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Lentil squash soup with turmeric and spicy onions

12 Jan

Lentil squash soup with turmeric

We usually observe the Italian tradition of eating lentils on New Year’s Day. Because of their resemblance to coins, lentils are thought to symbolise good fortune and prosperity. Worth a shot…;-)

Most often, I make Puy lentils simmered with carrots, onion and celery until soft, which I serve with sausages cooked under the grill. But sometimes I make lentil soup.

This lentil squash soup with turmeric is very different to my usual lemony red lentil soup. The addition of squash both softens and fortifies the slightly grainy texture of the lentils. Continue reading

Kimchi jjigae

26 Oct

Kimchi jjigae

As a lover of all things kimchi, I can think of nothing finer on a cool autumn night than a steaming bowl of kimchi jjigae. Chilli hot, vinegar sour, and packing a hefty garlicky punch, kimchi jjigae is not for the timid of palate  (though the chilli heat can easily be tamed down by using less gochujang, or even omitting the gochugaru).

Kimchi jjigae also has serious sinus-clearing properties, and when a cold threatens, I’d take it over chicken soup any day of the week.

I have yet to convince the girls to join us in a bowl of kimchi jjigae – as we say around here, they are still “learning to like kimchi”…;-) Continue reading

Ed’s clam chowder

5 Oct

Dad's clam chowder

My dad Ed cooked only a few recipes – spaghetti, hamburger mince gravy, sourdough bread, clam chowder – and he cooked them very well.

His clam chowder is as good as any I’ve ever had. The much-loved and lamented clam chowder that the BC Ferries used to serve wasn’t a patch on my dad’s version.

Continue reading

Thai meatball noodle soup

1 Aug

Thai meatball noodle soup

Meatballs are always a safe bet with my girls – as are noodles – and we all enjoy Asian flavours, which makes this Thai meatball noodle soup is a no-brainer.

I’ve been making versions of this soup for years, and don’t follow a recipe as such. I just add the elements of a Thai broth – lemon grass, lime leaves, fish sauce and so on –  then adjust the balance of flavours until I hit on something that will suit our four palates. Continue reading

Borscht

24 Jun

Borscht

This is Mum’s borscht, which I grew up eating – she got the recipe from a Ukrainian neighbour who lived on our street.

I had a strong childhood aversion to beets. I didn’t like the sweetness of them, and remember hating how beet juice would seep into everything else on your plate.

Maybe that’s why I never minded borscht. For one thing, it was sour. Plus the seeping was a done deed, and everything stained a consistent shade of purply red. Continue reading

Tarator (Cold cucumber and yogurt soup)

19 Jun

Tarator

Tarator is a chilled yogurt and cucumber soup that is eaten throughout the Balkans. Apparently, it’s considered to be hangover cure, though I’ve yet to test that claim.

It’s very refreshing, and dead easy to make. I’d happily have a jug of tarator in the fridge for quick lunches on hot summer days.

Not that we’re overburdened with those in the UK… It’s probably best to make your tarator on the day and hope the thermometer hasn’t plunged by the time you were planning to serve it…;-) Continue reading

Chicken tortilla soup

28 Apr

Chicken tortilla soup

There are so many versions of chicken tortilla soup – some light and lime-fragrant with bits of chicken and tiny squares of tortilla like some sort of Mexican miso soup.

Others so packed with meat and beans and peppers and tortilla strips that you could do the perform a Mexican hat dance on the surface. Continue reading