Showing posts with label soup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soup. Show all posts

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Pea and Japanese pumpkin soup

Sopa de abóbora e ervilha / Pea and Japanese pumpkin soup

Do you ever get tired of your own food?

That has not happened to me yet – not only during the pandemic, because before that I already took my own food for lunch at the office – but I must confess that there are days that I eat and think “it could have been better”, or “this does not go with that”.

Cooking with whatever we have at hand can yield good surprises, like the risotto I posted the other day, but it can go terribly wrong, too, like when I made rice and beans - the staple of Brazilian food - with pumpkin and carrots cooked together (because I didn’t have much of each) and a radish salad on the side: I felt that the salad did not agree with the other components, maybe because it was a cold day, maybe because the radishes were too peppery… I usually roast pumpkin because it tastes so much better that way, but I was baking bread and could not use the oven. The whole meal was not bad, but it lacked something… There was no “yum” factor. I filed that lunch under “I tried, but it didn’t work”. :)

But now I will talk about something good: there was also the day I made a soup using some of that same Japanese pumpkin, 1 lonely potato and frozen peas. It turned out delicious and with a beautiful, vibrant, almost fluorescent color.
Since both the pumpkin and the peas are sweet, the acidity of the lime (or lemon) juice and the saltiness of the bacon balance the sweetness perfectly.

Pea and Japanese pumpkin soup
own recipe

2 slices of bacon, chopped
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ large onion, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 medium potato (150g), peeled and diced
200g peeled and diced Japanese pumpkin (about 1 2/3 cups already diced in 2cm cubes)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 ½ cups (840ml) boiling water
1 bay leaf
2 ½ cups (325g) frozen peas, straight from the freezer
juice of ½ lime (or lemon)

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp – remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the olive oil to the pan and mix with the rendered fat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute – do not let it burn or it will turn bitter.
Add wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, cooking until wine has evaporated. Add potato and pumpkin, stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. Add the water and the bay leaf, stir, and let it come to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15-17 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf and blitz with a handheld mixer.
Stir in the lime juice and serve topped with the crunchy bits of bacon.

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as an entrée


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Red lentil soup with kale chips

Sopa de lentilha vermelha com chips de couve / Red lentil soup with kale chips

As many of you, I have been cooking a lot more since the quarantine started, and it is not an easy task to cook lunch and dinner every day while also trying to vary the menu with what I have at hand – we already feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, so if the food is also the same in every meal… I don’t want to think about that. :D

I was going through some recipes I bookmarked in the past and found this soup on Gourmet Traveller, one of my favorite recipe sources. I decided to freestyle a little with the recipe while also aiming to make it a vegan meal. I did not have vegetable stock in the freezer and was also out of carrots to make some from scratch, so on top of the spices I also added a bay leaf and tomato paste to enhance flavors. And speaking of spices, I used the ones I have at hand and you can adapt and do the same.

To make it vegan I served my soup with kale chips and it worked beautifully – feel free to do what GT suggests and serve the soup with yogurt. Next time I have the soup for dinner (I froze half of it for some other day) I will top mine with a poached egg – my mouth is watering already. :D

Red lentil soup with kale chips
soup recipe adapted from here, chips adapted from several recipes around the web

Soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1/3 cup celery stalks, finely chopped – I used frozen and added unthawed to the pan
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon tomato paste
5 ½ cups (1,320ml) boiling water
1 1/3 cups (285g) dried red lentils
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large lime, finely grated zest and juice

Kale chips:
5 large kale leaves
1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In the meantime, start with the soup: heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add celery and cook for another 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute – do not overcook it or the soup will taste bitter. Add spices and tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes – it is important to cook the tomato paste well to remove the flavor of raw tomatoes from the recipe. Add water and stir. When it comes to a boil, add lentils and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and then simmer for 15-17 minutes or until lentils are soft and starting to break down – stir occasionally so it does not catch in the bottom of the pan.

While the soup boils, make the chips: tear the kale leaves into medium pieces and transfer to a nonstick large baking pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper and dress the leaves using your hands. Spread the kale onto the sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Leave to cool completely so they become crunchy.

If you will eat the soup right away, remove the bay leaf, add lemon rind and juice, then blend with a hand-held blender until a coarse purée. If you are making the soup to freeze, do not add lime zest and juice – do this upon serving.

