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Tasty and tender Dak (chicken) Bulgogi

Tasty and tender Dak (chicken) Bulgogi


Finger-licking good. What a fabulous discovery this dish has been. Each bite is like a little trip to some exotic and far-away land.

Bulgogi (불고기) is Korean and literally means “fire meat”. It usually consists of  marinated beef that is grilled, sometimes with the addition of green peppers or mushrooms.

The first time I made this recipe, I enjoyed it so much I had to indulge myself and prepare it again the next day. The list of ingredients might seem a bit daunting at first, but the preparation takes no time at all. You just mix a few spoon full of this, a dash of that and then you allow the chicken meat marinade for a while. When you are ready to eat, just cook some rice or make a little noodle salad. Then just toss the meat under the grill for a few quick minutes. Within no time you are wrapping delicate lettuce leaves around juicy pieces of meat. A fabulously exotic and light meal. Added bonus: you get to eat with your fingers.

And for those of you that own a table grill or raclette set: this is a great little dish to spice things up for your next evening of table top cooking.

Ingredients
(hardly apated from the blog ‘Spontaneous Tomato‘)
Serves 3-4

500-700g chicken fillet or thighs (or beef or pork)
3tbsp light or kikkoman soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar (at a pinch you could use apple cider vinegar)
1/2 tbsp cooking sake (or if you do not have any you could use mirin, Chinese rice wine or sherry)
optional: a few pinches of chili flakes
optional: pinch of sugar
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger
3-5 spring onions
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 head of butter lettuce leaves (this is the soft lettuce not the ice berg)
2 tsp roasted sesame seeds

Recipe

  1. Cut the chicken into wide, flat slices. Place in a zip-lock bag or wide bowl.
  2. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and sake to the meat.
  3. If using add chili flakes and sugar.
  4. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger and add.
  5. Reserve one of the spring onions for decoration. Chop the rest and add to the meat.
  6. Combine all the ingredients, cover and refrigerate 30 min (or up to 3 hours).
  7. (Prepare your side dish – some steamed rice, cooked noodles or noodle salad)
  8. Allow the grill in your oven to heat up.
  9. Line a wide baking dish or tray with aluminium foil. Spread out the chicken and pour over the remaining marinade.
  10. Place the chicken under the grill. Stir after about 4 minutes. Usually it takes around 8 min for the chicken to cook. Cooking time can vary a lot and depends on the amount of chicken and type of dish. Note: do not overcook the chicken, it will not brown but stay quite pale.
  11. (Alternatively you can cook the chicken on a non-stick skillet.)
  12. Cut the remaining spring onion into thin rings.
  13. Sprinkle the chicken with the spring onion and sesame seeds. Serve with lettuce leaves and rice or noodles.

Serve with

  • steamed rice or
  • soba noodles or
  • vermicelli noodles mixed with fresh chopped mint and coriander with a splash of sesame oil, lime juice and fish sauce

This post was added to Easy to Cook Meals blog. Please join us in Cunning Ladies’ Friday Party.

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Some of the health benefits of butter lettuce

  • Vitamin A and beta carotenes. Just 100 g of fresh, raw-lettuce provides 247% of daily vitamin A, and 4443 µg of beta-carotene (Carotenes convert to vitamin A in the body; 2 µg of carotene is considered equivalent to 1 IU of vitamin A). These compounds have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin, and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural fruits and vegetables rich in flavonoids helps to protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Vitamin K. Which has a potential role in the bone metabolism where it thought to increase bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bone cells. It also has established role in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
  • Folates and vitamin C. Folates require for DNA synthesis and therefore, vital in prevention of the neural tube defects in-utero fetus during pregnancy. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant; regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  • Zea-xanthin (1730 µg per 100 g), an important dietary carotenoid in lettuce, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea, where it thought to provide antioxidant and filter UV rays falling on the retina. Diet rich in xanthin and carotenes is thought to offer some protection against age-related macular disease (ARMD) in the elderly.
  • It also contains good amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are very essential for body metabolism. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is essential for red blood cell formation.
  • It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like thiamin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), riboflavins.
  • Regular inclusion of lettuce in salads is known to prevent osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anemia and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases, ARMD, Alzheimer’s disease and cancers.
    (Source: Nutrition and You)
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Airy cheesecake bliss

Airy cheesecake bliss

Happy blogiversary to me!

It is crazy to think that it is two years ago that I shared my first post. I really have been having so much fun on the way. Amazing to realize that I must have spent hundreds of hours cooking, clicking, sharing….and eating!
One thing I never expected is how much I would enjoy taking photographs of food. It really has become such a large part of the experience. It amazes me to see how my clicks have changed over time. By now I actually feel proud of them once in a while. And the best thing about it is that this development really felt effortless. It is such a fabulous reminder that change does not have to come to us through hard work. When you do something you enjoy, results flow to you with ease.

