The Aspiring Soup Chef!

Creamy Zucchini and Pesto Soup

Posted in Uncategorized by charyness on October 17, 2009
Creamy Zucchini and Basil Pesto Soup!
Creamy Zucchini and Basil Pesto Soup!

This post is 2 days late, but having created such a wonderful, visually appealing art-piece, much to the obscene delight of my inner soup-narcissist, I decided to take a day off to gloat over this soup’s beauty. YES beauty. Now excuse ME for having a sentimental and intimate relationship with my soup. ahem.

Okay seriously now, this soup takes just as good as it looks. No kidding. I over-killed with the zucchinis and given that my mother isn’t really a connoisseur of good food and good presentation, I had to make do with chilling my soup overnight to save it for the next day.

Not bad for a first time! A little uneven and rough as you can see above but I did it! and I am content. (:

Now this recipe is, too, from Murdoch books as is the Creamy Asparagus one (note I say ‘creamy’ and not ‘cream’, indicating my very staunch health-conscious beliefs) but I took the liberty of adding my own portions and reducing, even omitting the more unhealthier ingredients.

Here it goes:

Basil pesto recipe


2 cups fresh Basil Leaves

1/4 cup parmesan reggiano ( i’m poor so i used plain parmesan SUE ME)

1/4 extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 cloves of garlic

a dash of salt/paprika(optional: i didn’t add these but i’ve read in places that you can)


There are many variations of pesto recipes available online, some even using brazil nuts, goodness knows. But these seem to be the standard ingredients so this is the one I’ve used.

And now for the soup!

Fresh Zucchini. Best buy them small, no spots, firm.
Fresh Zucchini. Best buy them small, no spots, firm.

Ingredients

Briefing: One soup pot with lid, soup ladle, measuring cup, 2 medium sized bowls, 1 large bowl, blender, tablespoon(s)

700g Zucchini thinly sliced

2 crushed garlic cloves

700ml chicken stock

2 small red onions finely chopped (diced)

2 tablespoons whipping cream

Black pepper (optional)

Basil pesto

Dried Basil Leaves

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Sliced Zucchini.
Sliced Zucchini.

Preparation:

Briefing: Remove stems from Zucchini, wash one large bowl, tablespoons, measuring cup, 1 soup pot with lid, blender, 1 small pot, soup ladle!

1. Cut a flat surface so your cylindrical zucchini won’t be rolling about like a madman. then chop into thin slices and place in a large bowl. Cut then thinly, so they get cooked thoroughly.

2. Meanwhile, in the small pot, add your chicken or vegetable stock and bring it to a boil, while you dice you onions and crush your garlic with a pestle and mortar

3. Sautee your onions and garlic with Extra Virgin Olive oil on medium heat! Sautee for about 5 mins, or until onions are lightly golden. Time it such that your stock is steadily reaching a boil!

Sautee
Sautee

4. Then add your stock and sliced zucchini the sauteed vegetables! Since the stock should be boiling by now, you’ll get a lovely ‘woosh’ (sorry not Booms) when the stock and sizzling sauteed vegetable are combined. I know I may be a science student but I can’t explain this very well. Oh the embarrassment. Okay, do add your dried basil leaves now, because dried herbs will need a longer time to release their flavour. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of dried basil, and a dash of black pepper (if desired. I am a black pepper fanatic fyi.)

Zucchini and Stock added.
Zucchini and Stock added.

5. Now sit back, relax, facebook, twitter everyone about your zucchini adventures, while leaving this nice mix to simmer with the lid on, after it has reached a boil, for 20mins to half an hour or until the zucchinis are soft.

Left to simmer.
Left to simmer.

6. In a blender, puree the mixture carefully until it is smooth and place it in the large bowl. Do this in batches.

Puree Making.
Puree Making.

7. After entire mixture has been puree-ed, return to the pot and add the Whipping Cream. Okay, the reason for adding the cream separately is because Whipping Cream curdles when boiled. So DO NOT BOIL IT! unless you decide to use heavy cream then good luck to your arteries. I am very health-conscious this way.

8. Stir in the cream till it has evenly been mixed throughout the puree mixture. Then heat again if the mixture has become rather cold.

Garnish and Serve.
Garnish and Serve.

¡VOILA!

Add Basil Pesto to Garnish, or stir in a tablespoon into soup. your preference! The serving suggestion above includes a cherry tomato and zucchini skin drizzled with black pepper. whipping cream was used to make the flower pattern.

Recipe adapted from Murdoch Books, by Charlene Torres-Tan.  (:

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE: I made quite a large batch so I kept the leftovers in the fridge in an air-tight container. The next day after I got back from a long day of  running errands, I found myself rather peckish and decided to raid my fridge and found the leftover soup. Being really lazy, I decided to just drink it cold like Vichyssoise and IT TASTED REALLY GOOD! So do give it a shot (:

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Creamy Carrot Soup

Posted in Uncategorized by charyness on October 13, 2009
Creamy Carrot Soup with Homemade Basil pesto

Creamy Carrot Soup with Homemade Basil Pesto

I don’t like the font of this page but my inadequacies with wordpress is the only thing that stopping me from changing it! But I’ll learn in time. Was always a blogger user.

Okay, back to business, I decided to try this recipe I found on 101 cookbooks, which is a really amazing vegetarian cooking site, and THE BEST cooking blog I’ve stumbled upon so far. So pardon me if my blog starts to glean a few ideas here and there from Heidi; I think she’s really amazing, and after going through with this recipe I am in even greater awe of her culinary skills. (:

Yes, this recipe turned out amazing! The link to her site will definitely be added to the sidebar! 😀 THANKS HEIDI FOR SHARING YOUR GREAT CARROT SOUP RECIPE.

I adjusted it a little, to add touches of ME in the recipe, so as to make it more BOOMS. But it is good… still. (if you’re clueless, click on the link. it’s a singaporean thing. ;))

Ingredients:

700g Fresh Carrots cut into 1-inch segments (or julienned, if preferred.)

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 1/2 medium garlic cloves, minced

3 small red onions, chopped
(finely or not, I dont think it really matters)

400ml Chicken Stock

100ml Water

Juice of half a lemon

Pinch of dried Parsley

Black Pepper

5 Pinches of Salt
(I have skinny fingers, so I had to add more pinches okay?!)

Homemade Basil Pesto
(Click on Link for Recipe. I used less oil and cheese. More Basil.)

Preparations:

briefing: Wash carrots, remove leaves, if you bought carrots with leaves, skin them if you so prefer. One large Soup pot with lid, Soup ladle, 3 medium bowls, 1 large bowl, 1 Tablespoon, a a food processor

Ready to for a good washing and choppin'!

Ready to for a good washing and choppin'!

1. Chop lengthwise, or just chop a flat surface so the carrot won’t roll around as you perform  your intricate carrot surgery. Basically, just chop them into pieces that are of just the right thickness, so they get cooked through but not flaccid (if you want a chunkier soup).

Longitudinal cut

2. Heat olive oil in large soup pot on medium heat and IMMEDIATELY add garlic and onions. Saute until Onions are translucent. This should take a few minutes

3. Add chicken stock, carrots, dried parsley and black pepper and bring the mixture of a gentle boil.

In the pot!

In the pot!

4. After gently boiling for a couple of minutes, lower the heat and allow to simmer for 25 minutes. Don’t overcook! The carrot should be tender but NOT flaccid. Broth might start to evaporate, feel free to add more water.

5. With a food processors, blend the batches until smooth to obtain your Puree.

6. Depending on desired consistency, blend for shorter or longer periods of time. I liked mine a little chunkier so I didn’t let it whir about for too long. Yum.

7. In the large bowl, add the puree and stir in the lemon juice and salt pinches. Depending on your preference, you may choose to leave out the salt. My soup tasted wonderfully tangy and sweet and I didn’t bother with much salt.

8. Add basil Pesto on the top for garnishing, or a dash of olive oil.

:D

Serving Suggestion

¡VOILA!

Recipe by Charlene Torres-Tan adapted from original by Heidi Swanson.

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Posted in Uncategorized by charyness on October 11, 2009

From Soups by Murdoch Books
Adapted from Soups by Murdoch Books

Ingredients:

500g Asparagus spears

640ml Chicken Stock

15g of Butter

1 Tablespoon of All-Purpose/Plain Flour

1/2 a teaspoon of grated lemon zest

Rubbed Sage

Black pepper

Dried Parsley (optional garnish)

Bun/ Hard-roll/ Bread of your choice

Preparations:

briefing: 1 saucepan, 2 large bowls, a food processor, cloth or mittens, soup ladle, small pot with lid, measuring cup, tablespoons

1. Wash and chop off lower end of asparagus spear, which is woody and hard and pale green/white/purple/brown/JUSTCHOPOFFTHEENDS.

DSC05209

2. Chop Asparagus spears into approx 2cm lengths and place in a large bowl.

3. Divide chicken stock into 2 volumes, i.e. 320ml into one cup, the other 320 into another cup.

Chopped Asparagus

Directions:

briefing: wash all utensils, have all ingredients ready and measured. keep fire on a low/medium heat throughout. DO NOT COOK ON HIGH HEAT unless otherwise stated.

1. In a small pot, combine the chopped asparagus spears and 320ml of chicken broth and bring to a boil on medium heat, or let simmer, and cover with lid for about 10 minutes, or until asparagus is tender.

Chopped Asparagus spears in chicken brothChopped Asparagus spears in chicken broth

2. Transfer boiled asparagus into a food processor and blend in batches, until smooth. You can hear the whirring of the blender in a constant hum that isn’t disrupted by collision with bulky asparagus bits. The puree should be made easily, if you had removed the asparagus after it is sufficiently tender from boiling. Transfer Puree into a large bowl.

Asparagus Puree

Asparagus Puree

3. In a large saucepan on low heat, add the butter and flour and stir for about a minute, or until the butter is melted and evenly spread with the flour, and it starts to foam and turn pale.

4. Remove the saucepan from heat and add the remaining chicken stock, and stir until smooth, and all lumps are dissolved. Add 2 tablespoons of rubbed sage. Return to heat.

5. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for about 2 minutes.

6. Add the asparagus puree to the saucepan and stir until uniform.

7. Add black pepper. Sparing or indulgent, it’s up to you. No pepper is fine too. Whatever floats your boat man.

8. When heated thoroughly, add the lemon zest and season with a teaspoon of salt if preferred.

Creamy Asparagus Soup on the way!

Creamy Asparagus Soup on the way!

¡VOILA!

Serve with black pepper garnish on top, extra lemon zest, and toasted hot bun on the side.

Cream of Asparagus Soup (serving suggestion)

Cream of Asparagus Soup (serving suggestion)

Recipe by Charlene Torres-Tan (:

Country-Style Chicken Soup

Posted in Uncategorized by charyness on October 11, 2009
Biltmore Cafe Inspired

Biltmore Cafe Inspired

INGREDIENTS:

2 Small Red Onions

2 Stalks Celery

2 Carrots

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Slabs of Fresh Chicken Breast Meat

2 Cups Frozen Mixed Vegetable (Peas, Carrots and Corn)

Dried Rosemary

500g Fresh Spinach

1 litre Low Sodium Chicken Broth

Salt and Pepper

Dried Parsley (optional)

Preparations:

briefing: sharp knives, 5 medium sized melamine/plastic bowls, 1 soup pot with a lid, cooking ladle, Tablespoons

1. Remove the skin from the Red Onions and wash thoroughly. Chop into little fingernail-sized squares and place in a bowl

2. Wash Celery Stalks and Chop celery into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl

3. Wash and remove skin from carrots, and make transverse-section cuts, forming chopped pieces of ‘carrot circles’. Do not cut too thin, to ensure soup retains ‘chunky’ character

4. Wash and remove any bit of fat from Chicken Breast Slabs. Cut along the length of the meat, then reduce each half to bite-sized cuts. Do not cut too thin.

5. Wash Spinach well, and remove any damaged, unglam, rotten leaves. (optional for the really evil chefs out there.) Cut into approx. 5 cm long pieces. Not really important to cut your spinach very meticulously. Just chop away!

Directions:

briefing: Keep fire at a low/medium heat while adding ingredients. Please wash all pots before using. (optional if you’re a dirty swine)

1. Saute the onions, celery, and carrots in 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in your soup pot over medium heat until onions are translucent. Throw the vegetables in quickly. Don’t leave the olive oil on the heat too long or it’ll start to lose moisture, like evaporating, sort of. Anyway right now, your kitchen SHOULD start to smell awesome. Unless you’re burning stuff.

2. Add the chicken, mixed vegetables, Chicken Broth and 2 Table Spoons of Rosemary. OR if you wanna overkill on the herb factor, then use 3 Table Spoons like I did. Unintentionally of course. OKAY just DON’T overkill on the rosemary okay please.

3. Bring to a boil. i.e., you can afford to increase the heat right now. Like, bordering on high heat but still kinda medium-ish. Come on don’t ask me for exact temperature here this isn’t baking, honey.

4. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave it covered. You better stir so your ingredients get cooked evenly and thoroughly.

5. NOW add the spinach (see, I haven’t forgotten.) and use your ladle to push it into the soup because right now it’s going to be all leafy and big but don’t worry it’ll wither and add some nice, healthy colour to your soup.

6. Season with pepper, add water if your soup’s looking a little dehydrated because you keep opening the lid to peer at it. Add about a table spoon (or less) of salt. This is just for you salt-addicts out there.

7. Cook the entire dish until it’s thoroughly heated, this should be about 10 more minutes. Don’t overcook the spinach.

Country Style Chicken Soup Close-up

Country Style Chicken Soup Close-up

¡VOILA!

Serve with Toasted Bun. Perfect to warm you up on a rainy day!

Recipe by Charlene Torres-Tan 🙂

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized by charyness on October 11, 2009

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