Divide among bowls and serve with the kale chips.

Serves 4-5

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Quarantine vegetable soup

Sopa de legumes da quarentena

Hello everyone, long time no see. Ages ago I decided to be honest with myself and accept the fact that I no longer had time to write on this blog, unfortunately – I can barely update the one in Portuguese. But with these crazy, uncertain times we are living I thought I should ask you how it has been for you.

This is my third week isolated, went out only once to buy groceries. How is it going for you? I miss my nephew, miss going to work and to the gym, miss buying things like fresh veg whenever I want to, miss going to the movies. But I know I am privileged and one of the lucky people who can work from home and I have food on my table.

I have been cooking a lot, trying to make everything stretch as much as possible to avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store. I also try to make each batch of food last for at least 2 meals. I have baked bread, but no sweets: my husband does not like them, and I don’t want to eat everything myself.

I made this soup earlier this week and it was enough for 2 dinners – my husband loves soup and if he wasn’t so eager to eat it the soup would have probably lasted for 3 meals. :D It is a riff on another soup I make regularly. I hope you like this recipe and I also hope to hear from you. xx

Quarantine vegetable soup
own recipe, a riff on this one

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 leek, light part only, finely sliced
1/3 cup finely diced celery - I used frozen, unthawed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ripe tomato, deseeded and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large courgette, diced
boiling water, enough to cover the vegetables (about 1,5 liters, but it will depend on the size of your saucepan)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
150g frozen spinach, unthawed - here in Brazil that would be 5 portions

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until transparent, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add the leek and cook for 1 minute. Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes – if you use frozen, like me, cook for 4 minutes, because it will cool the bottom of the saucepan slightly. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant – do not let it burn or it will taste bitter.

Add the tomato and a pinch of salt and cook until it is mushy. Add the carrots, potatoes and courgette and stir to combine. Cover with boiling water, season with salt and pepper and add the bay leaves. When the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover partially and cook until vegetables are tender, 25-30 minutes – this will depend on the size you cut them; I test the carrots and if they are tender the soup is ready.
Turn off the heat and with an immersion blender, blitz the soup for a couple of seconds – you want the mixture to be half chunky, half smooth. Add the spinach and stir slowly, until it defrosts and gets mixed into the soup – this will cool the soup a little bit and make it ready to serve.

Serves 5-6

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Lentil soup with crispy salami - waiting for fall to come

Lentil soup with spicy salami / Sopa de lentilha com salame crocante

Summer here is over, however someone forgot to tell Mother Nature about it: the weather continues to be hot leading to uncomfortable nights for those who like me do not own an air conditioner at home.

While I look forward to cooler days and nights, I felt like sharing with you one of my favorite soups, sort of like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams: maybe if I post soups on the blog, fall will actually come. :)

This lentil soup is comforting, delicious and freezes well if you keep the fresh oregano out. If you want to keep it vegan it is just a matter of omitting the salami – I love it because it adds a crunchy, salty touch to the soup.

Lentil soup with crispy salami
own recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, sliced in half lenghtwise for easier washing, then sliced in half moons
½ onion, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup (200g/7oz) dried green lentils, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes before cooking, then drained and rinsed
3 cups (720ml) vegetable stock, hot
2 cups (480ml) boiling water
2 bay leaves
handful of fresh oregano leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g (3½ oz) salami slices – if they are too large, cut them in half

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks, onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute only. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the lentils, cook for 1 minute, then add the stock, water, bay leaves and oregano. When it starts to boil, cover partially, turn the heat down and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are soft, but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper, remove the bay leaves and remove from the heat.
Now the salami: heat a nonstick flying pan over high heat and grill the salami slices for a couple of minutes or until golden on both sides. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess fat. Cool completely.

Pour the soup into bowls and top with the salami slices. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-5

Monday, August 21, 2017

Roasted tomato and red lentil soup and freezing feet

Roasted tomato and red lentil soup / Sopa de tomates assados e lentilha vermelha

I believe that one of the reasons why my love for the winter has considerably decreased is the fact that at least here in Sao Paulo we are not actually prepared for cold temperatures: there is no heat inside most of houses and apartments, stores and restaurants – one suffers with the cold both outside and inside. Taking a shower is a nightmare, getting dressed another one. :S

As I type this recipe on a very cold Sunday with a piping hot mug of tea by my side, my feet are covered in two pairs of socks and yet they feel like two ice cubes. I dream of nicer weather, and while that does not happen I make soup – this is simple, delicious and the heat turns the tomatoes into gold even if they are not at their peak, while the lentils make the soup thicker and more fulfilling.