 

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Ingredients

(hardly adapted from the blog ‘Italian Chips’)
1 small 15 (-18)cm cake
Serves 6


250g ricotta
50g honey
35g flour
3 eggs
zest of 3/4 lemon
1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla essence)
6 strawberries

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Line a 15 (-18) cm baking tin with parchment paper: cut a circle the size of the base and cut a strip to go around the sides.
  3. Use a mixer to beat the ricotta with the honey.
  4. Separate the egg yolks. Reserve the whites and add the yolks to the ricotta.
  5. Also add the lemon zest, vanilla beans, flour to the ricotta and mix until well combined.
  6. Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  7. Gently fold the egg white into the ricotta mix.
  8. Pour the mixture into the cake tin.
  9. Cut the strawberries in half and place them on top. Push them down just slightly.
  10. Bake the cake for about 40 min until golden brown and set.
  11. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving. Personally I like it best from the fridge (which means you can have it the next day as well).

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In this dish green (wood) red (fire) come together not to burn but to cool.

In this dish green (wood) red (fire) come together not to burn but to cool.

Preparing my previous post, in honour of the Lunar New Year, I discovered a world of traditions and beliefs that I knew hardly anything about. As the celebration of the Chinese New Year spans 15 days I thought I would take the chance to post some of the facts I discovered. But first about today’s recipe:

This salad with bean sprouts is one of these simple dishes that hardly deserve the name recipe, but it appears on my table regularly as it is quick, tasty and healthy. It goes wonderfully with Asian flavours and is a great contrast to hot and spicy foods. Every time I eat it I realize that I prepare bean sprouts much too rarely – they have such a delicate flavour and are so good for you.

And I decided it is the perfect dish to go with this post as the bean sprouts are combined with cucumber – green for wood – and tomatoes – red for fire – which come together into a wonderfully cooling salad for this fiery year.

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So here are 8 facts you might not know about the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Wood Horse (8 because that is a lucky number in China).

1) The Chinese zodiac – or Shēngxiào – is a calendar system originating in the Han dynasty (206-220BC), which names each of the years in its 12-year cycle after an animal: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, in that order. According to the system, the universe is made up of five elements – earth, water, fire, wood and metal – which interact with the 12 animals, resulting in the specific character of the year ahead. (Guardian)

2) Year of 2014 is Wooden Horse. Because Wood (tree) is connected to the color of Green. Therefore, 2014 is the Year of Green Wood Horse. (Chinese Fortune Calendar)

3)  Horse hour of Chinese Horoscopes is from 11am to 1 pm. Sunshine generates lots of heat during the Horse hour. Therefore, horse is connected to heat, fire and red.

4) Horses like the social activities, because horses like show off themselves. Since horse is a social animal and red is also connected to love, therefore. Horse is treated as a Romantic Star in Chinese Horoscope. (Apanache)

5) Horse is one of Chinese favorite animals. Horse provides people quick transportation before automobiles, so people can quickly reach their destinations. Horse even can help people to win the battle. Therefore Horse is a symbol of traveling, competition and victory. That’s why Horse is connected to speedy success in China. (Apanache)

6) But……Feng shui masters are talking about a hot – literally – 2014, with temperatures melting people’s brains and a propensity towards earthquakes and volcano eruptions.(RT)

7) It’s estimated that a sixth of the world celebrate Chinese New Year, including more than 1 billion Chinese citizens. Which results in one of the world’s largest human migration as Chinese workers travel home to their families for Chinese New Year. In 2010 an estimated 210 million hit the planes, buses and trains – the equivalent to the whole population of Brazil packing their suitcases. (Go Hong Kong)

8) And last but not least: foods to be eaten at New Year include

– uncut noodles – a symbol of longevity
– fish for abundance – as the word for fish in Chinese is a homophone for abundance
– fried egg rolls – a symbol of wealth as they look like gold bars
– dumplings – for wealth
– Shrimp – for happiness and joy
– Lettuce – for rising fortune as the word is near homophonous “to make money”
– Mandarins (especially with leaves intact) – for happiness
– Eggs – for prosperity

 

 

 

 

 

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Ingredients

(adapted from ‘De complete Asiatische Keuken’)
Serves 3-4 as a side dish

150g green beans
100g bean sprouts
12 cherry tomatoes (about 150g)
1 cucumber
1 red chili
coriander or mint leaves
2 tbsp rice vinegar (alternatively apple vinegar)
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar

Recipe

  1. Bring some water to the boil.
  2. Cut the ends off the beans and cut them in half. Cook the beans 5-7 min in boiling water until barely tender (without the lid on the pot, to keep them green).
  3. Toss in the bean sprouts for the last 30 secs (this kills off any bacteria and in my opinion improves the taste).
  4. Drain the beans and sprouts and immediately rinse with cold water (or even cool in ice water).
  5. Cut the tomatoes in half and place into a salad bowl.
  6. Cut the cucumber into wedges. (Cut the cucumber in half, cut each half into four pieces lengthwise and then into slices.) Add to the tomatoes and then toss in the beans and sprouts.
  7. Chop the chili (Serve separate if the dish should not be spicy otherwise) Place in a small bowl and combine with rice vinegar, lime juice and sugar.
  8. Dish can be prepared a little ahead up to this point. When you are ready to serve, toss the vegetables with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  9. Chop mint or coriander leaves and sprinkle on top.


