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: http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-white-yel-79637

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: http://minimalistbaker.com/15-minute-miso-soup-with-greens-and-tofu/

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: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/malay-curry-laksa-laksa-lemak

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) 

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup – A Road Bikers Delight To End The Day With!

Just this last weekend, I was treated to a very nice soup.  After biking a 41 miler through Red Rock all the way to Blue Diamond and up the highway, Graeme (Soup Mister himself) decided to make us this very healthy Coconut Curry Lentil Soup. It was very healthy PLUS blog worthy to share. A true road bikers delight to end the day with!

The Verdict of Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

When Graeme said that he was going to make a very simple soup, it sounded like nothing special, but YUM YUM YUM, I was wrong! This soup was buttery without butter and very curry-delicious! I would lap this up again in a heartbeat *hint* *hint*!

This soup is very versatile as a soup or I’d even consider thickening it like a stew. Perhaps scooping papadums in the thicker version to pick up the buttery lentils and tomatoes. or put it over some nice white fluffy rice!

This soup was very good the next day, I had a spoonful right out of the fridge before heating up and it was awesome even cold! I wouldn’t change anything in the recipe.

Graeme used famous Vij’s Masala spice in the soup that I purchased up in Vancouver. Vij’s Restaurant is a must go to restaurant if you are ever in Vancouver, Canada.

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced (I think Graeme may have added a tad more)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (Graeme used Viji’s Masala spice (pic above))
  • ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups dry red lentils (Graeme used brownish/green lentils)
  • 2-3 handfuls of chopped kale or spinach (Oops, this was left off, perhaps next time we will add in)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: chopped cilantro (fresh coriander) and/or vegan sour cream (we used my homemade cashew cream)

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup Instructions:
  1. In a stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and stir-fry the onion, garlic and ginger until the onion is translucent, a couple minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, diced tomatoes and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are very tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Before serving, stir in the kale/spinach.
  5.  Ladle out in serving bowls.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and/or cashew cream.
  7. Enjoy!

Graeme followed this recipe here from Vegangela’s Blog (Funny just realized Angela is from my hometown Winnipeg as well – nice stuff Angela!): http://vegangela.com/2014/01/09/coconut-curry-lentil-soup/

Soup Mistress Rating For Black Bean Soup With A Myriad of Fixings:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.8/5
Presentation: (3.85/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Cooking up Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream at Sur La Table

Over a week and half ago I attended a cooking class with my girlfriend Dianne at Sur La Table Downtown Summerlin. The evenings class was “Winter Soups and Stews”. By the end of the evening we had a few wonderful warm bowls of goodness to try out, they were:

  • Maple-Braised Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme
  • Hearty Tuscan Beef and Red Wine Stew
  • Chicken and Herb Dumpling Soup
  • Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream
You can find a list of all Sur La Table cooking classes close to where you live here: http://www.surlatable.com/category/cat2211278/Cooking+Classes

The store has a decent kitchen setup, more so for demos, as you don’t really have a cooking prep kitchen to yourself. We had small chopping area and hot pots for cooking our soups. It did it’s purpose.

The Verdict of the Evenings Soups?

I don’t normally eat chicken nor red meat but I had a small taste of all of the soups & stews. If you are a meat eater the Tuscan Beef and Red Wine Stew was a hit by a few of the students that evening. I would  let it simmer way longer though so that the meat just melts in your mouth – it was a tad rubbery but the broth was buttery and beautifully rich with the red wine.

For myself, I LOVED the Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream (picture above)! It was my superstar of the evening and I took that as my soup to bring home. I love any kind of soup with new potatoes. The green chiles and tomatillas made the soup taste so fresh and delightful. It was just as good the second day, but I wished I had the chipotle cream as well as it was missing some punch it had the first I have tried it. Don’t skip the step for the cream on top.  This soup is very healthy outside of the cream, so in the future I would attempt to make the chipotle cream with cashews (lactose free option) or a lower fat option (like yogurt instead of sour cream).

Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large jalapeño chiles, trimmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried mexican oregano
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound new potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 6 large tomatillos, husks removed, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 pounds roasted and peeled green chiles, such as Anaheim and Poblano, or a mix
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Chipotle Cream Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sour cream (or yogurt or cashew cream)
  • 4 tsp chipotle peppers in Adobo, or to taste, minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream Instructions:
  1. Place olive oil in a large Dutch Oven and heat over medium heat
  2. Add onion, tomatillos and jalapeño, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle vegetables with flour and cook, stirring often, for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add broth and stir well. Taste the stew and season generously with sal and pepper.
  6. Add potatoes, beans and chiles. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover Dutch oven, and simmer until potatoes and tomatillos are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro into stew during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Chipotle Cream Instructions:
  1. Place sour cream (or yogurt or cashew cream) in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in chipotles and lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper, plus additional chipotle and lime juice as needed.
Serve stew in serving bowls. Top with dollop of chipotle cream and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Black Bean Soup Admiration to Myriad of Fixings!

Just the other day I was in Barnes and Noble skimming through some cookbooks and saw a black bean soup that inspired me to make for dinner. It was perfect because I was looking to make something simple that was healthy yet filling. I adjusted the original recipe a bit from what I remember ( i.e.. dried beans instead of water + canned beans instead of dried) and I added a few fun fixings!


The Verdict of Black Bean Soup

Well it seems as though this soup was well received by my special hungry tester. He loved it very much so. Kudos were given for all the fixings I provided to go with this soup that made it oh so yummy. This soup is one of the easiest soups to make with little more time invested if you fancy making the cashew cream and salsa fixings yourself (alternatively, just use bought salsa and sour cream)

Serving multiple fixings with this soup makes it feel like it is a Mexi-kind of meal! Give it a shot and make it your own!

Black Bean Soup Ingredients:

  • 3 (14oz) cans of organic black beans (rinsed and strained)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 larger jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 1 tsp cumin (dried)
  • 1 tsp coriander (dried)
  • 1 tsp oregano (dried)
  • 6 cups veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped fine)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup of cashew cream (soak 1 cup of cashews for an hour, drain, puree with half of lemon, 3 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon olive oil)
  • 2 cups of salsa (1 large tomato chopped small, half lime juice, 2 tablespoon fine chopped onion, 1 tablespoon cilantro, salt, dash cayenne, clove garlic minced)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
Black Bean Soup Instructions:
  1. in large pot warm oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic Saute for about 3 minutes (until onions are soft)
  3. Add chile, bell pepper, cumin, coriander, and oregano and sauté for about 8 more minutes.
  4. Rinse the beans with strainer
  5. Add beans and veggie stock, Bring up to almost boiling and then turn low to simmer for 10-20 minutes.
  6. Add half of the soup into blend and puree (keeping the other half nice chunks still)
  7. Add the purred part back into pot with rest of soup.
  8. Heat back up if it cooled a little,.
  9. Add lime juice, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper.
  10. Add veggie stock to your liking if soup to thick.
  11. Ladle soup into bowls
  12. Serve and garnish with whatever you fancy: cashew cream, chopped avocados, salsa and more chopped cilantro
Soup Mistress Rating For Black Bean Soup With A Myriad of Fixings:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (3/5) 

Taste: (4.65/5) 

Don’t Be Shrimping Out – A Seafood Chowder Delight!

Over a week ago, I had the great opportunity to cook for a wonderful couple (Joyce and Mike) from Minneapolis. We planned a fun evening to play Games Against Humanity, and boy what a hoot the evening was!

On the dinner menu along with this Seafood Chowder we had:

  • vegan cheese and pate
  • kale caesar slaw
  • phylo pastry pear tart with cashew cream.

The Verdict of This Seafood Chowder

I was very impressed of the simplistic yet so wonderful tasty broth that I used for the stock of this chowder. This was my first time to use shrimp shells as a stock. And boy they did deliver an A+ job I tell ya. I don’t think I will ever throw away shrimp shells ever again!

Also, this was my first time to cook with monkfish and everyone was impressed with the fish. When I was originally shopping at Wholefoods for all of the ingredients, I asked if I should substitiute monkfish with halibut as I was not sure about using it. The seafood department fella said that I should in fact use monkfish as it is tougher and meatier just like lobster and halibut would not be ideal as it would flake and fall apart in my chowder. I was so happy I took his advise, because monkfish was a superstar of the dish. The fish was definitely meaty, very tasty white fish and held together quite well in the chowder.

And the chowder overall was good as ever, I used the same recipe I have done in the past as I did with my Smoked Salmon Chowder with the addition of the homemade shrimp stock, shrimp. monkfish and scallops.