Roasted tomato and red lentil soup
own recipe

For the roasted tomatoes:
8 ripe Italian tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 sprigs fresh oregano
2 bay leaves

For the soup:
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek, white part only, finely sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 cups (720ml) vegetable stock, hot
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (100g) dried red lentils

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
Place the tomatoes on top of the foil, cut side up, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Place the oregano and the bay leaves on top of the tomatoes and roast for 40 minutes or until very tender. Remove from the oven and discard the oregano and bay leaves.

Start the soup: melt the butter with the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with any juices from the sheet. Add the vegetable stock, then blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Stir in the lentils and cook until they are tender, about 10 minutes. Check seasoning and serve.

Serves 4-6

Friday, July 7, 2017

Roasted butternut squash, bell pepper and chickpea soup with chorizo and a change of mind

Roasted butternut squash, bell pepper and chickpea soup with chorizo / Sopa de abóbora assada, pimentão, grão de bico e chorizo

Those of you who have been around here for a while know that I love cold days and that I also complain a lot about the hot summer temperatures – well, my dear readers, people can change their mind, can’t they? Not sure what happened in the last year, but as of now I no longer like the winter weather – I have felt miserable in the last days waking up to 9-10°C degrees days.

The ones in colder countries are probably laughing out loud now of me calling 9-10°C “cold”, I know. :D

I was never an outdoorsy person (not even as a kid), but in the past months I have been enjoying being outside a lot, especially taking long walks in parks – the smell of the trees brings me a mix of comfort and happiness. Maybe that is the reason why I am so upset with the winter – I miss spending time outside and I am not brave enough to go to the park on a 12°C evening.

A piping hot bowl of soup has been the best dinner option for me lately, and today I bring you a recipe I created with Spain in mind: I found that roasting the squash instead of only cooking it in the stock makes it creamier and adds another dimension of flavor, more caramelized. And who can say no to small bits of crispy chorizo? I certainly cannot – I might not be crazy for pork like my mother was, but bacon and chorizo make my heart beat faster. <3 I was a vegetarian for eight years and during that time the only meat I actually missed was bacon. :)

Roasted butternut squash, bell pepper and chickpea soup with chorizo
own recipe

1kg (2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves
5-6 sprigs of fresh oregano
100g Spanish chorizo, cut in small dice
½ large onion, finely diced
1 small red pepper, finely diced
3 cups (720ml) hot vegetable stock
1 ½ cups (300g) canned chickpeas

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and brush it slightly with some of the olive oil. Transfer the squash to the foil, add the oregano and the garlic and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix well with your hands to make sure all ingredients are covered. Spread the pieces of squash and the garlic cloves throughout the foil and arrange the oregano sprigs on top of the squash – make sure the oregano sprigs are coated in olive oil to avoid burning. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove from the oven and when garlic cloves are warm enough to be handled remove the pulp from the skins. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, cook the chorizo over high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove chorizo pieces from the pan and set over paper towels. In the rendered fat, cook the onion and the bell pepper, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the squash and cook for 3 minutes. Pour in the stock and once the mixture comes to a boil turn the heat down and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and using a stick blender, blitz the soup until creamy. Stir in the chickpeas, check the seasoning and serve sprinkled with the crispy chorizo bits.

Serves 5-6

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Chayote, carrot and white bean soup

Chayote, carrot and white bean soup / Sopa de chuchu, cenoura e feijão branco

Days ago I was watching a clip about the last Berlinale in which there were a few interviews with directors and actors, and that included The Lost City of Z cast.

