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Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Feta and Chives

18 Sep

Serves 4-6

Nothing beats the taste of seasonal produce! Even though peppers are available year-round, they do seem sweeter and are so plentiful in summer. The combination of this soup: the sweet roasted peppers with the tangy, salty feta and chives on top, is utterly delicious.

Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 red onion, choped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

6 red peppers

5 cups/1.25 L vegetable stock

1 can/400g of Chopped Tomatoes

Salt

Black pepper, coarsely ground

Pinch of ground paprika

Chives, cut into small pieces

50g of Feta Cheese, crumbled

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400°F/ 200°C. Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet and roast uncovered, turning as needed for approx. 30 minutes until skin is just about blackened on all sides.

Place the peppers in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or place in paper bag and seal. Let the peppers stand and cool off for 10 minutes.

In the meantime chop the onion, mince the garlic and get the vegetable stock ready. Now that the peppers have cooled off, peel off the skin and remove the top and the seeds.

Heat the olive oil in your stockpot over medium heat,  sauté the onion and when they are about done add the garlic.  Once translucent, add the roasted peppers and the can of chopped tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and let the soup cool down for a few minutes. Purée the ingredients with a hand blender in the stockpot or puree in batches in your blender.

Return the soup to a clean pan and season to taste with salt, ground paprika and coarsely ground pepper.

When ready to serve, bring back to a simmer and ladle in to bowls.  Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese and chives on top.

Bon Appetite 😉

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Soup of Berries

13 Aug

Serves 6

Summertime and the livin is easy! This soup is a berries explosion and great to serve in the midst of summer. Berries are low in calories, high in fiber and contain lots of vitamins. Now is the time to buy fresh berries or to pick-your-own in the garden or on berry farms. If you can’t buy the berries fresh at this time of year on your side of the continent, check-out the frozen section of the grocery store as a good alternative.

Ingredients

150gr/ 1 cup Blackberries

150gr/ 1 cup Raspberries

200gr/ 1 cup Strawberries

250ml/ 1 cup Red Fruit Juice of your choice

250ml/ 1 cup Vanilla Yoghurt (organic low fat)

Preparation

Wash the berries thoroughly and purée in your blender. Add the red fruit juice and the vanilla yoghurt and turn on the blender for one more minute.

Pass the mixture of berries, juice and yoghurt through a sieve to remove the hard bits. Discard the hard bits that remain in the sieve. Chill the soup  of berries for a minimum of 2 hours before serving. This soup is perfect to make a day in advance and can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Bon Appetite 😉

Turkish Red Lentil Soup/Mercimek Çorbasi

11 Jun

Serves 4

Growing up in a family where soup is such an important and well-loved dish can be pretty hard if you are a ten year old and not that fond of soup. My dear son Duncan often comes running into the kitchen asking me ‘What’s for dinner?’ Before I can answer him he in general says ‘Again???’ So when he told me this soup was a winner and should definitely be in the top five, I was over the moon 🙂

This version of Turkish lentil soup is home cooking at its best: healthy, hearty, easy and scrumptious delicious.  I prefer to use (organic) red split lentils as they cook quicker than regular lentils. This soup is perfect to serve as a main meal by adding a piece of Turkish pide bread and a salad.

Ingredients

2 tbsp.  of olive oil

200g/1cup of red split lentils, washed and drained

1 red onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 large carrot, diced

1L of vegetable stock

1 tsp. of ground cumin

1 tsp. of ground paprika

Salt & black pepper

1 lemon, cut into wedges

2 tbsp. of tomato purée

Fresh mint for garnish

Preparation

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in your stockpot. Sauté the onion and when they are about done add the garlic, diced carrot, one teaspoon of ground cumin, one teaspoon of ground paprika and 2 tablespoons of tomato purée. Toss the ingredients until all ingredients are covered with the flavour of each item and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the washed and drained lentils, pour in your stock and bring to boil. Once boiling reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the carrots and lentils are tender.

Turn off the heat and let the soup cool down for a few minutes. Place all but 3 cups of the soup into a blender or food processor and blend.  Return the pureed soup to your pan and stir in the reserved cups of soup.  Season to taste with salt and coarsely ground pepper.

Serve each bowl with a lemon wedge and garnish with fresh mint.

Bon Appetite 😉

Leek Soup

24 May

Serves 4-6

I was so happy when I received an email from a fellow soup fan from The Netherlands. Sandra’s recipe for Leek Soup truly deserves a prize! This soup is so easy to make, healthy, low in fat, simple and delicious. You will be done in no time. Raised in Singapore, Sandra loves to use red chili peppers in this soup. I use one chili pepper as it enriches without overwhelming the soup.  If you would like it to be more spicy, then you may want to use two or three peppers. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 tbsp. of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

3 leeks (medium size), cut into pieces, washed and drained

1 red chili pepper, finely chopped

1.2 L vegetable or beef stock

60g/3 tbsp. of ‘Boursin light’ or any other reduced fat soft cheese with garlic and herbs

 

Preparation

To prepare the leeks, cut off the dark green parts and trim off the little beards at the bottom. Cut the leek into pieces and wash them in water to remove the grit. Once done, drain well.

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in your frying pan. Sauté the garlic with the red chili pepper for approximately 3 minutes. Add the leeks and allow them to ‘sweat’ over pretty low heat until they get soft, but not browned.

