Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Soups continued... Ssssh top secret recipe!

In case you do not know, I was born in Russia, and at the risk of sounding like an eskimo, Siberia to be more precise. I remember getting wrapped up very warm in -20C temperatures and craving a steaming bowl of borsch. Despite everyone thinking there’s a t at the end of this traditional Russian beetroot soup, there really isn’t. Today I am going to give away the authentic recipe but be warned, only a true Russian can actually master it (I guess that’s why mine doesn’t taste as good as my mum’s!).

If you’re up for the challange, however, this is what you’ll need:

·         A can of stewed beef or beef goulash
·         Half a medium cabbage
·         2 medium potatoes
·         1 raw beetroot
·         Half an onion, chopped
·         Half a carrot
·         1 medium tomato
·         1 beef stock cube
·         1 tablespoon of tomato puree
·         1 medium chilli pepper- deseeded
·         1 or 2 garlic cloves
·         1 teaspoon of vinegar
·         1 cup of juice from a jar of pickled gherkins (that’s what makes it authentic and so delicious!)
·         1 teaspoon of cinnamon
·         1 teaspoon of sugar
·         Dry herbs: 1 teaspoon of basil and 3 bay leafs and some peppercorns!
·         Sour cream and fresh dill to garnish

(I never said it’d be easy!)

If that list hasn’t scared you off, first thing you have to do is boil half a pan of water. While that’s doing, de-skin the tomato and peel and cube the potatoes. When the water is boiled, add the can of stewed beef to the pan and leave until simmering. Cut the cabbage into strips then put in the pan with the potatoes. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes and while that’s cooking, chop the tomato, grate the carrot, peel and grate the raw beetroot, chop the onion, garlic and chilli. Fry onion, garlic and chilli in some oil then separately fry the rest of the veg until soft. Mix all together and add the sugar, cinnamon, tomato puree and herbs. Add to the large pan of beef mixture and add gherkin juice and vinegar, followed by the stock cube. Simmer for 10-15 minutes before serving in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill. This soup can be reheated and actually tastes better the next day once the flavours have had the chance to develop fully! Na zdorovye!

Burrr means soup time!

Wow, it’s really got cold recently! My coat is out and so is my food processor! As winter is looming upon us, I want to share with everyone some of my favourite winter warmers. Starting with my all time favourite, thai-style butternut squash soup!
This soup warms you up in more than one way, yes it’s a steaming hot delight but it also packs a punch with its spicy Asian nature. Everyone loves it, and I know you will too!
You will need the following to make enough for 6 servings:
·         700g-1kg butternut squash (one large squash)
·         1 medium onion
·         3 tbsp thai red curry paste
·         1 can of coconut milk
·         1 medium chilli
·         2 cups of stock of your choice (chicken works great!)
·         2 garlic cloves

So you should begin by roasting your squash in the oven, this takes about 30 minutes at 200C in plenty of oil! To do this you have to peel and then cube the squash. Yes, it’s labour intensive but it’s worth every sweat droplet, trust me, plus it’s one more way to warm up, eh? After doing this, place it in a roasting tray for half an hour or so or when the edges begin to darken and the squash is nice and soft on the inside. Meanwhile,drop some oil in a frying pan and add all the curry paste to release the flavours. 30 seconds of frying and it’s time to add the chopped onions and garlic, followed by the chilli, very finely chopped. After about 2 minutes, take it off the heat and set aside. Once the butternut squash is well roasted place in a pan and pour in the stock also adding the curry mixture from the frying pan. Simmer for 10 minutes to combine the flavours before pouring in the coconut milk. Stir and wait until boiling then take off the heat. If you see some separation of oils, don’t worry, they will mix fine in the blender. Once slightly cooled, pour in the blender and season with salt an pepper and pulse until a smooth soup! Serve with a spoonful of sour cream and coriander! I feel warmer just thinking about it!

(Sorry about the photos! I will take better ones as soon as I can and update this post then!)