There was a lot – A LOT – of screaming when Robert Pattinson hit the red carpet and I truly cannot understand why someone would go crazy over him like that while Charlie Hunnam was on the very same red carpet. :)

That made me think of this soup I made a while ago, using chayote. I find chayote so bland – Robert Pattinson-kind-of-bland – that I rarely use it in recipes, but it worked well in the soup, combined with other veggies. The addition of white beans makes it hearty and fulfilling, perfect for cold nights, and any leftovers can be kept tightly covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Chayote, carrot and white bean soup
own recipe

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 leek, light green part only, finely sliced
½ large onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ripe tomato, deseeded and diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 chayote, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups (960ml) hot vegetable stock – homemade is better ;)
2 cups (480ml) hot water
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
1 ½ cups (250g) canned white beans, drained and rinsed

In a large saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, leek and onion and cook, stirring every now and then, until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the tomato and cook for about 2 minutes or until tomato starts to dissolve. Stir in the tomato paste, cook for 1 minute, then add the chayote, carrot and potato. Cook for 3-4 minutes, season with salt and pepper and add the stock and the water, followed by the bay leaves and the thyme. When mixture comes to a boil, cover it partially, turn down the heat and cook for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Remove from the heat. Remove the bay leaves and the thyme from the soup, then blitz it with a hand mixer until partially chunky (or to taste). Add the beans and take soup back to the heat just until beans are heated through.

Serves 6

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pasta e fagioli (pasta and bean soup)

Pasta e fagiole

I made this soup weeks ago – twice, actually – and it was so delicious I could not have enough of it, but since then we’ve been having such hot days here in Sao Paulo I could not bring myself to publish the recipe here on the blog: it is really hard to even think of hot soup when it’s 35°C (95°F) outside. :S

Now that the temperatures are more reasonable, I gladly bring you Antonio Carluccio’s pasta e fagiole – I am sure my friends in the Northern Hemisphere will appreciate a good soup recipe right now. :)

This recipe has become one of my favorite soups, so easy to make – especially if you have cooked beans stashed in your freezer, which is something I highly recommend everyone to do –, so comforting and tasty, and it tastes even better the next day: what I did differently from the recipe below the second time around was to cook the pasta separately and add it to the bowls right before serving the soup, that way avoiding the pasta to swell too much.

Pasta e fagioli
slightly adapted from the delicious and beautiful Pasta: The Essential New Collection from the Master of Italian Cookery

400g dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
100g bacon, in small cubes
½ onion, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 liter vegetable stock
150g short dried pasta
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
finely grated pecorino or parmesan, to serve

Drain the beans, place them into a medium saucepan and cover with cold water (don’t add salt). Cook for about 1 ½ hours or until soft. Drain and process half the beans into a paste using a food processor.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Add the onion and carrot and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes, the stock and bring to the boil. Add the beans (both crushed and whole) and the pasta and cook for about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.
Divide the soup among bowls and serve with freshly grated cheese.

Serves 4

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Leek, carrot and potato soup or "my soup", according to my husband

Leek, carrot and potato soup / Sopa de alho-poró, batata e cenoura

Soups and winter go perfectly together, right? I make soups quite often during the colder months, and when I do I usually make a large batch so we can have it for dinner two days in a row. I have noticed that most soups, and the one I bring you today especially, taste even better the next day, so there’s another reason for making extra soup. :)

I like to vary when it comes to food and soup is no exception, but this is my husband’s favorite soup: whenever he wants me to cook it he says “why don’t you make your soup tonight?”, and I know that by my soup he means the vegetable soup I’ve been making for as long as I can remember. I have made this soup with and without the leek (just onions and garlic), with squashed added in the mix, with and without the pasta and rice replacing it, you name it. The fresh oregano is a recent addition: I’d always made this soup with parsley only, but on a given day I did not want the oregano bunch to go to waste and ended up adding it to the soup – after that, it became indispensable.

This is a very simple, yet versatile recipe and you can adjust it to make it your own. I used butter because I can’t resist using it with leeks, but you can omit that for a vegan soup.

We love having this soup with some crusty bread on the side, but it would be a crime for me not to suggest Barbara Lynch’s grilled cheese, too. :)

Leek, carrot and potato soup
own creation

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, white part only, chopped
½ large onion, finely diced
2 fat garlic cloves, minced
2 ripe tomatoes, seeds removed, finely chopped
3 carrots, in small cubes
3 potatoes, in small cubes
boiling water, enough to cover the vegetables
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful fresh oregano leaves
handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup cooked small shaped pasta, such as ditalini*

Heat butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leek and onion and cook until transparent, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt and cook until they are mushy. Add the carrots and potatoes and stir to combine. Cover with boiling water and season with salt and pepper. When the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially and cook until vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes.
With an immersion blender, blitz the soup for a couple of seconds – you want the mixture to be half chunky, half smooth. Add the oregano and parsley, check the seasoning.
Divide the pasta among the serving bowls, top with the soup and serve.

