Soda Bread – A Quickie Accompaniment to Any Soup!

img_7840-2I have never been much of a baker, but over the last few months I have watched many  episodes of the Great British Bake show on Netflix and oh my!, what a delight! The best ever bake show on TV – EVER. I am totally inspired to bake crackers, breads, rolls and more. Paul Hollywood is the host of the show and he has a superb baking book out, which my husband picked up from our local library. Library I said? Yes, who knew that our local library had all the latest and greatest cookbooks! For the last 6 months or so we have been borrowing a few cookbooks each month and trying a lot of new recipes! What a great way to expand your knowledge on cooking and save money at the same time!

So I decided to start very simple, and make the easiest bread ever. Paul’s Soda Bread can be made while your soup is simmering on the stovetop. No proofing, no kneading, nada. Just mix the dry ingredients with the buttermilk and roll it out quickly in a ball and bake – voila!


The Verdict of Paul’s Soda Bread

This soda bread is really good for a fast and easy bread. The taste really reminded me of what my mother use to make as biscuit sized buns – I think she used milk with vinegar instead of buttermilk though. This Soda Bread is really dense and great with a slab of butter. If you are looking for a fluffy bread to soak up soup – you need to look further though. That being said, this bread would be perfect with a stew or chile if you wanted to scoop yummy morsels on your bread.

Next time, I would personally make this batch into 8 buns (instead of one big loaf) because I really love how the crust is nice and hard – I want more surface crust! This is a perfect bread to mix up in 10 minutes and bake for 30 minutes…leaving 5 minutes to cool before digging in to have with my hot bowl of veggie soup.

For this recipe, Paul recommends adding fun ingredients like cheddar cheese or olives. I think next time, I am going to take his suggestion and try a white goat cheddar with chives and make smaller rolls. Can’t wait to make it again!

BTW – The next morning I heated a few pieces and slathered butter and a nice strawberry jam for breakfast – it was a perfect breakfast with coffee!


  • 4 cups plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 2/3 cups buttermilk


  • Heat oven to 390 F and line a baking tray with baking parchment or silicone paper.
  • Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well, then stir in the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Tip the dough onoto a lightly floured surface and shape it quickly into a ball. Flatten the ball a little with your hand.
  • Put the dough on the baking tray. Mark it into quarters, cutting deeply through the bread, almost but not quite through the base. Dust with a little flour.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the loaf is cooked through – it should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Leave it to cool on a wire rack. Soda bread is best eaten within a day of baking. It freezes well.

I found another version of this recipe online where Paul recommends two types of flours, you can find it here.

Pecan Mexican Inspired Soup With Corn As A Party Crasher!


I am always on a hunt for unique soup recipes and this is one. While I was housesitting in San Jose looking after a loving adorable cat named Sylve back in March, I had the opportunity to peruse a wonderful Mexican Cookbook with her snuggled up to me.

Above: Awe, Sylvie is so cute!

Pecans, leeks and tomatos…sounded very interesting especially so with a smokey chile.

The Verdict:

This soup seemed creamy to me even before I added the cashew cream! Must have been the cashews meets leaks pureed. I used two chipotle chiles that were in adobe sauce and it had a nice spicey bite. The soup is very earthy and warm to my tummy.  It would be a perfect starter to a Mexican Fiesta dinner. The original recipe did not call for corn, but I added it at the very last minute (after the puree part) because both myself and my husband thought the end product needed some nice morsels after our first spoonfuls. We are not both fans of a soup that is 100% pureed. I was making vegetarian tacos with corn and zuchinni so at the very last minute I threw in corn into our bowls and voila – it finished the soup off perfectly! What an inpromtu adjustment can do to a dish! Love this soup now and would not make it without the corn.

Also, for the next time I make this soup, I am going to modify it 100% to Vegan, since I substituted cream for cashew cream – I was already half way there. So the next time, I am going to use olive oil instead of butter.


