Soup of the Week: Miso with Chicken

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I love Miso Soup! Miso is so healthy I find it almost cleansing. I never realised how easy it would be to make at home. A few months ago I discovered a supermarket in the basement of a mall I frequent. It’s called Meida Ya, a large Japanese supermarket selling global products with a separate section dedicated to japanese food including dine in outlets selling freshly made sushi or, my personal favourite, Katsu Curry. I have tried a few new japanese recipes since finding this store, the difficulty is trying to find the correct products as all the writing is in japanese, sometimes with a small white tag on the back with the English product name. Mostly I just ask someone who looks like they know what they’re doing! I have found out recently that you can get all the ingredients for this recipe from the japanese section of your local large supermarket.

SCC MIso

Traditionally, Miso Soup contains tofu. Now let me tell you this, I CAN NOT stand tofu! It’s not just the texture or the taste, it’s the way it sits in the soup as if to say ‘hey! i know i look like some tasty cheesy feta, but I’ll show you!’ it tries to trick you every time into giving it another try just to make sure you don’t like it, and as soon as it hits the inside of my mouth it triggers that gag reflex, like some cold, solidified, instant custard, yuck! Well I have had enough of the tofu tricks and replaced it with poached chicken breasts (take that tofu!).

SCC Miso Close Up

Here’s the recipe for my Chicken Miso Soup!

Makes 4 large servings:

For the poached chicken

  • One Carrot
  • One Celery Stick
  • One Bay Leaf
  • 3 Black Peppercorns
  • 3 Whole Chicken Breasts

For the Miso Soup

  • 40g Dashi – dashi is a japanese stock, if you can’t get your hands on it, make sure you use some top quality chicken stock
  • 3 Pints of boiling water
  • 4 Spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 Sheet of Wakame (edible seaweed)
  • 4 Tbsp white miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp mirin

Optional

  • Cooked Edamame topped with a pinch of Maldon Salt
Edamame, another love of mine!

Edamame, another love of mine!

Start by placing the ingredients for the poached chicken in a saucepan and fill with water until the chicken is just about covered. Turn the heat on low and simmer for around 20 minutes. Next, get your water boiling in a separate saucepan, whilst this is getting up to heat, soak the wakame in cold water for a couple of minutes. Add to the pan along with the spring onions. Pop your miso paste into a small container, this needs to be watered down before adding to the main soup pan as it will stay in lumps if you don’t. Add a laddle of the stock mixture to your miso container and mix with a fork until completely combined. Slowly add this to the stock mixture whilst stirring continuously. Make sure that you keep the heat gentle, if you boil miso, the heat kills the aroma. Next add the soy sauce and mirin, and continue to stir gently. Check your chicken is cooked by cutting one chicken breast lengthways. Once it’s white the whole way through, drain the pan and cut into chunks before adding to the soup. Stir gently before pouring into bowls and enjoying with Edamame.

SCC Miso Soup Set

I’d just like to take this opportunity to apologise to any tofu lovers out there. If any of you have a recipe that you think will make me fall in love with it then please contact me to try it out.

Soup of the Week: Carrot and Coriander

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This weeks Soup of the Week is a repeat of an earlier post. In fact, the original post is exactly a year old. It’s amazing how much my life has changed in that last year, the first sentence of the original post just proves this. Back then, I was in my kitchen back in Geneva, just about coping with the freezing Swiss winter, completely unaware that I was about to receive a marriage proposal followed by the opportunity to move to yet another foreign land and now, here I am in sunny Singapore where it’s a muggy 29 degrees this evening! Anyway, back to the soup, it’s such a great recipe (in my humble opinion!) I have to share it with you all again. So if you haven’t tried it yourself yet, here’s another chance! As far as frequent cooking goes, this one is high up there. In fact, I’m sipping a mug of it right now whilst I’m typing this!

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I hope you don’t think I’m being lazy! This one has been a busy week for me. Chinese New Year this Friday means a bank holiday weekend here in Singapore and we have taken the opportunity to skip away to Bali for a couple of nights, our Christmas present to each other. With so much to do before we leave for our short flight tomorrow, this is likely to be the only post from me until next week when I’ll be letting you know how it went with my attempt at traditional Pineapple Tarts. From what it sounds like, these are South East Asia’s version of the much loved Mince Pie and a tasty sweet treat for Chinese New Year!

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I almost forgot, here’s the link back to my original post. See you in the (Chinese) New Year everyone!

Soup of the week! Tomato and Lemongrass

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This week’s Soup of The Week is slightly inspired by the local food here in Singapore with a pinch of inspiration from a food memory back when I was in my early teens. My older brother is a fantastic cook, it all started when he worked part time in the kitchens at a beautiful hotel restaurant smack bang in the idyllic Wye Valley at Symonds Yat. I never used to like tomato soup as a youngster but the chef at The Royal Hotel had a recipe for Tomato and Lemongrass Soup that was highly regarded by the rest of my family. My memory is of walking into the kitchen to find my brother and dad using as many containers as they could find to store the soup. The chef had given my brother the restaurant kitchen recipe for the rather than a downsized home cooking version so we ended up with enough soup to serve around 20 covers! Since my love for tomato soup has been born and as I am experimenting with a lot of south east asian ingredients I’ve never used before, I have come up with my own version of this soup. It’s a very light soup that works well served as a starter before a heavy meal, possessing superb flavours with a little kick of chilli cutting through.

For four servings you will need:

  • 25g Butter
  • 1 Onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass, remove outer skins and stalks before finely slicing
  • 1 litre of hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt the butter over a gentle heat and slowly cook the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and chilli cooking for a further 2 minutes. Next, add the tinned tomatoes, lemon grass and stock and simmer for about 15 minutes to allow all the flavours to infuse. Transfer to a blender until smooth and serve. SCC Tomato and Lemongrass Soup

Soup of the week! Harissa Spiked Pumpkin

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I always have some homemade soup in the fridge or freezer. It’s often what I’ll have for lunch and I love trying out new combinations. Which is why I have decided to introduce soup of the week!

It was a couple of months ago that I started making this one and it’s become a regular. It’s great if you’ve got the sniffles as the spice from the harrissa paste helps clear out those sinuses. It’s really easy to pull together and good for you to boot! The Pumpkin I use for this soup is ‘local’ Malaysian Pumpkin. I’m not sure if it has a season here as it always seems available and so cheap. You really need a sharp knife to cut through that pumpkin skin but it’s worth the hard work for that smooth sweet taste!

You will need:

  • One onion, roughly chopped
  • 25g butter
  • 900g pumpkin, skin removed and cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp of harissa paste, you can add more or less depending on how spicy you want to go. I used green harissa.
  • 1 litre of hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Once you have all of your ingredients prepared, heat the butter in a large saucepan on a low heat and slowly cook the onions until translucent. Next, add the harissa paste and sizzle for one minute. Add the pumpkin and stir to coat with the harissa before pouring over the hot stock and simmering with the lid on for 5 – 8 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Whizz through a food processor until smooth and serve with your favourite bread.

SCC Pumpkin Harissa Soup

Easy Mushroom Soup

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It maybe surprising to someone who has never lived in foreign lands how long it can take to settle down. There are so many things that take time getting used to from language and religion to driving (don’t get me started on this one!) nothing is ever quite the same as your home country. The fun part can be trying all the new foods but sometimes you get big cravings for something familiar. My latest frustration came when I went to buy what I would call a staple food product from my local supermarket. Cream was on my shopping list this Monday and I ended up having to buy Elmlea. For many years my fiancé thought Elmlea was cream and couldn’t understand why I would refuse to use it. For those of you who don’t know, Elmlea is actually a cream alternative made with vegetable oil and buttermilk.  Sounds gross doesn’t it?This will have to do for now but I will not end my quest for the real deal!

 

SCC Elmlea

 

One item which I have been buying regularly of late is shitake mushrooms. I would always buy closed cup mushrooms in Geneva, not for any reason other than they were the most available. So, when I had mushrooms on my shopping list and found myself with a huge bag of shitake, I decided to make a soup.

 
SCC Shitake

There is something about soup that makes it so comforting, even more so when it is homemade. I like having some homemade soup to hand whether it’s in the fridge or the freezer but this one is so quick to pull together! This recipe serves two and is easy enough to double, or triple if you want some left overs to keep in the fridge!

