Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho

Cold soup is a treasure of Summer weather. Some countries (eg India and the Middle East) have a whole cuisine of cold drinks that are sipped in the extreme weather of the hottest periods of the year, and countries such as Spain have a cuisine of cold soups to slurp in similar weather. Here, we have neither although our weather in Summer equals or exceeds that of those countries. It is a puzzle why that is.

Never fear, here in our little patch of Australia, both cold soups and cold drinks prevail in hot weather.  From the simplest (juice tomatoes with a tiny piece of chill, serve as a soup with basil, spring onions, black pepper, sea salt) to beautiful but out of fashion vichyssoise varieties.

Today we make a Gazpacho style soup with watermelon as well as tomato. It is delicious on a hot Summer evening, eating on the deck or verandah with friends and family. Serve as a soup, or even as a savoury drink, like you might serve a tomato juice – leave the bread out if you are going to serve it this way. Sipped or slurped, it is wonderful.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, from Plenty More, although I have added some cucumber back into the recipe. I love its juice and can’t imagine a gazpacho without it. It makes a difference. Sometimes, I have also added the juice of zucchinis (surprisingly delicious and cooling) in the past too, because I had a glut of them, and it is delicious. It is such a light and delicious soup, and easy to make – you will want to make it all Summer.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Coriander and Lemongrass VichyssoiseGazpacho,  and Cold Avocado Soup.

Browse all of our Cold Soups and all of our Tomato Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho”

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A Collection of 31 Soups for Mid Winter

Brrrrr, turn the heater up, it is so cold! Bundled up, we go about our daily business, thinking of hot soups and warming food, hot ovens and warm kitchens. Mid Winter can make winter feel like it is never ending.

Let me help you with some soups to bring both warmth and delight to your table. Take the stock out of the freezer, survey your pantry and make a soup each and every day of Mid Winter.

To help you on your way with stocks for your soups, here are the ones that we use the most

Now that you have your Winter menu organised, let’s get cooking! Most of these soups will freeze well.

Here are 30 of our best Soups for Early Winter.

Continue reading “A Collection of 31 Soups for Mid Winter”

Burnt Aubergine and Mograbieh Soup

Mograbieh is a gorgeous large couscous, one of several varieties available around the Mediterranean and Middle East that includes maftoul, fregola, giant couscous, pearl couscous and Israeli couscous. They are generally widely available – some in supermarkets but the best in Middle Eastern groceries. Although there are differences, they can be interchanged in many recipes.

This recipe is a delightful and unusual soup – who has heard of eggplant soup before? Today we have one for you. It is Israeli in origin, and features in Tamimi and Ottolenghi’s book Jerusalem. The texture is from the mograbieh and fried eggplant, and the smooth soup base is char-roasted eggplant and tomatoes.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking mainly from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Mograbieh and Artichoke Pilaf, Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans, and Couscous Lunches.

Browse our Eggplant recipes. Mograbieh dishes, and our Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Burnt Aubergine and Mograbieh Soup”

A Collection of 30 Soups for Early Winter

Winter is here, and it is a cold and wet start to the season this year. Out of the wardrobe come jumpers, coats, scarves and beanies. In the kitchen, soups arrive – wholesome and hearty, steaming as they hit the table. We are grateful to Winter for providing us with the weather to have these great soups.

Our approach to stock for soups has varied over the years. In current times, we tend to make it as we need it, quickly infusing skins and peels, lentils, vegetables, herbs and spices to match the soup. In past years, when we were busier, stocks always sat in the freezer – we made them in the evenings, or as we prepared other dishes the stock would bubble on the stove. Choose a method to suit your lifestyle and family. Sometimes we just use water! We rely on the vegetables and other ingredients itself to shine in the soup.

To help you on your way with stocks, here are the ones that we use the most.

Now that you have your Winter wardrobe organised, let’s get cooking! Most of these soups will freeze well.

Here are 30 of our best Soups for Early Winter.

Continue reading “A Collection of 30 Soups for Early Winter”

Soupa de Habas | Mexican Fava Bean Soup with Saffron

Recently we made a Mexican dried fava bean soup, full of chilli, garlic and herbs, and very delicious. Today’s Fava Bean soup, also from Mexico, is full of garlic, chilli, cumin and saffron, and really is very good. I think it has become my second favourite fava bean soup. We have a larder full of all sorts of dried broad beans this year, so it definitely will be a broad bean Winter!

The secret of this soup is a recado – a flavoursome and aromatic puree of tomatoes, garlic and onions that is fried off and used as a soup base.

Fava bean soups generally fall into two categories – the style that features the texture and flavour of the beans, and the style that uses the creaminess of the beans as a base for other flavours. Both are wonderful winter soups, and the Mexican style falls into the last category.

Similar dishes include Fava Bean Soup with Roast Garlic, Mint and Coriander, Fava Bean Soup with Potatoes, Fava Bean Soup or Dip with Herbs, and Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs.

Browse all of our Fava Bean dishes, and all of our Soups. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250m

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Potage Crème de Tomates et de Pommes de Terre | Cream of Tomato and Potato Soup with Leeks

Today we have one of Elizabeth David’s Divine Dishes, a Retro Recipe – one we have been making for decades. It is a Soup for late Summer and Early Autumn through to Winter (tip – freeze tomatoes in Autumn so that you can make this soup in Winter).

This is so simple, cheap but flavoursome, and quite beautiful. Elizabeth David claims that you can taste the butter, the cream and each vegetable. You can!

Similar recipes include Sweet and Sour Leeks with Burrata, Creamy Tomato Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger, Roasted Tomato and Sweet Corn Soup, and Rustic Tomato Soup with Feta.

Browse our our Soup recipes and our French recipes. We have various Potato Soups and Tomato Soups. Or just explore our Late Autumn Dishes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can explore more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

Continue reading “Potage Crème de Tomates et de Pommes de Terre | Cream of Tomato and Potato Soup with Leeks”

Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu

Talk about a meal in a bowl, Laksa is the bomb. Anyone who has been to S.E. Asia will have had this dish in street stalls, fragrant, hot, and spicy. The good news is, it is not so hard to make at home. Perhaps some of the optional additions that are available in roadside stalls are not common in other countries, but you can replicate the fragrance and spiciness of the dish.

In this recipe, a spice paste is made by blending the ingredients then cooking it off slowly before adding stock and other flavour enhancing ingredients. This beautiful broth is served with noodles, sprouts, herbs and other toppings.

This recipe is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Malay Coconut-Curry Stock (another excellent base for Laksa), and Asian Broth.

Browse all of our S.E. Asian recipes and all of our Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Turnip Soup with Yoghurt and Coriander-Walnut Paste

Out of Afghan comes a soup with Turnips – in fact turnips feature strongly throughout the Middle East around to Afghanistan. This recipe cooks the turnips with spices and leeks and serves it as a creamy soup accompanied with a paste of coriander, chillies, garlic and walnuts. Turnips when cooked are so gentle. They are definitely an under-rated vegetable here in Australia.

The coriander paste in this recipe includes vinegar, and the tang of the acid with the sweetness of the turnips is delightful.

Similar recipes include Turnips with Quince Molasses, Turnips with Mustard Greens in a Creamy Sauce, Cream of Roasted Swede Soup, Radish with Coconut Milk, Georgian Coriander and Walnut Paste, and Zhug.

Browse all of our Turnip dishes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Broth and Dipping Sauce for Japanese Noodles and Tofu

We don’t often make bowls of noodles, but really, I don’t know why. This broth (or dipping sauce) is delicious. Topped with fresh greens, mushrooms, spring onions, the noodles are far too good to ignore. Although we used Japanese noodles for today’s dish, we used Chinese Spinach as our greens, along with cute little pieces of yuba (dried beancurd) tied in knots. I know that you will enjoy this dish.

Use this broth or dipping sauce for any noodle dish or tofu dish, or for anything else that you would like to use a broth or dipping sauce with. Kept fairly thick, it makes a great dressing too, for Asian style salads.

Japanese Noodles are served cold in summer and hot otherwise, in a broth or with a dipping sauce. The broth or dipping sauce can be made up to a week before use. We make our own vegetarian dashi (stock) for the sauce with handful of dried mushrooms, some dried seaweed and light miso paste.

Similar recipes include Miso and Tahini Sauce, Spread and Dressing, Soy and Sesame Dipping Sauce, and Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce.

Are you looking for other Noodle recipes? Have a look at the wealth of noodles available. Try Persian Noodles with Eggplant, Saffron and KashkKitsu Udon.

You might also like our to explore our Dipping Sauces, Noodle recipes and  Japanese dishes. Or check out our collection of Late Spring recipes.

This recipe is from our Retro Recipes series, vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006. It is a recipe we still use often, when we feel in a noodle mood.

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Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup

Recently in the kitchen we have renewed our love affair with miso soup. While others will tell you to spend time making stocks and broths for miso soup, and cook any number of ingredients, I have a wonderful, never-fail, 5 minute approach to making miso soup. The secret is, there is little that needs to be pre-cooked for miso soup. The most I do is to soak some cute little beancurd bows (but even the pre-soaking can be skipped), and perhaps some noodles. They soak while the kettle boils and the ingredients are sliced. Mix miso with hot water until dissolved, pour into a lovely bowl, add the thinly sliced ingredients and a few other flavour enhancers (see my post), the noodles if using, the beancurd perhaps, and sip contentedly. Deep flavours, comfort and nourishment. What more could you want?

Ottolenghi’s approach to what I consider to be his version of my miso soup (without using miso, let me be clear). Yet his is faaaar more complicated. It is a kitchen-sink style approach. Perhaps he should use miso! He considers this recipe to be a variation on Asian soups such as Thai tom yum or Vietnamese pho. The key is the stock, which must be rich and hearty, with many layers of flavour. And, miso or not, the broth is extraordinary! Hot and sour as promised. Earthy and deep, yet with a lightness too. It was a real surprise.  Make double and freeze half.

He doesn’t add noodles, but you can. I recommend making double the amount of broth, make the mushroom soup as-is, then decide how to use the second half with the noodles. Mushrooms and noodles. Greens and noodles. Fried tofu and noodles.

It’s interesting to me that he doesn’t include dried shiitake mushrooms in the stock (and sliced for the soup). Dried Shiitake are a vegetarian’s best friend when it comes to dark, flavoursome broths. Anyway, this is how I make an Asian Stock that is so delicious it is worth keeping some in the fridge and freezer, and using it for whatever you are making – rice, risotto, noodles, …. Ottolenghi’s is rather similar, come to think of it. But my broth is light and summery, his is deep and earthy.

You’ve guessed it, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More. In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Mushrooms in Terracotta, Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu, and Slightly Pickled Mushrooms with Tamari and Sesame.

Browse all of our Soups and all of our Mushroom recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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A Collection of 20 Soups for Mid Autumn | Seasonal Cooking

The weather suddenly turns cold around the middle of Mid Autumn, whether that is April in the Southern Hemisphere or October in the Northern Hemisphere. Rain sets in heating is turned on, jackets and raincoats come out of the closet. Scarves, gloves and hats are at the ready.

In the kitchen, citrus fruit is beginning to ripen, root vegetables take pride of place, and lentils and beans begin to appear on the table again. We bake, because the oven warms the kitchen. And hot soups and broths again appear, to bubble away on the stove top.

Enjoy our 20 Soup Suggestions for this month that heralds the colder weather to come.

Continue reading “A Collection of 20 Soups for Mid Autumn | Seasonal Cooking”

Thai Inspired Red Lentil Soup with Aromatic Chilli Oil

When Autumn arrives, the first thing I make is Rice Pudding. For Ottolenghi it is this Thai inspired soup that he makes when the arrival of autumn is officially announced. And what a way to celebrate Autumn! It is fresh, creamy and loaded with flavour. Great choice, Ottolenghi!

Making this soup with split red lentils (masoor dal) will give you a brighter coloured, but it can also be made with whole red lentils. The recipe does not specify which one. Whole lentils provide a deeper flavour and darker colour, and they won’t blend to as smooth a soup, but are just as fine to use if you prefer to. I have made today’s soup with whole lentils.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More. It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Red Lentil Soup with Thick Yoghurt, Red Lentil Soup with Spices, Ginger and Garlic, and Masoor Dal with Green Peppers.

Browse all of our Red Lentil dishes and all of our Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Thai Inspired Red Lentil Soup with Aromatic Chilli Oil”

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Who doesn’t have a love for mushrooms, so divine and surprising in taste and texture? Mushroom soup is especially good, creamy and buttery, and it’s even better on a cold night. Nothing beats it.

Come Mid Autumn, that longing for more warming dishes arrives all of a sudden. One day you are eating cucumber salads and the next day it is rice pudding, risotto and soup. You look outside and the delicious yellow light of Autumn has arrived, bringing its long shadow and the rays of light that play amongst gaps and in-between leaves. And all of a sudden your pantry fills with barley and beans and lentils. Ah yes, Summer is well gone, and Winter cometh. Here we are, twixt and between.

And it is so good. This is one of our first soups of the season this year, and it is this retro recipe, still good in it’s simplicity. Let’s face it though, mushroom soup is never pretty in its brown-ness. So don’t forget to brighten it up with lots of chopped parsley and sprinklings of black pepper.

Are you looking for Mushroom recipes? Try Hot and Sour Soup, Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad, Mushrooms for Toast, Adzuki Beans with Rice and Shiitake Mushrooms.

Or are you seeking some Soup dishes? Try Turnip Soup with Yoghurt and Coriander-Walnut Paste, White Bean Soup, Hungarian Mushroom Soup, Mung Bean Soup with Spinach and Cumin, and Cauliflower Walnut Cream Soup.

Why not browse all of our Mushroom recipes? Or or all of our Soup recipes. Or check out our easy Mid Autumn recipes.

Also, explore recipes from our Retro Recipes series, vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.

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Chickpea and Butter Bean Noodle Soup | Ash-e Reshteh

This dish is a fabulous, heart warming and thick soup from the Middle East – it seems like it is an Iranian echo of Minestrone or perhaps of the noodle soup your mother served you as a child when you were poorly. In Iran it is called ash-e reshteh, and it is the sort of soup that makes you feel happy, wholesome and nourished, all at the same time.

You might find resteh noodles at a Middle Eastern grocery, but if not, use linguine or Asian flat noodles. Japanese noodles will work too. In fact the noodles can even be left out and the soup will still be deliciously amazing.

Make sure that you purchase the type of reshteh noodles that are specifically for soup – there is another variety that has been toasted for use in rice dishes. My local Afghan grocery has the soup noodles called Pottage Macaroni even though they are long noodles rather than the short tubes we usually think of as macaroni. The instructions for cooking are cute. It directs you to:

Add the content of package to the stuff of cooking and boiling pottage. After nearly 10 mins of your favourite time, eat the prepared pottage.

Another alternative is to make your own noodles. They are made from a wheat flour dough without eggs, and cut flat and not very wide.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty More. It combines chickpeas, lima (butter) beans and yellow split peas with noodles, herbs and spices for a filling, interesting soup that even has an aroma of the Middle East. In fact this soup can be made with a variety of lentils and legumes – red kidney beans are very common.

Today it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Hot and Sour Soup, Baked Lima Beans with Celery, Spicy Chickpea and Burghul Soup, Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Zaatar, Dried Fava Bean Soup, and Parsnip and Barley Soup.

Browse all of our Soups, Noodle Dishes, Chickpea Dishes and Butter Bean Dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Chickpea and Butter Bean Noodle Soup | Ash-e Reshteh”

Spicy Chickpea and Bulgar Soup

A friend and I recently hit the local Greek Warehouse and then the Central Market in Adelaide, and I found myself stocking up on Wintery food – lots of dried beans, lentils and grains, different flours, Greek herbs, and some new baking trays. It is a fairly subconscious thing that we do, change our diet as the seasons change. At this time our body starts to crave soups, salads with beans and lentils, and rice puddings. Baked dishes. Gratineed vegetables. Bulghar (Burgul) dishes. Slow cooked food a la Grecque. Ah the joys of Winter in the kitchen.

So overnight some chickpeas are cooked in the slow cooker. I find that the best ways to cook them is to slow cook them, unsoaked, for 9 hours, and they are perfect for any dish.

This recipe is one from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. It is one that has done the rounds in various publications and Ottolenghi modifies it slightly each time. In the book, he pairs it with a feta-creme fraiche paste, and elsewhere he replaces it with coriander oil, or salbitxada – a sharp and lightly sweet Catalan sauce. I’ve included all options here, so choose one that suits your mood or the weather. One option is to make a huge pot of soup, and serve with feta-creme fraiche paste one day and with salbitxada the next. The soup does need a little something stirred into it at the end, to liven it. Use lemon juice if you don’t have the time to make the paste or the sauce.

This recipe is a mid-week Soup, substantial enough to be eaten with heaps of flatbread and a green salad. It is hearty and comforting. The flavour improves even more if you allow it to stand for a few hours. Ottolenghi says it feeds four, but I say it will feed 6 or 8, depending on the hunger levels.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have made in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Chickpea, Lima Bean and Noodle SoupRoasted Cauliflower Soup, Dried Fava Bean Soup, and Barley and Vegetable Soup.

Browse all of our Soups, all of our Chickpea recipes, and all of our Burghul dishes. We have other Chickpea Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Spicy Chickpea and Bulgar Soup”