Tips & Variations

  • Add some cubed fresh cucumber
  • Dry fry some dried shrimp, grind to a powder and sprinkle on top
  • Add some chili sauce to the dressing

Serve with

The variations are endless, but I found this salad goes well with

  • Rich and spicy coconut curries
  • Thai Fish Cakes

The 8 bullets on the Lunar New Year are enough facts for one post. I will share with you how incredibly healthy bean sprouts are another time J

Xin Nian Kuai Le! Happy Lunar New Year and welcome to the Year of the Wooden Horse!

Eggs for prosperity - the state of flourishing, thriving and good fortune

Eggs for prosperity – the state of flourishing, thriving and good fortune

I do not know anything about Chinese astrology, but I read that “Horse energy is free spirited, wild, willful, and independent. Horse has a refined instinct that acts fast, on the spot. (….) The Wood Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the more far away and off the beaten path the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. But you have to act fast in a Horse year. If you are not 100% secure about a decision, then don’t do it. Events move so quickly in a Horse year that you don’t want to gallop off in the wrong direction.” (Source: Susan Levitt)

Whilst I was googeling info on the Year of the Horse I (re)discovered that apparently I am a horse, and it is going to be quite a ride for me this year. (Actually the predictions vary from an excellent year, to dramatic ups and downs, to a down-right challenging year 🙂 ).

Whatever it may bring, to ring in this New Year a little Asian dish that I like to prepare ahead for a quick weeknight dinner. Although the recipe looks long, this meal is not a lot of work. The meat does need to marinade so I like to throw it together the day before. After a long days work, I just pop it in the oven and have a feast ready in just over half an hour.

If you are looking for a speedy dinner, just steam a little rice and stir-fry some (oyster) mushrooms with spinach as a side. This chicken is also lovely with vermicelli noodles mixed with a lot of fresh herbs. Or cold soba with mango and spring onion. The variations are endless; just keep in mind that the dish comes without sauce so it is important to serve it with something fresh and crunchy or something juicy.

By the way, I have made this dish with quail eggs (special), with regular eggs (nice) and without any eggs (fabulously fuss-free). Another festive variation is to serve the chicken with some Marbled Tea Eggs. They are not much more work but take a little more time to prepare.

Wishing you peace and good health in the Year of the Horse! (馬年安康)

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Ingredients
(found on the blog ‘Cooking in Sense‘)
Serves 3-4

For the chicken

5 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp sake (or Chinese rice wine or dry sherry)
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
4 garlic cloves
a piece of ginger as large as 2 garlic cloves
1 mild green chilli
8-9 chicken drumsticks (2-3 a person)
spring onion
sesame seeds

Optional: For the eggs
9-12 fresh quail eggs or 3-4 regular eggs
6 garlic cloves
1/2 red chilli
1/2 green chilli
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
 

Recipe

To prepare the chicken:

  1. Make a marinade by combine the soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar in a freezer bag or bowl.
  2. Slice the garlic, ginger and chili into slices and add to the marinade.
  3. You can leave the skin on the chicken, I prefer to remove it (loosen the skin with your fingers. Pull back over the leg. Grab the skin with a piece of kitchen paper to pull it off easily.)
  4. Wash and dry the chicken and add to the marinade. Refrigerate overnight or at least 3 hours.

Optional: To prepare the egg:

  1. Cook the eggs (quail: 4 min, regular: 10 min)
  2. Remove the eggs from the water. Keep the water. Rinse the eggs under cold water and allow to cool until you can peel them.
  3. Add soy sauce, mirin and sugar to the hot water.
  4. Place the peeled eggs into the sauce. Simmer for 15 min.
  5. Halve the garlic cloves and add to the water.
  6. Slice the chili and add.
  7. Simmer another 5 minutes.
  8. The eggs can be served warm or at room temperature. They can be made the day before and stored in the liquid in the fridge.

To finish the dish:

  1. Remove chicken and eggs from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for 15 min.
  2. Heat the oven to 200C (390F).
  3. Line an oven dish with aluminum foil.
  4. Place the chicken in the oven dish.
  5. Roast for 20 min. Turn and roast another 15-25 min.
  6. Cut the spring onion into thin rings.
  7. Plate the chicken with the eggs (cut regular eggs in half) and sprinkle with spring onion and sesame seeds.

 

Tips & Variations

For a simpler meal leave out the eggs, for a more special dish make some Marbled Tea Eggs the day before


Serve with

  • Stir-fried (oyster) mushrooms with spinach and steamed rice.
  • Cold salad of vermicelli with chopped herbs and red capsicum (bell pepper, DE/ NL: paprika) with a dressing of fish sauce, lime and chili and a sprinkling of cashew.
  • A cold salad of soba noodles with mango and spring onion and a dressing of sesame – and chili oil.
Where tasty meets healthy to have a party

Where tasty meets healthy to have a party

I always used to think that January was such a dreary month, but I am discovering that I actually quite like it: things slow down a bit and there is suddenly time to curl up on the couch and read a book or even just do some day dreaming.

The one thing I really do not like about January is that no one seems to be having any fun eating. It is all clear broths and leafy salads. