Soup IV -The Revenge of the (Hot) Sauce

Welcome back to more of my series on cooking for people that can’t stand around forever and cook gourmet meals cause we’ll faint and not be able to eat anything while unconscious. The Saga of Soupengrim Bedrider continues on of course in what we all agree is a portal in to Hell (no really, you can take the train from Oslo Central Station):

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Hell is frozen over!

As promised in my tomato soup post last week I’m making a meatier soup today. I’ve used chicken in mine but you can use any kind of meat or fish you like in this one, just remember to swap out the chicken stock/fond if you use fish. You can also make it with no meat at all, just vegetables if you want it to be vegetarian. This is a bit of a quicky version of a thai inspired soup and I’ve probably left out some of the things that belongs in a real one. It takes about four minutes to cook and makes a pretty large portion and is plenty for two people. I’m also using frozen vegetables in this one – no need to defrost them first.

Coconut Lime Noodle Soup

  • 1 tin of coconut milk (400 ml)
  • 1 lime
  • 2 table spoons of Chicken fond or a stock cube
  • Water (about half a coconut milk tin)
  • Coconut oil (or any other oil that tolerates heat well)
  • A handful of fresh coriander (you can absolutely use dried, but watch how much you use if you’re a bit sensitive to it)
  • 1 Chicken breast cut into strips
  • 1 portion Rice noodles
  • 2 cups Frozen vegetable mix (wok mixes work well here)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Chili (I use the ordinary milder red chili)
  • 1 piece of Ginger (about half a thumb, more if you want it hotter)
  • A splash of Hot sauce (if you want it even hotter)
  • Two table spoons of Soy sauce
  • A couple of spring onions cut into slices

Start by boiling water in your kettle if you have one, if not on the stove. Pour the boiling water on your noodles (in a pot please, not directly on the kitchen counter) and set them aside to cook through. Finely chop the chili and garlic (use a garlic press if you want) and grate the ginger. If you want less heat, remove the seeds from the chili before chopping it. Add some oil to a tall sided frying pan or wok (you can use a big pot if your frying pan is too low sided) and quickly stir fry the frozen vegetables. Add the garlic, chili and ginger, and then the chicken strips and cook for a minute or two.

Pro tip: Look for old kitchen equipment you need in charity shops like my excellent grater that works better than many a modern one. I have also found high quality cast iron pans that needed minimal attention to be useful again.

Pour in the tin of coconut milk and rinse the tin with cold water and add the rinse water as well. Bring it to a boil. Add the soy sauce, chicken fond and hot sauce (if you want it). Remember to taste before adding too much stuff, it’s better to add stuff gradually than end up with inedible food. You might need some salt but wait until you have added the soy sauce and stock to decide. Add the chopped coriander (if you don’t like coriander you can leave it out) and let the soup simmer for a minute or so.

Your noodles should be finished by now, so drain and rinse in cold water. Add them to your soup and let them get heated through. Squeeze your lime into the soup just before before serving and add the spring onions for crunch. Eat!

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This soup is great by itself and you probably don’t need anything on the side to go with it but you should do what you like best. I usually eat it from a soup cup with chopsticks and drink the rest but feel free to be a person with actual table manners and use a spoon 🙂

 

Soup 3 – Soup of the Red

The Soupening continues here in the hellish landscape of Oslo, Norway. How we manage to do anything here is beyond me. We are closing in fast on Halloween now so a bit of gore is to be expected – therefore todays theme is Blood Red Tomato Soup. Oh, mmmm tasty and an excellent substitute for fake blood if you are in need of that, just remember to let it cool down first. Or not if you are using it on someone else, mwaha hahahahaaa haa a. Ok then, let’s get to the:

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Cooking!

Simple (and quick or slow) Tomato Soup:

  • 1 Onion (I used a red one but any onion works)
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 1 Carrot
  • a bit of olive oil (about two table spoons)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • Two tins of tomatoes (I like the cherry tomato ones but use what you have and like)
  • Water
  • Chicken fond (2 tablespoons, optional) or a stock cube (also optional)
  • A handful of chopped Oregano (fresh) or a palm full if dry
  • A handful of chopped Basil (fresh) same as above with dry
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • a pinch of sugar
  • You can also add any kind of spicier stuff you like with your soup. Chili flakes or smoked paprika is tasty.

Chop the vegetables as fine as you can. Try to make them semi even, but dont worry too much. They cook a bit quicker if they are fine, but it really doesn’t matter as long as you don’t burn anything. The reason chefs make everything roughly the same size is that it cooks evenly, and the smaller it is the shorter it takes to cook it. If you have a food processor you can use it to chop up vegetables for you if using a knife is difficult. I use mine for any bulk project, like the massive amount of sauerkraut I made the other week that took me all of  four minutes to do all together. Crush the garlic cloves and slice roughly (just smack them with something or use a garlic press).

Pro tip: Unless you have very large or very small hands the palm of your hand holds just about a table spoon of any dry ingredient (like herbs). Very useful and time and dishes saving 🙂

Pour a bit of oil in the soup skillet, toss in the vegetables and let them simmer on a medium heat until they soften. This takes a couple of minutes and you have to stir occasionally so they don’t burn. Sit on something if you get tired or shaky. I have a little step ladder that is far to low but I use it anyway. Put in a tablespoon or two of tomato puree and let it simmer for a minute or two to get the rawness out- then pour in the tinned tomatoes and add the herbs. Add some water as well, I usually rinse out the tomato cans to get the leftover tomato juice so about half a tin each? A bit of salt and pepper- and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down low and let the soup simmer under a lid as long as you like.

Pro tip: Sugar, like black pepper is a flavour enhancer in smaller amounts. If your tomato dish needs something its usually a pinch or two of sugar. You don’t need much,  don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with tomato jam.

Tomatoes tend to get sweeter and meatier the longer they cook, although the rawness and freshness of letting it cook around 10-20 minutes can also be good. I like them both. Do what your stomach tells you to. You can go sit down and let the soup cook itself so set a timer on your phone if you are liable to forget you have something on the stove.

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I have no memory of this soup Gandalf, never mind where we are!

Now its time to put the soup in the food processor, blender or use a handheld mixer if you want it smooth, or just smash up the tomatoes a bit more with a fork or whatever (potato mashers work) and eat it lumpy. Remember to taste after smashing to see if you need more salt and pepper or something. It will probably need a bit more salt.

Todays soup took me just about five minutes to put together and that included taking pictures. I managed to make coffee in my french press while I sauteed the vegetables and cleaned up the little mess I made. So, very quick to make.

It’s also versatile. The soup is fairly thick and can easily be used as a tomato base when you are making any kind of tomato sauce for pasta dishes. You might have noticed there are three tins of tomatoes in the picture (and no tomato pure ’cause I forgot to take it out for picture day). That’s because I’m making a large lasagne next week and need tomato sauce for it.

I can’t eat Parmesan because it’s cow’s milk, but if you have leftover old Parmesan that has been sitting a while in your fridge getting hard around the edges put it in the leftover soup (in bits, hard edges and all) and let it melt. It takes a while to melt but becomes delicious pasta sauce and is great served with meatballs for instance. I use Manchego (sheeps milk) cheese as a substitute which tastes great but doesn’t get quite the right texture. Freeze in portions and you have instant pasta sauce whenever you want.

Serving suggestions:

  • Add some macaroni. Not too much though, if you still want it to be soup and not sauce. For us spoonies its probably best if you cook the pasta separately and chuck it in just before you eat so it doesn’t end up sticking to the bottom of the soup skillet when you can’t manage to stir it any more. Happened to me you ask?
  • You can put some cream in your soup, or serve with a dollop of sour cream.
  • Us Norwegians serve some soups like tomato and spinach with wedges of semi-hardboiled eggs. Try it, it’s tasty.
  • A little drizzle of good olive oil on top and some fresh bread.
  • Heat it up with the chili/hot sauce/mexican spices of your choice and serve with avocado and tortilla chips.
  • What you like in or with your soup, I’m not a dictator. Unfortunately. I think I’d be brilliant at it.
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Soup of the Red!

Next time I think I’m gonna do something with meat or fish in it, the soups up til now have all been possible to make fully vegetarian/vegan so it’s time to do something a bit more proteinous.

 

It’s finally soup season!

It’s October and fall and soup season! For us spoonies (heh) this is the best season for cooking in my opinion. There is a lot of soups and stews that are easy and quick to make. Soups are also easy on a digestive system that sometimes has trouble keeping up. You can make a biggish portion that you can freeze and have for later, and also use as sauce in other food like casseroles.

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Turtle soup!

Some of my favourite simple soups: Cauliflower, tomato, broccoli, leek and potato.

Which leads to my first recipe in what I hope is a little series:

Mushroom soup:

  • 600 g mushrooms (whatever you like, in the pictures there are brown button mushrooms and funnel chanterelles) sliced
  • 1 red onion  – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – sliced
  • A handful of thyme
  • 1 litre chicken stock (or vegetable if you prefer)
  • 5 dl cashew milk (I’m allergic to cows milk, but you can absolutely use ordinary milk or any other substitute you like)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Flat leaf parsley and spring onion to decorate and add some crunch

Slice the mushrooms,and finely chop the red onion. If this is difficult for you can absolutely use a food processor for chopping or just chop the onions a bit bigger. Pull the leafs of the thyme stalks and slice the garlic cloves. Pour some olive oil in a hot skillet and  start cooking the chopped vegetables. This takes a couple of minutes, until the onions are softened. Add a pinch of salt and pepper (all of this takes about five minutes).

Add the chicken stock and milk and bring up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and go sit down and do something nice. If you are prone to forget you have something on the stove put an alarm on your phone for about half an hour to an hour.

Taste your soup. If it needs more salt and pepper add some, if not you can eat! I served mine with some flat leaf parsley and sliced spring onion for a bit of crunch. If you like thicker soup you can blitz about half of it in a blender or something, or you can add any thickening you like (cornflour, arrowroot*).

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Soup!

Serve with anything else you like, bread, croutons, sandwiches. Værsågod!

 

*Note that freezing the soup with thickening means it probably will separate after it’s reheated.