fry for another minute

3.  Add the stock, callaloo, cubed salt beef, thyme, finely chopped chili and crab meat.  Bring the pan to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes

4.  Add the tomato, chopped okra and coconut milk, cook for another 5 minutes, season to taste and then serve.  garnish with thinly sliced chili or tomato.

This soup can be blended before serving it, but last time I tried that, it turned into a horrible swampy mess that looked pretty un-appetizing, so this time I left it lumpy and it looked much nicer.  If you want to blend it though, have at it...


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Snow!  Snow!  Oh blimey, you would think that the world was ending after a few hours of the white stuff on Saturday night!  I remember in ye olde times when it snowed and everyone would help each other clear drive ways and push stuck cars, but now it just seems to bring out the more petty aspects of people - moaning about the lack of grit for the roads, chuntering (good word eh?) about how to get to the shops etc.

Maybe it's just me getting old, but I really wish more people would enjoy the snow - it really does bring out the child in me - snow ball fights, sledging, staring drunkenly at orange sodium street lamps in the dark, watching huge white flakes drifting silently to the ground.  Who cares if you can't get in to work.  SNOW DAY!

At least my cold disappeared in time for me to enjoy Snowmageddon 2012, and allow me to go for a lovely walk along the frozen canal, before returning home to a lovely roast chicken.  And me being me, I couldn't let any single tiny bit of the chicken go to waste, so into the slow cooker went the flesh-stripped carcass to cook overnight for stock.

That meant that I woke up to a house that smelled delightfully of chicken, but also that I had lots of lovely stock for soup, as well as left-over chicken to use up.  So I decided to make a spicy chicken noodle soup.  I even experimented with clarifying the stock, by mixing 2 whisked eggwhites, 100ml of cold water and some chopped chicken into the cold stock, then slowly bringing it to the simmer, not stirring it until all the egg white floated to the top, bringing with it all the impurities from the stock, then I skimmed this off and was left with a rich golden stock.  I thend to water this down a bit before using it ina soup - about half and half, or the taste can be a bit too strong for my liking, but you can always play around with it

Anyway, with no more digressions, Thai Chicken Noodle Soup...

1.2l Chicken Stock
1 Red Chili
1 Green Chili
2tbsp Fish Sauce
Juice of 1 Lime
60g Roasted Peanuts
150g Broccoli Florets
200ml Coconut Milk
100g Thin Egg Noodles
Oriental Spinach Leaves
Fresh Coriander

1. Heat the stock in a large pan, slowly bringing it to a simmer

2. Add the fish sauce, lime juice.  De seed and finely chop the chilies and add them.

3. If you are using uncooked chicken breast, cut it into bite sized strips and add it to the soup, if you are using left-overs, add them now as well.

4. Crush the peanuts in a pestle and mortar and add them to the soup, as well as the broccoli florets.

5. Cover the pan and leave to cook for around 10 minutes

6. In another pan, heat some water and cook the egg noodles as directed on the packaging.

7. Before serving, add the coconut milk to the soup and adjust seasoning to taste

8.  Add the shredded spinach leaves (or you could use spring onions) to the soup

9.  Put a serving of the egg noodles in each bowl, then top off with soup

10 Garnish with a few fresh coriander leaves