* Once the pasta is in the soup it won’t stop swelling – that is why I cook it separately and add it only to the bowls when serving and not to the entire batch of soup

Serves 4

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Broccolini and white bean soup to celebrate winter

Broccolini and white bean soup / Sopa de brócolis e feijão branco

Unlike most of my friends and colleagues I adore the cold weather we’ve been having here lately, and to be honest I really don’t get all the hate: a cold day in the middle of January is a bad thing, but to complain about the cold in July and August seems unreasonable to me.

I love soups and these wintry days are ideal to cook them – I don’t know about you, but cold soups are something I’m not fond of: I have tried several of them but they’re not my cup of tea – I like my soups piping hot, preferably with some nice crusty bread alongside. :)

Martha’s recipe calls for broccoli but as I often do with broccoli recipes I replaced it with broccolini – the problem was my husband loves it, too, and I almost had to hide the steamed florets from him before actually making the soup: every time I looked he was eating one of the florets drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. :D

Broccolini and white bean soup
slightly adapted from the wonderful and delicious Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes

450g (1 pound) broccolini, cut into florets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 ½ cups (600ml) vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and cooled
shaved Parmesan cheese to taste, for serving

Steam broccolini until tender and bright green, about 1 minute. Let cool slightly. Reserve ½ cup florets for garnish.
Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add beans and stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat and add broccoli; puree in batches in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish each bowl with the reserved broccolini florets, the pine nuts, and shaved Parmesan.

Serves 4

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Roasted tomato soup with pesto

Roasted tomato soup with pesto / Sopa de tomates assados com pesto

I haven’t been to the movies since “Hugo”, but I did watch a fantastic movie at home, “No Country for Old Men”: to me the Coen brothers are an acquired taste – they’re like anchovies, you’ll learn to love them eventually; I don’t like “Fargo” but love “The Man Who Wasn’t There”, “O Brother, Where Art Thou” and “True Grit”, therefore I decided it was about time I watched “No Country for Old Men” – that movie proves that a great plot can lock the viewer in their seat (I wouldn’t have left the room for nothing in this world!) and that the good old formula of good script, director and cast still is unbeatable. It’s the second amazing movie I've watched based on Cormac McCarthy’s books – the other being “The Road”; I think it’s time I read some of his work, too.

***

Most people I know love summer days but to me 30°C/86°F (or over) days are dreadful – sleeping gets difficult, exercising is even worse, I feel dizzy and tired. That is why I hope the fall temperatures arrive soon around here, and I even made some soup to celebrate the new season, enjoying the last tomatoes at the same time (I still want to make a tomato tarte tatin). Though not pictured, I served the soup with Barbara Lynch’s irresistible crispy grilled cheese – those of you who have tried it know what I mean. :)

Roasted tomato soup with pesto
adapted from two delicious books: Fresh from the Market and From Season to Season (mine was bought here)

700g ripe Italian tomatoes (about 6 large tomatoes)
2-3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5-6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon sugar
1-2 tablespoons pesto sauce

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a roasting pan – one that holds all the tomatoes – with foil.
Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and place them, cut side up, into the prepared pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and the thyme sprigs. Roast for 45-50 minutes or until tomatoes are soft. Set aside until cool enough to be handled.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Meanwhile, using a spoon, remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Roughly chop them and add to the saucepan, along with the sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are even softer and heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a mixer and purée until smooth (be careful because you are dealing with hot liquid) – add a little water if necessary. Divide into serving bowls, top with some pesto and serve.

Serves 2

Friday, November 11, 2011

Spicy tomato soup with crispy grilled cheese

Spicy tomato soup with crispy grilled cheese / Sopa apimentada de tomate com queijo-quente crocante

I must start this post by saying that I love canned tomatoes – they’re a great pantry staple and I always have a couple of cans around. But even though I use them to make tomato sauce all the time I wasn’t very fond of the idea of using them to make soup – for absolute no reason, since I’d never tried canned tomato soup in my life. For a moment I thought “Oh my goodness, I’m becoming my husband!” – the one who hates food without even tasting it first – and that, my friends, is NOT going to happen. :)
So I made the soup, tried it and felt like a fool for avoiding it for so long – it tasted really good and comforting. But the addictive component of this meal is the grilled cheese: my two favorite things in the savory world, bread and cheese, heavenly combined in a crunchy, delicious way. I’m in eternal debt with Barbara Lynch. :D

Spicy tomato soup with crispy grilled cheese / Sopa apimentada de tomate com queijo-quente crocante

Spicy tomato soup with crispy grilled cheese
adapted from the beautiful and very well written Stir: Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition

Soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 x 400g (14oz each) cans plum tomatoes
generous pinch of sugar
7-8 fresh thyme sprigs
1 ¼ cups (300ml) boiling water
very generous handful of basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream, to serve
dried oregano, to serve

Grilled cheese:
½ baguette
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon dried oregano, plus more to serve
1 cup good melting cheese, grated, such as Fontina (what I used) or Gruyère

Start by making the soup: heat the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender. Add the tomatoes, breaking them with the spoon, followed by the sugar, thyme and the water and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add the basil, season lightly with salt and pepper and let cool briefly before pureeing the soup in a food processor or blender, in batches if necessary. Pass the soup through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the solids with a ladle (Barbara Lynch’s advice: “save the pulp – it’s delicious on crostini or baked eggplant”). Keep the soup on low heat while you make the grilled cheese.
For the grilled cheese: preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Have ready two large baking sheets so one can nestle into the other. Line one of them with baking paper.
With a serrated knife, cut the bread into 6mm (¼ in) slices (if necessary, place the bread in the freezer for a while to make slicing easier). Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the oregano. Brush half the bread slices with the butter and place the buttered side down, in contact with the baking paper. Divide the cheese evenly among the buttered bread slices. Cover the cheese with the remaining bread slices and brush the top with the butter. Place a large piece of baking paper on top of the sandwiches and stack the second baking sheet on top of the paper.
Bake until the bread is golden and crisp, 15 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and peel off the paper. Remove the sandwiches from the baking paper.
Ladle the soup into bowls, cover with some crème fraîche and a sprinkle of oregano and serve it with the grilled cheese.

Serves 2

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tuscan bean soup with the best croûtons I've ever made

Tuscan bean soup / Sopa toscana de feijão branco

When I told Joao I was making this soup he made his usual “eeeew” face and said: “I hate white beans”. I immediately thought “you hate just about everything” but since I was in a very good mood I kept on cooking and singing ("Breakfast in America" was stuck in my head that day).

The hubby did not eat the soup but went crazy for the croûtons – and indeed they were delicious. I had no idea that croûtons made in a frying pan could be so good. He ended up eating almost all of them – I should have told him “no soup, no croûtons”, but I didn’t. I’m such a softie. :)

Tuscan bean soup
from the always gorgeous and delicious Australian Gourmet Traveller

Soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g dried white beans, soaked overnight in cold water, drained
5 cups (1.2l) vegetable or chicken stock
1 ¼ cups (300ml) heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Croûtons:
1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
150g day-old ciabatta loaf – or your favorite bread – cut into rough cubes

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add leek, onion and garlic and sauté until tender (8-10 minutes). Add beans and stock, bring to the boil, then cook over low-medium heat until beans are very tender (30-45 minutes; add more stock if beans become too dry).
Meanwhile, for croûtons, heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add ciabatta and stir frequently until golden and crisp (2-4 minutes), then set aside on absorbent paper to drain.
Transfer bean mixture to a food processor or blender and process, in batches, with cream until smooth.
Season to taste and serve hot, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and scattered with croûtons.

Serves 6

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pea soup, my sister's high school graduation and too many caipirinhas

Pea soup / Sopa de ervilha

I wish I could say that I made this soup for a noble reason, but the truth is that I made it for lunch because of a massive hangover. :S

It all started the night before: we’d all gone to my sister’s high school graduation prom and had a lot of fun there (I shed a few tears during the ceremony, too, I’ll admit it). Then my brother told me that I “had to try” the caipirinhas that were being served. I tried a traditional one, made with lime. That was good. Then he told me that the strawberry caipirinha was delicious, too. And the kiwi one. And the passion fruit one. And, of course, the pineapple caipirinha as well. On the following morning I was a mess: my head was about to explode, Joao had gone to work (I was on vacation) and there was nothing in the fridge. My salvation was a bag of frozen peas and a couple of slices of bread.