 

You will need …

 

25g unsalted butter

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

150g shitake mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped

500ml veg stock, a stock cube is fine but you can use my veg stock recipe if you have time

100ml milk

Salt and Pepper for seasoning

SCC Mushroom Soup Ingredients

 

Start by gently melting the butter in a saucepan and cooking the onion and garlic until softened. Chuck in the mushrooms and cover, cook for about 5 mins stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are cooked.  Add the stock and blend until smooth. Now pour in the milk and season to taste, I like to make this soup quite peppery for an extra kick.

I finished this one with a drizzle of *cough* Elmlea

 

SCC Mushroom Soup Serving

 

 

Carrot and Coriander Soup

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Carrot and Coriander Soup

 

Brrrrr it’s cold outside!! When it’s like this, a comforting soup really hits the spot and this is my favorite by a long shot which is actually slightly irritating because if I have it in a restaurant or bought from a store it is never good enough! My Dad used to make this one and I haven’t adapted it in anyway whatsoever as it is delicious as it is.

 

Serves 6

SCC Carrot and Coriander Soup Ingrediants

450g carrots cut into chunks

15ml olive oil

40g butter

1 onion, chopped

1 celery stick, sliced, plus 2 to 3 pale leafy celery tops

2 small potatoes, chopped

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

3 tsp ground coriander

1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

200ml milk

salt and fresh ground black pepper

 

Heat the oil and 25g of the butter in a heavy based saucepan and fry the onion over a low heat until it is softened, but not browned. Now add the sliced celery stick and potatoes to the pan, cook for a few minutes before adding the carrots. Fry over a low heat stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes and then cover. Reduce the heat even further and sweat for about 10 minutes. Shake or stir the pan occasionally so the vegetables don’t stick to the base. Now add the stock, bring to the boil and then partially cover and simmer for a further 8-10 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Set aside 6-8 tiny celery leaves for garnish and finely chop the celery tops. Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan and fry the ground coriander, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Reduce the heat, add the celery tops and fresh coriander and fry for about 1 minute. Set aside. Process the soup in a blender or food processor. Stir in the milk, coriander mixture and season. Heat gently, taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve garnished with the fresh celery leaves and you have a tasty winter warmer!

 

SCC Carrot and Coriander Soup Bowl

Chicken and Mushroom Pâté

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Pate has always been a favorite for my family.  We often had it in our fridge when I was growing up whether it was store bought from my mum’s days of working behind the supermarket deli counter or homemade by my Dad for special occasions. So it is no surprise that one of the things I get asked to make most often is my very own Chicken Liver Pate. It’s a relatively easy dish to make and easily adaptable to your own taste. This is a garlic mushroom version but you can simply take out one garlic clove and the mushrooms to make your standard chicken liver pate. Here’s what you need…

 

1 Medium onion, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon of butter

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

125g mushrooms, roughly chopped

230g chicken livers (trimmed)

1 tsp fresh thyme, leaves only

A splash of Brandy

2.5 tbsp single cream

1 tbsp tomato ketchup

Salt and Pepper

 

150g Butter to seal.

SCC Pate Ingredients

 

Melt the butter in a frying pan on a low heat and cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the mushrooms and sweat for a few minutes. While all this is going on you can prepare the chicken livers. First, wash them well in cold water and pat with some kitchen paper to dry off. To trim them, you need to cut off the sinew and any unpleasant looking parts. These will make the pate taste bitter. I prefer to use kitchen scissors for this bit. Once this is done you can add the chicken livers to the pan along with the fresh thyme and cook for 4 – 5 minutes. You can check this by cutting the liver in half , the inside should still be slightly pink but not raw in the middle. Now add the brandy and turn up the heat to cook off the alcohol. As soon as this is done, take the pan off the heat and add the cream, ketchup and plenty of seasoning. You’ll need to leave it all to cool for a while now but once that is done, just throw it all in the blender before spooning the whole lot into a serving dish, or, individual dishes (I like to use espresso cups!). Take the remaining butter and melt on a medium-low heat, as soon as it has melted, transfer to a jug and leave until all the sediment has sunk to the bottom. Pour over the pate, leaving the sediment in the jug before transferring to the fridge to set for 1 – 2 hours. If you are serving in this dish, you can decorate the butter before it sets by adding pink and green pepper corns or fresh herbs.

 

SCC Chicken and Mushroom Pate