Seafood Chowder Ingredients

  • 200 grams diced Pancetta (or smoked bacon)
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 2 celery (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 1 serano chile, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper (approx  3/4 cup), diced small
  • 1 yellow pepper (approx  3/4 cup), diced small
  • 4 medium red potatoes (approx 2.5 – 3 cups), diced small
  • 5 cups fish broth (recipe below)
  • 1 cup white wine (I used a Chardonnay)
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced small
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed chilis
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and divined (keep shells for stock)
  • 1/2 pound scallops
  • 1/2 pound monkfish
  • 3 teaspoon chives, finely sliced
  • dash of salt and pepper

Shrimp Stock Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • shells from 1 pound large shrimp
  • 2 cups yellow onions
  • 2 carrots unpeeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup good white wine ( I used a Chardonnay)
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme

Shrimp Stock Instructions:

  1. Warm the oil in a stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add the shrimp shells, onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  3. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
  4. Add 1 1/2 quarts of water, the white wine, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Strain through a sieve, pressing the solids. You should have approximately 1 quart of stock. You can make up the difference with water or wine if you need to.

Seafood Chowder Instructions:

  1. Cut the seafood into bite sized pieces and put aside in a bowl.
  2. In a large pan, sauté pancetta/bacon over medium heat until brown and crisp, approximately 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to plate and allow to rest.
  3. Add in shallot, garlic, carrot, celery, serano, crushed chile, red & yellow peppers and potatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add in fish broth, 1 cup wine, tomatos, bring to a boil. Add almond milk. Reduce heat,  to medium-low and simmer for at least 15 -25 minutes or till potatoes are semi soft.
  5. 10 minutes before serving, bring soup back up to almost boil.
  6. Add the seafood (shrimp, scallops, monkfish); reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 7 to 10 minutes, until the fish is just cooked.
  7. Add lemon juice, thyme and bacon to pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Ladle soup in bowls
  9. Garnish with chives.

Original link on where I got the ideal to incorporate my chowder recipe with seafood and shrimp stock: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/seafood-chowder-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Soup Mistress Rating For This Seafood Chowder:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.25/5
Presentation: (4.25/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Fassolatha – A Greek Godess Yummy Navy Bean Soup

Oh boy, it’s been ages since I blogged about a soup!! I’ve been busy trying other recipes outside of soups (like homemade gnocchi, dehydrated snacks and a few different vegetarian pâtés). I have a liking to get back on the soup bandwagon again…we’ll see how that goes though!

Just last Saturday, I was having a girlfriend over for dinner and I decided to make it a Greek night. I made this soup along with homemade spanakopita, ttzatziki (with cashew cream instead of yogurt) and greek salad and it all did not disappoint!

The Verdict of Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup:

At first, I did not have any plans to add in bacon, I had FULL intentions to making this soup vegetarian. But when I was at the boiling stage just before simmering the soup, when I tried a spoonful test, the soup seemed bland to me and at this point I decided to add bacon, lemon juice and lemon zest to my recipe. I think the new ingredients made a huge difference. Also I shouldn’t short change the 1 hour simmering process that lifted the velvety navy beans and the just-right acidic diced tomatoes which were dancing in the pot with screaming delight!

We had this soup as left-overs for the next few days and on the third day I loved it just as much as the first day!

I would make this soup again and perhaps freeze it for an impromptu lunch one day in the near future.

Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup Ingredients:

  • 4-5 slices of bacon, chopped small and cooked until crisp
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stocks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cans organic navy beans (2 x 14.5 ounces)
  • 4 springs thyme (approx 1 tablespoon finely chopped)
  • 1 can organic diced roasted tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup of chopped parsley
  • 5 cups of veggie stock (may add more to your liking)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest


Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup Instructions:

  1. Cook small bacon pieces in fry pan until crisp, transfer to plate over paper towel. Set aside.
  2. In soup pot, add a little olive oil heat up on medium.
  3. Sauté chopped onions and garlic, cook until translucent, 5-7min.
  4. Add carrot and celery, saute for another minute or so.
  5. Add diced tomatoes and the 5 cups veggie stock.
  6. Add beans – add more veggie stock or water to cover beans if needed.
  7. Add thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to your taste.
  8. Cover and bring to boil.
  9. Once boiling, add in the bacon.
  10. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 – 60 minutes.
  11. Serve soup in bowls.
  12. Garnish with some extra parsley and delightful lemon zest.

The Original Recipe From Herehttp://www.lemonandolives.com/fassolatha-greek-bean-soup/

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • used canned navy beans instead of great northern dried beans
  • did not use a bay leaf
  • used organic vegetable stock instead of water
  • added about 1/3 cup of cooked bacon pieces
  • used my smoking gun to give a tad smoked flavour
  • added juice of one lemon at the end of the cooking process before serving
  • added lemon zest to each bowl of soup before serving
  • used more parsley
  • I used roasted canned tomatoes and I did not mash the canned tomatoes, I kept them chopped just like they are.
  • I added garlic. What soup is not friendly for it?!! :)
Soup Mistress Rating for Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5
Presentation: (3.75/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise – A Happy Ending To An Improvise of Provisions!

I have made a few sweet potato soups in the past, but never one with leeks and zucchini.

I was being a tad creative and just Googled the 3 ingredients with keyword “soup” as that is what was all we had in the fridge. From now on, I want to challenge myself to use up everything in the fridge and not let anything go to waste before I head back to the grocery store for new provisions. I sincerely cringe at how much food wastage restaurants and hotels partake in and truly believe it will be a big problem later on in life for the World.

The Verdict of Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise:

“It was one of your best soups ever!” words directly quoted from my handsome boyfriend.

Well I wasn’t planning on this one being one of my superstar soups. But it seems to be Graemes all time favourite of soups I have made for him. He has had his fair share of my soups and makes some dandy ones himself. I was really impressed with this soup myself. What I really loved the most , is that it had very fine chopped veggies added in the end. I was first going to fry some veggies for a pretty presentation of garnish, but at the last moment I decided to use them raw for a healthier texture to the soup. I must say for myself, that is what I really liked about the soup, it had very nice tidbits of crisp yummy veggies in the velvety smooth puree from the Vitamix. The chipotle was subtle yet added some heat in random spoonfuls. We ate every drop of the soup for lunch the next day!

Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups leeks, sliced
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups zucchini (about 2 small), chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I used 3 stock cubes)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle in adoba sauce.
  • 1 cup cashew cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
Instructions for Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise :
  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil up over med/high heat.
  2. Saute leeks, sweet potato and zucchini for 3-7 minutes.
  3. Make sure you keep about 1.5 cups of raw veggies reserved on a plate and finely chopped or julienne them more. Do not cook them yet.
  4. If using cube stock, dissolve it in 3 cups boiling water.
  5. Add stock to vegetables in pot.
  6. Bring soup to subtle boil and then lower heat with lid on pot, simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Puree soup with salt, pepper and chipotle in a blender. Be careful if still hot.
  8. Add soup back into pot and stir in cashew cream and the reserved raw veggies (keep a tad for garnish for each bowl though).
  9. Gently heat soup back up on low.
  10. Ladle soup into bowls and also garnish with some of your reserved veggies and finely chopped chives.
  11. Drop or swirl in some cashew cream in any design you fancy.
  12. Feel free to adjust the Chipotle to your liking/heat tolerance and add water if soup is a tad too thick for you.
This soup can be served chilled as well. I personally fancy this soup warmed though!
These little morsels of raw veggies is what make the soup great texture versus just being 100% puree.
I love this stock cubes above. I picked them up in Singapore and sure would love to see them in North America soon!

Original Recipe From Here:

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • Used cashew cream instead of cashew sour cream and also used more and added it  in the soup base.
  • Used fresh chives as garnish.
  • Reserved a fair bit of raw chopped veggies to add in after I puree the soup and for garnish.
Soup Mistress Rating for Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (5/5) 

Singapore – A Foodie Place Perfect For A Soup Crawl!

Ah, Singapore, farewell you will be missed – it has been two weeks since I left the Lion City. It is known as a foodie place to visit and great place to go on a soup crawl!

Besides the food I will miss the fine tropical hot weather, the clean streets, and awesome efficient and safe MRT system that serves millions of people a day. There are so many wonderful differences in Singapore to the Western World that I thought was adorable there. For example gum is illegal, no wonder the streets are so clean! Also I see toddlers, teens and adults all booting around on foot scooters as they are super popular here – it was a fad in North America a few years back. Driving a car is a big luxury (costs $100,000 for a license to drive a car for 10 years) so most people walk, use scooters or the transit system.

For my stay in Singapore, I tried as many soups I can when venturing out. I wanted to learn about some different soups as well as taste some soups that may be familiar in North America. The most memorable soup is the Shrimp Laksa, which I want to try and make myself someday soon!

The thirteen soups below are ranked by taste. #1 being the best tasting and the last (Original Sliced Fish Soup) not so good.

#1 Rank: Majestic Bay – Fresh Nori Hot and Sour Seafood Soup (spicy)

Website: http://majesticbay.sg
Price: $9.00 SGD

Had the Fresh Nori Hot and Sour Seafood Soup (spicy) with their signature Pan Seared Chili Crab Buns and Steamed Rice Roll with Scallops & Asparagus. Great combo. This soup is one of the best soups of my Singapore soup crawl and probably the top hot & sour soup I ever had in my life! Crab, shrimp and scallops, cooked just fine and chopped in little tidbits with burst of flavor with a yummy broth. Nicely shredded carrots and fine seaweed.

Prettiest presentation with little elegant dishes and when brought to the table, the waitress took off the lid for my soup and poured the sauce over my rice roll dish!!

Highly recommend this place during a visit of the Gardens By The Bay!

Soup Mistress Rating for Majestic Bay – Fresh Nori Hot and Sour Seafood Soup (spicy):

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 

Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

#2 Rank: L’Atelier Joel Robuchon – Shrimp Consommé with Onion Custard

Website: http://www.joel-robuchon.com/en/restaurants-singapour-atelier.php
Price: $98.00 SGD (for the 4 course dinner)

This soup is the cream of the crop! Shrimp consommé with onion custard, with itsy bitsy onions and veggies that “pop” in your mouth. And let’s not forget about the bread to die for that is made in-house and the show watching the chefs creating in a oh so ever sparkling kitchen in the open! The broth was so clear, yet packed with flavor…that would take some great culinary skills to get a broth that fine!

Soup Mistress Rating for L’Atelier’s Shrimp Consommé with Onion Custard:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5)

Presentation: (5/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

#3 Rank: Crystal Jade (Vivo City) – Spicy and Sour Soup with Bean-curd

Website: http://www.crystaljade.com
Price: $9.80 SGD

Spicy indeed and broth very delicate yet bursting with flavour! The green onions are a nice touch with the straw mushrooms and bean curd was a silky delight. Still high in my ranks but does not surpass Majestic Bay’s Fresh Nori Hot and Sour Seafood Soup.

Crystal Jade restaurant in Vivo City has Shanghai food at its best and impeccable service. The colorful chef specialty Long Boos (Dim Sum) were a great accompaniment to the soup. The yellow (cheese Xiao Long Bao) and black (Black Truffle Xiao Long Boo) were my favorites!

Soup Mistress Rating for Crystal Jade’s Spicy and Sour Soup with Bean-curd:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.25/5) 

Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4.5/5) 

#4 Rank: KU DÉ TA Singapore at Marina Bay Sands. – Ramen Soup

Website: http://kudeta.com/singapore/
Price: $105.00 SGD (soup was included in my multi course brunch)

Ramen soup on top Marina Bay Sands. Definitely worth the 57th floor elevator ear pop! This soup was like breakfast in a bowl with bacon and egg and also had my favourite mushrooms -Shimejis! I would have loved to have the egg as a perfectly very soft and runny boiled egg though. A fried egg is not that pretty in a soup, in my opinion. The soup was very good and filling, I could have had that alone instead of my endless courses that were included in my fancy brunch.

I did wonder if there was anything special with the broth or if the noodles were made in-house, but the food was not really upsold, so I am assuming that the udon noodles were just normal dried noodles. I think this restaurant being on the roof of Marina Bay sands should really try to offer something special for the prices or at least sell it better to me on what I am having.

Tourist tip: You should visit this place just for the view, don’t pay the $30 to do the tourist elevator ride alone, just go up to Ku De Ta for a bowl of soup and get the view for free!

Soup Mistress Rating for KU DÉ TA’s Ramen Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.75/5) 

Presentation: (4.25/5) 

Taste: (4.25/5) 

#5 Rank: Madam Kwans (Vivo City) – Shrimp Laksa

Website: https://www.facebook.com/madamkwans
Price: $11.20 SGD

First try of Shrimp Laksa and not the last that’s for sure! A Singaporean favourite – a spicy noodle soup from the Peranakan (Chinese and Malay cuisine). It had some nice fresh Thai basil, some fluffy deep-fried puffs (perhaps bean curd), scrumptious perfectly cooked big pieces of eggplant. The bowl seemed like could feed 2 people but the good parts I got through all by myself! I do wish it had more sprouts though with less noodles. Also, I got only 4 shrimp in that large bowl…felt a tad shorted but was still satisfied on the taste.

Soup Mistress Rating for Madam Kwan’s Shrimp Laksa:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.25/5) 

Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4.25/5) 

#6 Rank: Hong Kong St Fish Head in Chinatown –  Red Garoupe Fish Head Steamboat

Website: http://www.yelp.ca/biz/136-hong-kong-street-fish-head-steamboat-singapore
Price: $23.00

One of my first soup experiences, I felt very adventurous going into the hole in wall place on the whim. I was the only Caucasian person who was not speaking Chinese in this bustling Chinatown restaurant. I asked the waitress for the favourite dish and she served me the Red Garoupe Fish Head Steamboat.

Great presentation of the pot on the burner to keep your soup bubbling hot or warm once your turn the flame down. Lots of white fish seemed similar to me, kind of like snapper / halibut meat
. Cabbage and seaweed had great veggie depth making the soup not too fishy. 
Great chili sauces on the side were served and the rice was a great balancer and cooled my tongue off from the spices
. Once in while, I had big chunks of ginger too…that was nice.

Funny though, I’m not sure if I really had a fish head in my soup. Perhaps it did break apart while it was cooking and I ate the cheeks, but I did find the fishtail! Perhaps that is a signal for good luck!

Soup Mistress Rating for Hong Kong St Red Garoupe Fish Head Steamboat:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.25/5) 

Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4/5) 

#7 Rank: Shrimp Bisque at Saltwater Cafe

Website: http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g294265-d2359822-Reviews-Saltwater_Cafe_at_Changi_Village_Hotel-Singapore.html
Price:  9.00 SGD

This was my very last night and I was staying at the Village Hotel in Changi close to the airport. I had dinner in the hotel restaurant and I must say this shrimp bisque was not bad at all. I was first disappointed on first impression, the presentation needs a little help. At first, I wondered where is the shrimp? They should have sliced or butterflied the shrimp and used it as a garnish on the top. It did take me three spoonful tries to finally find actual shrimp in the soup and they were chopped pretty small. It was good bisque though, but I would expect a tad more. I think this one I want to try at home someday, with coconut or cashew cream and with prettier shrimp on top!

Soup Mistress Rating for Saltwater Cafe Shrimp Bisque:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3/5) 

Presentation: (3.5/5) 

Taste: (3.5/5) 


#8 Rank: Real Food @ Central – Kombu Shitake Soup

Website: http://www.realfoodgrocer.com/the_central.html
Price: $8.50 SGD

For my meal I had the Kombu Shiitake soup with leafy veggies and tofu + stuffed veggie with capsicum, beetroot and carrot patty, mashed potatoes, onions, miller and coriander. Served with fresh greens, olives, radishes and avocado.

The Kombu shiitake soup looked and tasted very healthy. I never heard of kombu before I had this soup and I looked it up, it is supposed to be excellent source if iodine. Hmmn.

This soup did not blow me away. Nice big shiitake mushrooms and silk tofu with healthy bok choy and seaweed made me feel quite content along with my wheatgrass juice and salad. The shiitake played well with soup and lapped up the tasty broth. The broth seemed so packed of flavour yet delicate. I’m thinking I need to make some kind of shiitake soup in future.

Soup Mistress Rating for Real Food Kombu Shitake Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5) 

Presentation: (3.5/5)

Taste: (3/5) 

#9 Rank: Candlenut Restaurant – Bakwan Kepiting: Crab Meatball Bamboo Soup

Website: http://www.candlenut.com.sg
Price: Barwan soup $8.00 SGD and Durian soup $9.00 SGD

Refreshing grub at Candelnut! Got the tip to eat here from watching Anthony Bordain’s show on Singapore the other night!

I had the sparking bitter lemon drink with basil + Bakwan Kepiting: crab meatball bamboo soup + Wing Bean Salad – with prawns and dried fishies + the Durian Soup for my sweet tooth. The Durian soup was a must have, even if those fruits are smelly and not allowed on the metro. It was very rich and tasty!

The Bakwan Kepiting had a rich chicken broth, which is supposed to be simmered for 5 hours. The broth was clear and tasty. I liked the bamboos shoots, they were perfectly al dente. I am guessing that the bamboo shoots must have not been mushy canned ones and fresh. I would like to use them in a soup in future instead of noodles. Broth was very nice but I didn’t like the fact that it was chicken broth since I try to be vegetarian most of the time. Crab meatballs tasted good. But wished the meat was less refined. The crab balls were minced and pressed too perfectly like they were processed but I guess that I should give this restaurant the benefit of doubt – they must be homemade?

If you ever go to this restaurant I highly recommend that you try their Wing Bean Salad with prawns, crispy sweetened fish, shallots, lemongrass, chili, cashew nuts, mint , coriander, and lime dressing. Yummy delight! Awesome salad. Sweet and salty and sour all in one. Nice dried sweet fish, fish sauce with awesome lime dressing. The wing beans are so pretty too – like little stars!

Then I had the Durian soup, it had 
creamy durian ice cream. Was very rich and good. I can smell gaseousness of durian (a well-known trait that people hate about it) but my taste buds like it!

Soup Mistress Rating for Candlenut’s Bakwan Kepiting: Crab Meatball Bamboo Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5) 

Presentation: (3.5/5)

Taste: (3.25/5) 

#10 Rank: Woo Lee Jeeb @ Food Republic – Kimchi Soup

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Food-Republic/133703763359452?sk=info&rf=178797085517735
Price: $6.00 SGD

My second last day I ventured back to Vivocity. I fancied Kimchi soup and came to this spot. The soup was very hot and spicy. The broth was yummy and made my nose water. I am sure that this soup would be awesome for when you have a cold. My roommate in my 20’s (Gail) use to make me a sauerkraut tomato soup with kolbassa that had a broth that tasted very much like this one. It was my favourite go-to soup when I had a cold and she made it for me many times.

You must have the rice with this soup (it is included), it cools down your mouth from the spicy goodness. It had big pieces of tofu, but the tofu seemed very bland and poor quality. I think this soup would be good to make in future but with an organic good quality tofu.

The broth was very good and I wanted more but the soup overall was missing something for filling me up. Perhaps some crunchy sprouts or something like potatoes would be a marriage in souplandia!

Soup Mistress Rating for Woo Lee Jeeb Kimchi Soup

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.25/5) 

Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (3.25/5) 

#11 Rank: Prive @ Keppel Bay – Forest Mushroom Soup

Website: http://www.privekeppel.com.sg
Price: $13.00 SGD

Beautiful setting in front of Keppel Bay Marina! I never saw such big yachts and can’t even image how they would look inside. I had the Forest Mushroom soup with the Charred Octopus & Potato salad. The soup was good standing but nothing spectacular and tad short of the truffle oil – wish they weren’t so shy on the truffles! The salad oh my, I want to recreate at home and took note of all ingredients!

Soup Mistress Rating for Prive’s Forest Mushroom Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5) 

Presentation: (3/5) 

Taste: (2.5/5) 

#12 Rank: Serentiy Vivo City – Gazpacho Anda 

Website: http://serenity.com.sg/vivocity-singapore/
Price: $9.80 SGD

Ok, so below is the picture of the soup presented in the menu. I was sold by its pretty presentation and having the ingredients individual so you can add them yourself. But above is the actual soup that was served to me. It totally looks mediocre and it tasted the same way. The taste was very bland like my grandma served me tomato juice with stale croutons and threw in some veggies. The soup was missing acidity and fresh tomatoes I am sure of it.


Soup Mistress Rating for Serentiy Gazpacho Anda:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 

Presentation: (2.75/5) 

Taste: (2/5) 


#13 Rank: Original Sliced Fish Soup (Raffles City) 

Website: http://sg.openrice.com/singapore/restaurant/original-sliced-fish-soup-the-food-place/7242/
Price: $6.00 SGD

Big lesson learned today – I beg to differ that the longest line = good food!!!

I have not much to say about this one – I wasted my foodie time on this!

This soup is terrible *blah*, the worst on my Singapore soup crawl and will be ranked at the bottom. It’s totally like kitchen sink water! (must have been cheap eats line up/demand and not tasty line up!)

Soup Mistress Rating for Original Sliced Fish Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.5/5) 

Presentation: (2.5/5)  

Taste: (1/5)