Soups + Salad

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Moroccan Citrus Salad

 

Blanket terms and generalisations for international cuisines forever rub me the wrong way. I still retain my delicate sensibilities by finding “Mediterranean salad” with some olives mixed in, “Greek style pasta” adorned with feta crumble, “Asian style salad” with a sesame seed garnish or “Arabic style lamb” with a smattering of pomegranate straight up offensive. Can we please stop pigeonholing dishes and defining a culture by the addition of one cliché ingredient? Sure, accessibility and all that, but one spiced Spanish-style sausage a paella does not make.

This week my bookshelf has been graced with The Jewelled Kitchen by Bethany Kehdy, and this citrus salad from page 68 is a far cry from the usual whack a pomegranate on it and call it ethnic food fare – it’s tangy, it’s fresh, it’s sweet, it’s zingy, it’s a little crunchy. My version varies tremendously from the original in terms of presentation (my mandolin and oranges of choice did not want to be friends) so, in classic Alana style, I’ve opted for the messy rustic approach.

This book is a wonderful collection of Middle Eastern recipes, and as aforementioned it isn’t the usual fusion fare – this is a genuine, heartfelt book with both classics, modern interpretations and personal adaptations and as someone who grew up alongside some of these dishes it is an absolute joy to read.

In an attempt to cease the stereotypical just add ____ for that easy, authentic flavour! style recipes I’m giving away one copy of The Jewelled Kitchen to inspire the inner Teta in all of you. To enter all you need to do is answer this simple question by leaving a comment below: what’s your favourite Middle Eastern dish? Blanket, authentic, fusion or offensive guilty pleasure, I don’t care. Local kebab? The most hectic kataifi? Shout it from the roof tops and shout it to me within the sweet confines of the internet.

Moroccan Citrus Salad
Moroccan Citrus Salad
Moroccan Citrus Salad
Moroccan Citrus Salad
Moroccan Citrus Salad
Moroccan Citrus Salad
Moroccan Citrus Salad
Moroccan Citrus Salad

 

Many citrus fruits mentioned here are out of season so just replace them with whatever you like (the more grapefruit you use the more honey you may need, please heed my sour warning).

Moroccan Citrus Salad
(from The Jewelled Kitchen by Bethany Kehdy)

1 lime
1 orange
1 blood orange
1 pink grapefruit
1 pomegranate, seeded
A few of pistachios, roughly chopped
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp orange blossom water
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
A few mint leaves
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt

1. Using a sharp knife segment citrus fruit or use a mandolin to slice into fine pieces. Or cut however you like, whatever! Throw your citrus in a bowl with the pomegranate seeds.
2. Add orange blossom water and honey and give it all a stir. Add mint leaves, combine again, then serve in the bowl of your choice as neatly or as rustic as you like. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top.
3. Adorn with a generous dollop of yoghurt, sprinkle the pistachio shards and enjoy with a glass of mint tea (green tea + sugar + mint leaves).

What do you get when you cross the mentalities of Vietnamese green mango, Greek pan-fried eggplant and a Thai dressing? This happy conglomerate of a salad.

When living in Newtown I frequently endured sad days of having very little food, however, if there was ever an eggplant in the house there was always a meal. Versatile, robust, damn good. It’s saved my hungry butt on many occasions; a symbol of hope and prosperity in financially dark times. My eggplant repertoire is vast and beautiful.

My friend Andrew graced my humble, ethnic hands with some green mangoes and some of his mum’s homemade chili salt the other day after I was banging on about how great it was eating it all the time in Bangkok (get a load of this white guy over here) so to pay tribute to my classic whatever’s in the fridge plus eggplant style of cooking I combined the two. Apologies to all of the traditional dishes that just got owned by my bastardised cooking but I promise it really is fresh and nice and all of those good things. This serves 2 or more mash-up hungry friends.

Eggplant + Green Mango Salad
(an original recipe)

1 eggplant, diced
1 green mango
2 tbs sesame seeds
3 tbs sesame oil

Dressing
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of chili salt (optional)

1. Peel the green mango and slice into thin strips. Alternatively if you have one of those cool graters that does the job for you, use that. Place in fridge to cool.
2 Heat sesame oil in a large pan on high heat. Add eggplant and continue to toss until nicely browned and tender (around 5-10 minutes). Add some extra oil if required.
3. In a smaller pan lightly toast sesame seeds until browned slightly. Transfer into a bowl to cool.
4. Combine all dressing ingredients to taste. In a bowl toss eggplant, sliced mango and half of the sesame seeds. Add dressing to taste, toss and transfer to plate. Garnish with remaining sesame seeds.