Nevertheless, the soup was delicious and very easy to make – that’s why I’ll share it with you today.

Pea soup
from the always beautiful and delicious Donna Hay magazine

½ tablespoon olive oil
½ onion, finely diced
2 ½ cups frozen peas
2 ½ cups (600ml) chicken or vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup sour cream*

Heat a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the oil and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the peas, stock, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or until the peas are tender. Remove from heat and blitz with a handheld mixer until smooth (or use a food processor) - be careful because you are dealing with hot liquid. Make sure you hold the cap down on the top of the blender while puréeing. Ladle into bowls and top with the sour cream. Sprinkle with some extra pepper and serve.

* homemade sour cream: mix ¼ cup (60ml) heavy cream with 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in room temperature for 1 hour or until it thickens

Serves 2

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Onion soup – a classic dish for a chilly fall

Onion soup / Sopa de cebola

Classics don’t become classics for nothing: there must be something special, different, unusual about them to be considered as such; I’m particularly fond of some: movies, music bands, wardrobe items, and for that reason I do not know why it took me so long to try a classic dish like this soup; it is delicious, rich and comforting, not to mention simple and easy to make – everything classic food should be.

Onion soup
adapted from the great Feed Me Now and Jamie at Home

¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
6 large onions, halved lengthwise then thinly sliced in half-moons
salt
15 sage leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 liter vegetable, chicken or beef stock
4 slices sturdy bread (ciabatta, sourdough, etc.)
unsalted butter, to taste
150g fontina, cheddar or gruyère cheese, grated

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan* over high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the onions with a little salt and the sage leaves and cook for 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 25 minutes or until onions are golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Add the balsamic vinegar and cook until the vinegar has evaporated. Pour in the stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly butter each bread slice and place onto a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, spread the cheese over the bread slices and bake for another 2-3 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls, top each with a slice of cheesy toast and serve.

* I halved the recipe and had to use a very large saucepan to hold so many onion slices; make sure to use a very big saucepan if you’re making the recipe as it is printed here

Serves 4

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Leek and chickpea soup

Leek and chickpea soup / Sopa de alho-poró e grão-de-bico

If someone asked me what I would like to be doing right now, I’d say that I’d like to be on my couch, under the blankets, having this soup for lunch – and Lisa’s cherry peach almond crisp for dessert. :)

Leek and chickpea soup
adapted from Kitchen: The Best of the Best

2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
8 saffron threads
1 large leek, cleaned and finely sliced
grated zest of 1 small lemon
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
2 ¼ cups (540ml) chicken stock
150g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked in salted water for 40 minutes or until al dente (or canned chickpeas, if you prefer)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the butter and saffron threads in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek when the butter begins to bubble, and cook until it is soft and transparent. Add the zest, carrot and parsley and cook for a further minute before adding the stock and chickpeas. Season to taste and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Note: I’ve made this soup twice already and the second time I added small macaroni to it - the soup was even better!

Serves 2

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kitchen garden soup with tiny herb omelettes

Kitchen garden soup with tiny herb omelettes / Sopa do jardim com mini omeletes de ervas

It’s almost winter here and I have to say I love cold days – maybe because they remind me of the time I spent with my mom as a kid, watching cartoons under the blanket after school with a bowl of her piping hot rice pudding, loaded with cinnamon...

Now that I’m a grown-up I have to do boring things – like going to work – but I still have a nice feeling when the cold wind hits my face. For days – and nights – like these, soups are my favorite kind of meal. I must confess, though, that I only made this recipe because of the tiny omelettes – aren’t they cute? :)

Kitchen garden soup with tiny herb omelettes / Sopa do jardim com mini omeletes de ervas

Kitchen garden soup with tiny herb omelettes
adapted from The Cook's Companion

1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
1 large sprig thyme
100g unsalted butter
2 liters chicken stock
300g snow peas, washed and strung
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Herb omelettes:
2 eggs
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
1 teaspoon freshly snipped chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for frying

Sweat onion, carrots, potatoes and herbs in butter in a large saucepan for 10 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Drop in snap peas and boil vigorously for 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and the thyme sprig, blend at once in a food processor, then strain through a coarse sieve and season with salt and pepper – I blended the soup but did not strain it. Keep warm.

Make the omelettes: place the eggs in a bowl, beat with a fork, then add the breadcrumbs, parsley, chives, salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over high heat and fry teaspoonfuls of egg mixture until crisp and a little puffed at the edges. Turn and cook until golden on the other side as well. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Serve the soup with the omelettes as garnishes.

Serves 4

Friday, June 4, 2010

Spicy lentil and chorizo soup and inexplicable cravings

Spicy lentil and chorizo soup / Sopa apimentada de lentilha com lingüiça

I’ve told you lots of times already about how blogging has changed my life in several different ways and that I no longer suffer from “The Hairy Ape” syndrome... But after all these years of blogging one thing is completely new to me: after 16 years without red meat – because I never liked it and was forced to eat it as a kid – lately I’ve been drooling over some red meat recipes... How crazy is that? I blame it on Nigella and her black and blue beef wraps... :)

I’m so out of my mind that I HAD to make this soup as soon as I saw it – I wonder if there is a solution to my case... :)

Spicy lentil and chorizo soup
from Donna Hay magazine

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 150g chorizo sausages, sliced
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 cup (210g) lentils
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes*
1 liter chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
crusty bread, to serve

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, onion, garlic, chorizo and chilli flakes and cook for 8–10 minutes or until the onion is tender and the chorizo is golden. Add the lentils, tomato, stock, salt and pepper, bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Serve with crusty bread.

* I had some leftover tomato sauce and used it instead (I did not add any salt to the soup)

Serves 4.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Roasted pumpkin and marjoram soup

Roasted pumpkin and marjoram soup / Sopa de abóbora assada com manjerona

I’m feeling a bit guilty – here I am, posting cherry recipes, sorbets and ice creams while my dear readers on the Northern Hemisphere are covered in snow...

I thought you deserved something warm, comforting and full of flavor – I hope the vivid color cheers you up!
xx

Roasted pumpkin and marjoram soup / Sopa de abóbora assada com manjerona

Roasted pumpkin and marjoram soup
adapted from Donna Hay magazine

800g Japanese pumpkin (kabocha)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil, extra
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups (720ml) chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
marjoram leaves, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Divide the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, then chop each half in 6 or so smaller pieces. Place the pumpkin in a roasting pan, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool until easy to handle. With a spoon or small knife, remove all the pumpkin flesh, discarding the skins.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the extra olive oil and onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Add the pumpkin and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and blitz with a handheld mixer until smooth (or use a food processor) - be careful because you are dealing with hot liquid. Make sure you hold the cap down on the top of the blender while puréeing.
Add the salt, pepper and cream and stir to combine.
Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle with marjoram leaves to serve.

Serves 4

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lemon and broccolini soup

Lemon and broccolini soup / Sopa de brócolis e limão siciliano

Girls, thank you for all the haircut suggestions – I’m so glad you shared your thoughts with me! I’ll let you know when I make up my mind. :D

Because you are so sweet and dear to me, I’m offering you this soup: I could be offering you cookies or something with chocolate – I’d like that a lot more - but I want you to be healthy and strong. So soup it is. :D

Lemon and broccolini soup / Sopa de brócolis e limão siciliano

Lemon and broccolini soup
slightly adapted from Donna Hay magazine

2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed*
400g broccolini, coarsely chopped
4 cups (960ml) vegetable stock
100g spinach leaves
1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sour cream or crème fraîche, to serve

Heat a deep, medium saucepan over high heat. Add the butter, olive oil, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the broccolini and cook for another minute. Add the stock, bring to the boil and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the broccolini is tender. Add the spinach and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Pour mixture into a blender or use an immersion (hand-held) blender to blend the soup until smooth - be careful because you are dealing with hot liquid; keep the end of the blender immersed in the soup all the time to stop the liquid from spilling. Stir in the cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Ladle into bowl, top with about 1 tablespoon sour cream/crème fraîche, sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper over and serve.

* I used garlic infused olive oil and omitted the garlic cloves

Serves 4

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