Note: Picture above is missing a cup of corn, which I added in at the end.

Ingredients (serves six) :

  • 2 tbsp butter (sub with olive oil if you want a vegan version)
  • 1 leek, white part only , sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 dried chipotle or other smoked chilies ( I used two chipotles that were in Adobo Sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 clove (I used 3 cloves, just because I love cloves)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled , seeded and finely chopped
  • 8 3/4 veggie stock ( I used only 7 cups of stock, it seemed like if I was to use 8.75, it would have been too watery for myself)
  • 1 cup cashew cream (This is made with blending cashews, lemon, water, olive oil and garlic in a vitamix blender)
  • pinch grated nutmeg
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of corn (This was added in at the last minute and not n the picture above)

To Garnish:

  • 18 pecans , roasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped


Who would guess that these ingredients above would be the base of a soup? :)


  1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Add the leek and celery and cook, stirring gently, for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the pecans, chiles, sugar, clove, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and tomatoes and continue stirring gently until fragrant.
  3. Add the stock and continue to stir gently until the mixture comes to a boil. SImmer for 20 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Pour the mixture into a food processor until smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into a clean pan and set over low heat, stirring gently until warmed through.
  6. Add the cream and corn  and simmer, stirring constantly for another 5 minutes, then stir in the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediatly with toasted pecans and sprinkled with parsely


Above: Simmer for 20 minutes.


Above: This is what the soup looks like after pureed and before adding in the cashew cream – looks creamy without the cream at that point!

The original recipe is from: Mexico The Cookbook, by Margarita Carrillo Arronte


What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Substituted cream with cashew cream
  • Added corn
  • Used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Also only used 7 cups
  • Will use olive oil in future instead of butter.
Soup Mistress Rating For Pecan Corn Soup:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5) fourheart
Presentation: (4.25/5 )
Taste: (4.25/5) 

Clint Would Bring Out A Smoking Gun Out For This Vegan Chipotle Corn Chowder

Ohhh Vegan Corn Chowder I love you so. You are a beautiful filling and thick vegan cream-based soup, a great vegetarian alternative to clam chowder.

I’ve been meaning to make a soup with these beautiful yellow niblets for sometime as we had a bag of frozen ones in our freezer. I was skeptic that frozen corn wouldn’t be as tasty as fresh organic corn, but I was so VERY wrong to do so!

The Verdict of Vegan Chipotle Corn Chowder

Well, lets just say that this soup is a match made in heaven when treated with a smoking gun. It’s begging for some smoke and mimicking Clint Eastwood saying “Go ahead make my day”.  Don’t get me wrong, this soup is a superstar without the smoking process, but the it adds a manly smokiness leaving you begging for seconds. If you don’t have a smoking gun, your second best tactic is to use a few drops of liquid smoke, usually packaged in a little glass bottle found in most grocery or gourmet food stores.


What I love about this soup is that it is nice and creamy. Using cashews with the almond milk is a perfect touch and one may guess that there is a bit of cream in this soup and not a vegan soup. Oh ya, make sure you keep a reserve of corn and bright red pepper morsels on the side to add as a garnish in the end!!

Vegan Chipotle Corn Chowder Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 parsnip, shredded
  • 1 yukon gold potato, chopped fine
  • 1 red pepper, chopped fine (reserve some for garnish)
  • 2 cup veggie broth
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag frozen corn (reserve some for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dired oregano
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 2 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro (chopped fine)

 Vegan Chipotle Corn Chowder Instructions

  1. Heat oil, sauté onion and garlic until soft on medium
  2. Add parsnip and potato, sauté for about 3-55 minutes more.
  3. Add corn, salt and pepper
  4. Add in broth
  5. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer
  6. Add oregano, almond milk, and simmer 10 – 15 minutes (or until your potatoes are tender
  7. While the soup is simmering add the cashews and chipotle with 2 cups of the soup and puree in blender. If using a smoking gun, add the hose in while you are blending the soup for best smoking.
  8. Stir mixture back into the soup. Add lemon juice. Add in red pepper (remember, keep some for garnish).
  9. Heat back up
  10. Optional: give the soup another punch of the smoing gun here if you wish (with lid on of course).
  11. Serve in bowls.
  12. Garnish with reserved red pepper, corn and cilantro
  13. Bam, enjoy!