Heat the vegetable or beef stock in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and toss the sautéed leeks, garlic and chili pepper into the stock.  Simmer for approximately 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the soup cool down for a few minutes.  Add the 3 tbsp. of Boursin (soft cheese) to the soup and purée the ingredients with a hand blender in the stockpot.

When ready to serve, bring back to a simmer and ladle in to bowls. If you like, garnish with some homemade  croutons.

Bon Appetite 😉

Portuguese Vegetable Soup

17 May

Serves 6-8

While visiting my dear friend Beatriz the other day, she served this delicious soup as a starter for a lovely luncheon. This soup has a beautiful subtle flavour and you do not realise that you are consuming such a large number of vegetables.  It has a nice creamy texture, but it actually does not contain any cream in the ingredients.  This soup is perfect for all age groups as it does not have an overwhelming vegetable flavor – so the children will not protest.   Great for lunch or a light dinner as it is very satisfying, especially with a piece of crusty farm bread.

 

Ingredients

2L of water or vegetable stock

1 white onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic

400g of carrots, roughly chopped

200g of butternut squash, roughly chopped

1 leek, roughly chopped

2 small potatoes, diced

2 small turnips, diced

1 courgette/zucchini, sliced

200g of  canned chick peas, washed and drained

Salt & black pepper, to taste

2 tbs. Olive oil

4 handfuls of spinach

Preparation

Fill your stockpot with 2L of water or stock and bring to a boil. Dice all the vegetables, except the spinach and chick peas.

Add the onion, garlic, carrots, butternut squash, potatoes, turnips, courgette and chickpeas to the boiling water. Keep the spinach aside. Add the olive oil and some salt.

Once boiling reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrots are very tender (as in general all the other veggies are done too).

Turn off the heat and let the soup cool down for a few minutes. In the meantime cook the spinach separately for a few minutes, then drain and set aside while blending all the other ingredients.

Return the soup to a clean pan and season to taste with salt and black pepper.  If you like the soup slightly thinner you could add a bit more water or vegetable stock.

When ready to serve, bring back to a simmer, mix in the spinach and ladle in to bowls. Serve with a crusty piece of farm bread.

Bon Appetite 😉

Corn Chowder

27 Apr

Serves 6 people

The American Corn Chowder has a history that is centuries old. It was considered to be ‘poor man’s food’ as so many soups were. In general chowders are rich, creamy/milky soups full of all sorts of ingredients. You can adapt chowders so easily. If you like to serve it as a meal instead of a starter, you can add all sorts of things: some fresh fish, smoked fish, crab meat or chicken. Today I made a vegetarian version and used a vegetable stock but feel free to use chicken stock or any stock you like. Make this corn chowder your own and you will soon agree that this belongs into the top ten of true comfort foods.

Ingredients

2 tbsp. of butter or olive oil

1 large red onion, finely chopped

2 carrots (medium size), cut into slices

2 potatoes (medium size), diced

1 red pepper, diced

650g (4 cups) of fresh or frozen corn

½ tsp. of thyme

½ tsp. of rosemary

500mL (2 cups) of vegetable stock

750mL (3 cups) of milk

salt & pepper

For the garnish:

3 tbsp. of fresh chopped parsley

3 tbsp. of fresh chopped chives

100g of grated Cheddar cheese

Crusty farm bread

Preparation

For this soup it is best to use a wide but not very deep pan. A casserole type would be ideal. Heat the butter on medium heat. Add the red onion and gently fry without coloring for about 10 minutes or until softened.

Then add the carrots, red pepper and diced potatoes. Season the veggies with thyme, rosemary and salt. Cover the ingredients and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, again gently fry without coloring..

Pour in your milk, vegetable stock and corn. Bring to boil and once boiling reduce the heat, simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Turn off the heat and puree half of the vegetables in a blender. Then stir the puree back into the soup and bring back to boil.  Season with salt and pepper and serve with some grated -extra sharp- cheddar cheese, chopped chives and/or parsley and a nice piece of crusty farm bread.

Bon Appetite 😉

Creamy Tomato & Mascarpone Soup

13 Apr

Serves 4-5 people

Today I like to share with you, my version of this ultimate classic: creamy tomato soup.  Somehow this soup never bores, it is again very easy to prepare and utterly delicious. The mascarpone gives the soup the silky, velvety texture that makes it smooth and creamy. It is a bit richer yet so satisfying, a true comfort soup! I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Ingredients

2 tbsp. of olive oil

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 red onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

500g of Cherry Tomatoes, washed and cut into halves

1 can/400gr of chopped tomatoes

1tsp. of brown (cane) sugar

3 tbsp. of Mascarpone cheese

750mL vegetable stock

Salt & pepper

Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Preparation

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in your stockpot. Sauté the onion and when they are about done add the garlic.  Once translucent add the roughly chopped carrot, cherry tomatoes and the teaspoon of sugar. Toss the ingredients and add the can of chopped tomatoes. Stir gently and simmer for 10 minutes.

Pour in your stock and bring to boil. Once boiling reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the soup cool down for a few minutes. Then purée the ingredients with a hand blender in the stockpot or puree in batches in your blender.  Return the soup to a clean pan and stir in the mascarpone thoroughly. Reheat but don’t boil and season to taste with (sea) salt and coarsely ground pepper.

When ready to serve, ladle into bowls, garnish with a teaspoon of mascarpone, sprinkle with fresh basil and a turn of the pepper mill.

Bon Appetite 😉