With eggplant comes great responsibility versatility. Never forget.

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Cravings are weird, right?

Majority of my friends are travelling, or will be travelling in the coming weeks, so to curb my fuming jealously I’ve turned to thoughts of some past adventures yonder seas. In 2008/2009 I hung out in Europe for a couple of months as most 20 year olds do; a few memories of a brief stint in Paris include being rained on tremendously, being kicked out of a souveigner store when I asked the owner for directions, trying to hit on a cab driver with a little help from the ‘romance’ section of my French translation app, seeing many, many boobies at the Moulin Rouge, and, as terribly cliché as it may sound, enjoying a really fantastic French onion soup, or rather, soupe a l’oignon, in a little café.

Since that fleeting thought I hadn’t the will-power to force it out of my mind. MUST HAVE FRENCH ONION SOUP! In a huge coincidence my prayers were answered at dinner at El Circo a couple of weeks ago; an amazing blended soup with a dash of port graced our degustation menu. Mind blowing stuff. And since then it seemed anytime I turned on the TV this soup has been everywhere. Food Safari. MasterChef masterclass. Some other show I can’t remember. The pressure was building up behind my tastebuds; It was time to prepare a soupe a l’oignon of my own.

I began trawling through old photos after making this, and check it out, I found a photo of that soup I ordered in that little Parisian café almost four years ago! Mind you I wasn’t much of a photographer back then with my little Canon snapshot (other photos in this album include me posing idiotically before landmarks, flipping off the Mona Lisa and getting craycray in da club). Hahaha… ahh. Gross.

This recipe is rather rich (beef stock + alcohol + cheese!) and will serve 2 for main or 4 for a little entree. I’ve thrown everything into this one, large pot for all to share at the dinner table but serving them up individually is great for dinner parties too.

Soupe a l’Oignon
(an original recipe)

600g onion (around 4 medium-large), finely sliced
50g butter
2tbs flour
250ml beef stock
500ml water
2 sprigs thyme
Salt
60ml port
60g gruyère, grated
2 slices bread

1. In a large, heavy-based saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and stir until softened. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for around an hour or until beginning to caramelise and brown.
2. Add flour to the onions and stir to cook for a few minutes. Add the stock, water and thyme and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, adding salt to taste.
3. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place your bread under a grill to toast lightly.
4. Once the soup is ready add the port then carefully ladle into an oven-proof bowl. Add a third of the cheese, then the toasted bread, then top with the remainder of the cheese. Place in the oven for around 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and is deliciously blistered. Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

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Chicken + Corn + Egg Soup

Back in July I posted this chicken, corn and egg soup recipe. LOLOL, right? Besides the obviously thoughtless styling please allow me to explain my revisiting of this post. I’m in my third year of university (Bachelor of Digital Media) and for my final project I’ve (foolishly?) proposed to design and photograph my very own cookbook. It’s pretty exciting. Here’s a working cover:

Playing the role of both chef, stylist and photographer really takes its toll to the point I’ve been flailing and shouting about never wanting to be a photographer anymore, ever. However I must always keep in mind this is all for the greater good despite the fact I’ll never be able to sit and enjoy my lunch without having spent an hour taking photos of it for the next seven months. Most entries you’ve seen this year will be compiled in my book so THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH to everybody who has offered kind and constructive words re: photography. Keep it coming. And don’t get afraid to get nasty; I’m used to getting my butt kicked at uni so if you see something you don’t like please go nuts with it.

Chicken + Corn + Egg Soup

On to the food; my prior entry explained this soup came about whilst I was very, very ill but this time around I’ve spared a little more effort to transform this into a more graceful dish (using real stock this time, not the supermarket type! Wow!); someone on Pinterest even mentioned I should probably have chicken pieces in here, so thanks for your feedback! I have delivered. This should serve around four friends.

Chicken + Corn + Egg Soup
(an original recipe)

1L chicken stock (please refer to this recipe)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs ginger, minced or finely grated
2x 420g cans creamed corn
1 tbs soy sauce
2 eggs
1 tbs corn flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped shallots, to serve

1. Prepare chicken stock as per these instructions. Once drained and cooled remove chicken from the bones, lightly shred and reserve for later.
2. In a medium-sized pot sizzle the ginger in sesame oil until fragrant. Add the stock, creamed corn and soy sauce and stir to combine.
3. In a small bowl combine cornflour with equal part water and stir until dissolved. Pour into soup and stir – this works as a thickening agent.
4. In another small bowl whisk the two eggs. Slowly pour in them in ensuring the soup is hot so they cook almost immediately. This will create a lovely, light weave of egg throughout your soup.
5. Ladle out in bowls and adorn with a generous pinch of shredded chicken reserved from earlier. Garnish with chopped shallots and cracked pepper.

Let’s get these bad boys side-by-side; here’s a comparative image from August 2011 to now illustrating a significant improvement of styling and photo editing. Funny how I used to think the photo on the left was the bees knees:

… and in another year’s time I’ll probably be looking back at these photos having a solid laugh too (in fact I’m already finding reasons to dislike them – I’m still clumsy with dark coloured backgrounds). At least it’s comforting to know there’s always room for growth and improvement, right?

PS. On a completely unrelated note – does anybody here use Instagram? Since it’s now available for Android I’ve completely jumped aboard, let’s be friends! My username is bananasoiree.

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Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup

To cut a long and possibly annoying succession of stupid anecdotes short; my weekend, this recipe and this post has been inspired by three things:

  • An enforced philosophy of shopping at farmers’ markets far more frequently and making as much as I possibly can from scratch,
  • Wanting to create my version of Campbell’s “Potato and Leek” soup in a can, my former comfort food as a broke student living out of home (eugh), and
  • Discovering a life beyond LEEKSPIN.

Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup

Needless to say this weekend was rather wholesome (with the exception of my frolicking around humming the Leekspin tune); riding my bike around yearning for the organic and simply homemade. And yes, a year ago I would often pine for Campbell’s Leek and Potato soup from a can, undeterred its goopy nature retaining its cylindrical shape as I attempted it pour it from the can into my little pot. It was like something from a cartoon.

Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup

Now, if I do say so myself, this leek soup is spectacular; so fragrant and naturally creamy. The garlic is present and rounded but in no way pungent so don’t be afraid to rock two whole bulbs. It’s one of those dishes where the ingredients truly speak for themselves. Whole roasting garlic bulbs is an absolute joy, as is preparing an aromatic chicken stock from scratch. Please note the stock recipe below will make around twice as much as you actually need for this soup; this stuff is golden and whether you refrigerate it for a week or freeze it for months you will always, always find an opportunity to use it. But, as usual, I digress. This recipe, aside from the extra stock, will serve 4 people who aren’t afraid to get their garlic on.

Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup

 

Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup

2 leeks

2 whole garlic bulbs

1L chicken stock (instructions below)

650g potato (around 4 medium sized)

100ml cream, plus more to garnish

1 tbs butter

Olive oil

Salt

A few slices of prosciutto (optional)

 

Chicken stock (makes twice as much as you need, around 2L)

1kg chicken wings (around 10)

2½ L water

2 large onions

3 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

10 peppercorns

2 tbs salt

 

For the stock (can be made a day ahead)

1. Cut onions in half leaving the skin on. Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to the boil. For the next 15 minutes skim the scum that rises to the top with a ladle. Once it has cleared, turn down heat to a lower setting, pop on the lid and allow to simmer for 4 hours.

2. Strain chicken, onions and aromatics from the liquid. This stock can be kept in fridge or freezer until ready for use.

 

For the soup

1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Remove the ‘tops’ of the bulbs of garlic with a horizontal slice so that the cloves inside are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in aluminium foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove, allow to cool and, with a firm hold of the base of the bulb, squeeze the soft, caramelised garlic into a small bowl. If you want to use prosciutto as a garnish, place the slices on a tray and bake for 10 minutes.

2. Remove the tops, or the darkest green leaves from the leeks. Slice the stalks in half and wash well (because leeks have many layers  there may be plenty of dirt and soil in there). Finely chop into small pieces.

3. Peel potatoes and roughly chop into 2cm cubes.

4. Heat butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot. Add chopped leeks and stir until softened, around 10 minutes. Add the litre of stock, the cubed potatoes, the soft garlic and a teaspoon of salt. Combine, bring to the boil then reduce heat to medium. Cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables have softened significantly.

5. (The burn mark on my hand says be wary of this step!) In batches, pour the soup into a blender and process until smooth. Alternatively use a stick blender straight in the pot. Return to the pot on low heat and add cream.

 

To serve

1. Spoon ladlefuls of soup into a bowl. Add a dollop of cream, a piece of prosciutto and garnish with cracked pepper.

Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup

Served with some homemade malt and wholemeal bread this meme-inspired soup is absolutely one of the nicest dishes I’ve recently made. Do try it! I’m so excited by this recipe I wish I could personally deliver a bowl to every single person I know.

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Chest infection. Fever. Missing hours of class spending my days looking ugly and coughing my lungs out in bed. Welcome to my pyjama-clad week! Thankfully there comes a time in every illness however where one finally musters the strength to tear off the snuggie of oppression and eat something that isn’t dry cereal. My friends, it’s soup time.

I’m never an advocate for the “quick ‘n’ easy” recipe however I was in dire need of warmth and nourishment. For this recipe I would always suggest using homemade chicken stock and fresh ginger, however when you’re struggling to breathe the Campbell’s “Real Chicken Stock” sitting in the back of your cupboard begins to look mighty tempting. Forgive me, soup lords, this will never happen again!

Depending on your serving size this will feed anywhere between 4 and 8 people (or alternatively one very sick girl over the course of a few days).

 

Chicken + Corn + Egg Soup

(an original recipe)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbs ginger, minced

1L chicken stock

2x 420g cans creamed corn

1 tbs soy sauce

2 eggs

1 tbs corn flour

salt + pepper to taste

1. In a large, heavy based soup pot sizzle your ginger in sesame oil until fragrant.

2. Add the chicken stock, creamed corn and soy sauce and stir to combine.

3. In a small, separate bowl whisk your eggs. When the soup begins to boil slowly pour in your egg mixture. This will create a lovely, light weave of egg throughout your soup.

4. Again in a separate bowl combine corn flour with an equal part of water and combine well until it forms a loose paste. Slowly pour into your soup whilst stirring – this works as a thickening agent.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now if you’ll excuse me – I’m off to see how many episodes of Curb your Enthusiasm I can watch before I fall asleep out of antibiotic-induced exhaustion (my current record is one and a half).

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Given my heritage I was practically born with a leg of lamb in my hand. There comes a time in every Australian-born ethnic girl’s life however where she must say NO to the cascading beef and spend a few days strictly vegetarian for the well-being of the universe. This vegetarian stint begins TODAY.

Subtle hints of garlic embedded in soft potato beside fresh, crunchy cos and a citrusy creamy dressing; what you are about to experience is delicious, healthy and just… AAHHHHH. Amazing.

Garlic Roasted Potato + Cos Lettuce Salad + Ricotta Dressing

(an original recipe)

1 baby cos lettuce

2 potatoes (any variety is fine)

2 cloves garlic, minced

drizzle of olive oil

handful of salad seeds or dukkah (optional)

2 generous tablespoons of fresh ricotta

1 lime

2 tablespoons water

salt + peppercorns

Here are some secret weapons of mine. To the left is the most olivey-olive oil I have ever experienced; the by-product of pickled olives by my parents. I love the manky glass jar, so authenticly homely. To the right; chilli and soy flavoured salad seeds. Crunchy, umani goodness. However I digress.

1. Pre-warm oven to 200°C

2. Roughly chop your potatoes. In a medium sized pan boil the pieces for 15 minutes (this can be omitted if you’d prefer however this step creates a lovely fluffy potato)

3. Remove and strain boiled potato pieces and place in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil and stir through the minced garlic. Transfer to a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, chop your cos and place into a bowl. In another small bowl mix the ricotta, the juice of one lemon, water and generous seasoning (this may seem a little potent but remember there is a lot of lettuce to cover).  Pour 3/4 of of your dressing over the cos and stir through.

5. When your potatoes are ready (they should have lightly crisped edges) carefully place them atop your lettuce while they’re still warm. Drizzle remaining dressing and crown with salad seeds.


Are you feeling rejuvenated yet?

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