Original recipe. I combined ideas form the following two recipes:

What I changed from the original recipe(s):

  • I did not use celery nor carrot
  • I used a parsnip instead of the carrot, and I shredded it into of fine chopped.
  • I used almond milk and not coconut milk
  • I used cilantro instead of chives
  • I used oregano instead of coriander
  • I used lemon instead of red sherry vinegar, and more of it. I seem to favor lemon juice most of the time to give a punch to soups to lift the taste.
Soup Mistress Rating For Vegan Chipotle Corn Chowder Soup:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4/5 )
Taste: (4.7/5) 

Doenjang Guk – A Korean Vegetarian Delightful Meal in a Bowl

I have to say that I am really enjoying finding recipes that go well with Kimchi as a sidekick (Kimchi is one of our favorite homemade staples in the house lately). Back in early December, I made a Kimchi Soup and it was oh so creamy and spicy delight!

Why not try something different and keep Korean? So this afternoon I was searching for another Korean Vegetarian soup contender to make and this recipe fancied me particularly because we had a few zucchini’s already in the fridge as well as the Korean Bean paste.

Hmm, interesting. During my journey learning about Korean cuisine, I learned a good differentiation from soups versus stews:

  • Doenjang Guk – means Korean Bean Paste Soup (more liquid is used than the stew below), Guk = soup.
  • Doenjang Jjigae  – means Korean Bean Paste Stew (just use less liquid), Jjigae = stew

Who knew…good to know. I am going to watch the terminology being used whenever I eat out at a Korean Restaurant!

The Verdict of Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup: 

Korean cuisine is truly impressing me, especially so in the soup department. This recipe is so easy and one would think that the soup base simmered for a long time and/or have had a ton of labour behind it because of its rich beautiful creamy and deep base. No not so. With the zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, tofu and onion, it is such a healthy soup. The shiitake mushrooms definitely added another deep meaty level to the soup and also the base itself. I would not use nothing but shiitake mushrooms. Add in the Kimchi and an optional 7 minute egg and you have a meal!

More soup? Yes please? Give me more…I love this Korean Bean Paste Soup. Deep base, spicy goodness and the zucchini are so flavorful and filling.


Missing from picture above: Kimchi and eggs in which I added in at the end!

Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup Ingredients:

  • 4 small zucchini, peeled, thinly sliced and cut into quarter circles
  • 1 packet (50g, 1.8 ounces) shiitake mushrooms – thinly sliced.
  • 1 medium yellow onion – diced.
  • 250g  (8.8 ounces) Korean tofu – medium firm – diced or cut into small rectangular pieces
  • 5 cups vegetable broth

Soup seasoning sauce (mix these well in a small bow):

  • 6 Tbsp Korean soybean paste (Doenjang)
  • 2 tsp Korean chili paste (Gochujang)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp anchovies, minced
  • 2 tablespoon seaweed
  • 1 cup hot water
  • green onion, sliced very thin the long way
  • kimchi
  • seven minute boiled eggs

Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients for soup seasoning in a bowl with 1 cup of hot water.
  • Heat olive oil up in pot,
  • Sauté zucchini and the onion for 3 minutes on med high heat. Add in soup seasoning and 5 cups of veggie stock.
  • Add the tofu and boil for a further 1 to 2 mins.
  • Add the shiitake mushroom and and boil for last the 1 to 2 mins.
  • Turn the heat off and serve.
  • Serve with green onion thinly sliced, a big spoonful of Kimchi and a 7 minute runny egg. Enjoy the meal!
Inspired By This Original Recipe:

What I changed from the original recipe:

  • Omitted enoki mushrooms.
  • Revised amounts to make 2x more soup base.
  • Added green onions as garnish.
  • Used 1 tsp anchovies.
  • Used mara seaweed instead of kelp.
  • Used veggie broth instead of water.
  • Added Kimchi as garnish
  • Added 7 minute boiled egg as garnish
Soup Mistress Rating For Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4.5/5 )
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup With Chilli Oil – Great Warm Up For New Year Resolutions!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2016! Let’s make it a souptastic year!

After the holidays drinking and eating naughty, New Years is a proper time again to start thinking about feeding our bodies warm and healthy soups. I love healthy soups and I am hoping to make more this year so that they will keep me fueled for my biggest goal for 2016 – my very first ever triathlon in May. Just the other day, I was sifting through Jamie Oliver’s Recipe Yearbook and this Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup with Chilli Oil  caught my attention. I love many of Jamie’s recipes because he seems to use a fair bit of Indian inspired spices and root vegetables  – and who doesn’t love parsnips?

The Verdict of Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup with Chilli Oil

I love the garlic chilli oil with this warm spicy and filling lentil soup – it definitely adds a nice layer and it looks oh so pretty! The fresh mint with the Masala spices really play together very well. I am surprised how filling this soup is – it must be the meaty red lentils. The soup is comforting and fulfilling. But, there is always room for improvement. If I was to make this soup again in the future,  I would fry a lot more garlic pieces separately and add with them with oil as the garnish. I personally like having some chunks of goodness as I think it gets a tad boring with smooth puree soups. You need to add multiple levels of goodness!

Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup with Chilli Oil Ingredients:
Serves 4 -6
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 400g parsnips, scrubbed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoon Garam Masala
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 250g red lentils
  • 1.6 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely shredded to serve

Chill Oil:

  • 3 Tablespoon oil
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic, finely sliced
Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup with Chilli Oil Instructions:
  • To make the chili oil, place the oil in a small pan over a very low heat. Add the chillies and garlic and warm through for 5 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t brown. Set aside to steep while making the soup.  The oil can be strained before using or left as is, depending how you like it.
  • For the soup, head the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion. Cook gently, stirring often, for 5 minutes then add the parsnips, masala and ginger and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the lentils and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are nice and soft.
  • Puree the soup until smooth in blender or with hand immersion wand, being careful with the hot liquid.
  • Serve the soup with the chills oil and mint.
Original Recipe: Jamie Oliver’s Recipe Yearbook, Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup With Chilli Oil.
What I changed from original recipe:
  • I did not use hamhock as I wanted a veggie version
  • I substituted rogan josh paste with garam masala dried spice
  • I omitted yogurt as a garnish
  • I substituted groundnut oil with olive oil for the chilli oil.
Soup Mistress Rating For Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup with Chilli Oil:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4.5/5 )
Taste: (3.75/5) 

Kimchi Soup – A Soup Way Too Creamy Spicy Good to Be Rationed For!

Kimchi, Kimchi, Kimchi…oh I love you by yourself, I love you in fried rice and now you are a shining star swimming around in my soup clay pot!

I’ve been meaning too make this soup since I had it a year and half ago in Singapore. And I am a very lucky gal to be using a fresh batch of my husbands homemade Kimchi in this soup this week. Did you know that back in the day in Korea, Kimchi was normally made to last the long winter months and sometimes used in soups when it is older and perhaps stale (if it can get stale)? Hmmn, interesting, we cannot seem to ration ours well – it disappears magically so fast!

So what is in my husbands Kimchi? It is fermented Napa cabbage, daikon radish, green onions, garlic, ginger and a red chile pepper spice, fish and Korean salted shrimps. I will update this blog post with the link to the recipe he used, which I will be post up shortly. My husband has made 3 batches to date and it seems to be a hot staple in our household.

Now let’s talk about the soup….I followed one particular recipe and adjusted/added some ingredients from other recipes I researched. I am very happy that I took the time to to research many other recipes because the bean paste made it a delight along with the egg.

The Verdict of Kimchi Soup:

I am so happy that I used an egg and added the bean paste. I truly think that is what sets it apart from a so-so kimchi soup to a marvelous creamy spicy goodness. I tried the soup before the egg was stirred in and it was good, but after the egg was stirred in it was very creamy…oh such a creamy spicy delight!

Oh and I love napa cabbage and the red pepper!

But wait , the soup party fun really happens when you have a small bowl of rice on the side. Dip your spoon in and get some of those little white party morsels and give them a quick dip in the soup. More rice please? Yessum.

And finally, I made it a truly authentic experience. I had these authentic Korean clay pots and I broke them in on the stove top for the very first time ever. Serving up the soup and heating the clay pots up until the soup bubbles and drop that key gooey creamy egg in. Be careful and serve the bowl bubbling hot to your hungry mates with an oven mitt and placeholder underneath though!

Kimchi Soup Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 clove garlic garlic, finely chopped
  • 1  teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz. package silken tofu, cut into 1” pieces
  • 4 cups gently squeezed cabbage kimchi, chopped, plus 1 cup liquid
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 2 teaspoons doengjang (Korean bean paste)
  • 6 cups veggie stock
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 8 scallions, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari (or reduced-sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 large bowl of cooked rice

Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • Shredded scallions (green onion) – Tip: Slice them very thin lengthwise and drop them in a bowl of cold water and watch them curl up all pretty!

Kimchi Soup Instructions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat, carefully add tofu, and simmer gently until slightly puffed and firmed up, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tofu to a medium bowl.
  • Heat butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. saute yellow onion, garlic and ginger. Add kimchi and gochujang and  gochujang and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 5–8 minutes. Add kimchi liquid and 6 cups veggie stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until kimchi is softened and translucent, 35–40 minutes.
  • Add scallions, tamari, fish sauce and tofu; simmer gently until tofu has absorbed flavors, 20–25 minutes (tofu will fall apart a little). Add sesame oil; season with salt and pepper.
  • If you have Korean Hot Pots like I have, ladle soups into them on the stove top. Heat until soft boil and top each with an egg yolk (soft egg), shredded green oinions and sesame seeds.
  • Carfeully serve dish with pot holders.
  • Serve with steamed white or brown rice

Original Recipe:

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • I added garlic, ginger, yellow onion, and fish sauce
  • I used vegetable stock instead of water – to give it more depth
  • I added Korean bean paste
  • I used butter instead of veggie stock, I wanted an extra creaminess.
Soup Mistress Rating ForMiso Soup With Green Chard and Mushrooms:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4.5/5 )
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Parmesan Rosemary Crackers a Perfect Accompaniment For Tomato Soup

Over two weeks ago I was watching an older episode of the Great British Bake Off and it had the contestants making biscuits and crackers. They did a superb job of different crackers and it encouraged me to try some myself at home. It seemed easy enough for myself.

I tried making crackers on two attempts int he last week. The first recipe was fairly good, but I felt that I needed to tweak the original recipe. So on the second attempt I added a tad more salt as well as parmesan and dried rosemary into the dry mix.

And wow, these crackers are mighty fine I must say. They are keepers. The only thing I think that may be a challenge for anyone (and for myself) is trying to get every single cracker the same thinness. I guess practice will make perfect!

So tonight I made my Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup and had my crackers to dip into the yummy goodness! It’s been a long time since I had crackers and soup, it reminded me when I was a child! Yum, more crackers please!

I think I may try rolling the dough through my pasta maker in the future to see if I can get the thinness the same.

Parmesan Rosemary Crackers Ingrediants:

  • 1.5 cups flour (¾ cup white flour and ¾ cup whole wheat flour)
  • ¾ cup parmesan (shredded)
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Parmesan Rosemary Crackers Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 425°F: Place rack in the middle of oven.
  2. Line baking sheet with bakers parchment paper or dust a pan lightly with flour.
  3. Add shredded cheese, flour, sugar, and salt  into food processor, and pulse until it  resembles course cornmeal.
  4. Transfer dry ingrediants to a mixing bowl.
  5. Add the oil and water to the flour mixture.
  6. Mix the oil and water into the flour.
  7. Stir until a soft, sticky dough is formed. Add additional water one teaspoon at a time if necessary to incorporate all the flour.
  8. Divide the dough in half. Dust your work surface lightly with flour and set the other half on top. Pat it into a thick square with your hands.
  9. Roll out the dough into a rectangle roughly 1/8-inch thick or thinner. I like to try and do it to about 1/16. You can use wax paper on top and bottom to make the rolling easier.
  10. Cut the dough into rounds with cutter. Keep the extra dough to re-roll. or twirl into breadsticks.
  11. Optional: brush the top of the dough with water and sprinkle with seeds or other toppings or additional salt.
  12. Transfer the crackers to baking sheet using a metal pastry scraper or spatula. It’s fine to crowd the crackers close together.
  13. Prick each cracker with the tines of a fork or a skewer to prevent puffing during baking.
  14. Bake the crackers for 10-12 minutes, until they are all browned around the edges. Thinner ones will cook faster. While this batch is baking, roll and cut the second batch. I like to use Alton Browns tip to flip the cracker midway to even out the browning…perhaps at the 5 minute mark.
  15. Cool and enjoy with a soup!!

I did research on crackers and revised this recipe and tips from a few sources. I tried one recipe first and tweaked this one to include rosemary in the mix and I also doubled the salt and lowered the oven temperature as the cheese seems to burn more at 450.

White Miso Soup with Green Chard and Mushrooms – A Heart Warmer And Tease

Feeling like some Japanese soup to warm up? Yeppers, I do, especially today in Vegas because winds are gusting up to 35 mph and the wind is chilly. I did the Rock N Roll half Marathon last night, which was just as windy and I still seem chilled to the bone.

I’ve been meaning to make a Miso soup with some greens for some time now. I had this wonderful White Miso Paste that was tasty just by itself and I have used it a few times in salad dressings and oh so yummy. So I searched on the web to get ideas on alternative vegetable miso soup recipes, and one recipe particularly gave me the idea to add in Green Chard. I love Green Chard – I think I inherited the linking from my mother as she liked to sauté it up as well as beet tops and spinach when I was growing up. Also I felt like adding in some Shitake mushrooms as they are my favorite mushrooms.

The Verdict with Miso Soup With Green Chard and Mushrooms:

This was a very tasty yet very light soup. I was fulfilled mostly and love the white MIso Paste, but I wished that I doubled the Shitake mushrooms. I wanted more solids in my soup. Also I think I will double the seaweed pieces as well next time. I also loved the taste and more so texture of the Dulse Seaweed flakes when I added more in my soup as a garnish.

I would also add maybe a tablespoon or two of Red Miso paste in the future with the White Miso paste to give it a deeper and hearty soup base. The White MIso is perfect for salad dressings but needed a heartier lift. It was teasing me and left me a little unfulfilled as a Soup Lover.

You can read this blog post to get a breakdown of the different kinds of Miso pastes if you are interested in the topic:

Miso Soup With Green Chard and Mushrooms Ingredients:

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped green chard
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/3 cup firm tofu, cubed
  • 4 Tbsp white miso paste (fermented soy bean paste)
  • 1 -2 Tbsp red miso paste (I did not have this in my soup, but I think it needs it next time for a heartier base)
  • 1 sheet (1/4 cup) nori (dried seaweed), cut into thin long pieces
  • Dulse Seeweed Flakes

Miso Soup With Green Chard and Mushrooms Instructions:

  • Saute mushrooms in some sesame oil until tender crisp.
  • Place water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • In the meantime, place 4 Tbsp of miso into a small bowl, add a little hot water and whisk until smooth. Then add to the soup and stir. This will ensure it doesn’t clump.
  • Add nori, green chard, green onion, tofu  to the pot . Lower heat to med/low simmers for another 5 mnutes (until chard is nicely wilted). Taste and add more miso or a pinch of sea salt if desired.
  • Ladle in bowls.
  • Sprinkle with seaweed flakes
  • Serve warm.

Original Recipe:

What I changed from original recipe:

  • Added shitake mushrooms
  • Added a tad more tofu
  • Added Dulse Seaweed flakes
  • Added a cup more of water 

Soup Mistress Rating ForMiso Soup With Green Chard and Mushrooms:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (3/5 )
Taste: (3.5/5) 

Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup – An Aromatic Revelation!

Just the other day, was my lucky day as I was being treated to a delicious Indian feast made by my hubby, Graeme. I knew that he went to a special Indian grocery store and was grinding up his own garam masala spices, but I did not know that he was going to make one of his best soups ever! When he started to heat up the spices for the soup, I was amazed at the aroma in our house – seriously good and the best I ever smelt. I felt like I have been transported somewhere in the world where I never have been…perhaps it was India. This recipe Graeme followed is one of Jamie Olivers. And now after the fact, I read the recipe in the book and Jamie mentioned in the introduction that the spices being used have amazing smells once you heat them up. Jamie was not joking at all.

The Verdict of Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup?

So how did the soup smell? OMG, so buttery and a very unique earthy smell that makes your tastebuds salivate on the spot. Never smelt aroma like it nor do I think I can ever guess what are the spices floating around in our abode. And then when my mouth had the liberty of the soup to swirl around, I experienced a very wonderful exotic, rich, earthy, and elegant dish. The white fish and rice with the spices also gave it a very delicate property as well. It seems to have many dimensions. One can also say that it is an Indian Risotto without the labour of all of the stirring.  The cod goes so well. and oh so buttery. I cannot stop saying buttery and there is no butter in this dish! My hips are thanking me on that part. Love the random curry leaves. And now we have this wonderful masala ground up for future dishes. By the time I reached my third spoonful of goodness, I told my husband that it was his best ever soup even though he has made some very scrumptious soups in the past.

The only thing I would change to this soup, is to put less rice or more water. The original recipe measurement for rice says “2 handfuls” and it can be quite relative to the person making the soup. When my husband made it, it was a tad too thick. Perhaps Jamie has smaller hands? :)

I sure hope Graeme makes this soup again in the future. This soup was a perfect accompaniment to the Onion Tomato Chutney and Cucumber Raita (made with cashew cream) with Papadums!

Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
  • a handful of fresh curry leaves, picked off stalks
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (or we ground up our own from:
    coriander, cumin, fennel, clove,clove leaf, nay leaves, black pepper, star anise, mace, black cardamon, cinnamon)
  • 1.5 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 3 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced.
  • 2 large thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of basmati rice
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1lb fish, skinned cod, filtered and cut into 2-3 inch chunks
  • 2 14oz cans of coconut milk
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • juice of 2 limes
  • a handful of fresh cilantro roughly chopped, keep some to garnish

Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup Instructions:

  • Heat oil up in a big pan, then add the mustard seeds, curry leafs, cumin seeds, garam masala, chili powder and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes and you’ll get the most amazing smells filling the room from all of these spices.
  • Then add the chillies, ginger, garlic and onions. Continue cooking slowly until the garlic and onions are soft.
  • The add the rice and water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  • Add your fish and the coconut milk with a pitch of salt. Put the lid on the pan and simmer for a further 10 minutes, then stir well to break up the pieces of fish.
  • Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper, then just before you serve it squeeze in the lime juice and stir in half the cilantro.
  • Ladle into warmed bowls, sprinkle a tad more of cilantro on top. Enjoy!

Source for Original Recipe:  Jamie’s Dinners, The Essential Family Cookbook. Jamie Oliver, Recipe: Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup, Page 153

What Was Changed From Original Recipe: Nothing really, my husband follows recipes pretty bang on. He went the extra mile and ground up his own garam masala

Soup Mistress Rating For Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5) 
Presentation: (3.75/5 )
Taste: (5/5) 

Not many soups will ever get a 5/5 for taste, but this one deserves it!

Vegetarian or Pescatarian Curry Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles

 Above is a Pescatarian version with grilled shrimp and eggplant that I made a month later – what a mighty fine addition indeed! Below is the vegetarian version:

So what is Laksa? Well, let me share with you on Wikipedia says:

Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Peranakan cuisine, which is a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine. Laksa consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup; either based on rich and spicy curry coconut milk, or based on sour asam (tamarind or gelugur). It can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Southern Thailand.

The Verdict of Vegetarian Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles:

Over a year ago, I was blessed with visiting Singapore, Malaysia for 5 weeks and had a chance to try a few Laksa soups to appreciate it from where it originated. All versions I tried had either chicken or seafood in it when I was there. I did not see any vegetarian versions. For my version below, I decided to make a vegetarian Laksa (with egg) and I really LOVED the result, taste and healthiness.

I am sold on this very authentic soup base recipe. If I closed my eyes and smelt the aroma of the soup I made, I truly felt like I was back in Asia!!

I had great fun making my version of the soup for two reasons:

  1. I had an opportunity to use my fancy spiralizr to replace rice noodles with healthy veggie zuchinni noodles. They worked very well.
  2. I attempted to make a perfectly soft-boiled egg to put in the soup and will be trying it in the future with a ramen version I am sure. It added a velvety goodness to the soup!

Laksa Paste Ingredients:

  • 4 red chilies (If you are using dried ones, you need to presoak them)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, chopped
  • 3 cm piece galangal, peeled, chopped
  • 5 cashew nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

Laksa Paste Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a food Processor. Process until finely chopped. Add oil. Process until a smooth paste forms.

Laksa Soup Ingredients:

  •  Laksa paste (above)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 6 cups veggie stock
  • 2½ tsp brown or raw sugar
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1.5 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1.5 cup tofu, cubed small to medium sized
  • 2½ cups bean sprouts
  • 3 cups fresh zucchini noodles, spiralized from whole zucchini
  • 1/2 pund shrimp (optional/added)
  • 1 cup diced eggplant (optional/added)

Garnish/Fixings Ingredients:

  • 2 soft boiled eggs (7 minute egg: boil water, softly immerse 2 cold eggs in boiling water, simmer water for exactly 7 minutes, immerse eggs in cold ice water bath, peel and slice the egg just right before placed in the bowls for serving)
  • Fried shallots (in peanut oil)
  • Fresh Thai Basil
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Lime wedges in quarters

Laksa Soup Instructions:

  • Optional: grill shrimp until almost cooked pink/white. Put aside on plate.
  • Heat peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add Laksa paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add stock and sugar. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer.
  • Add carrots, cabbage, and eggplant return to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Separately, in a frying pan, sauté the zucchini noodles for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to make them to soft and mushy. Divide these noodles among bowls for serving.
  • Add coconut milk, tofu and beansprouts. Stir gently to combine, then bring almost to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 minutes or until beansprouts are wilted and tofu are heated through.
  • Ladle Laksa soup among bowls. Drop in a few grilled shrimps (optional), scatter over fried shallots, basil leaves, Sriricha sauce, and lime wedges.

Original Soup Recipe:

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Added cabbage
  • Added carrots
  • Added soft boiled eggs
  • Omitted prawns, chicken and fish balls
  • Replaced chicken stock with vegetarian stock
  • Replaced thin rice noodles with zucchini noodles
  • Replaced tofu puffs with sprouted organic tofu
  • Replaced mint with basil for garnish

Soup Mistress Rating For Vegetarian Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4/5 )
Taste: (4.5/5)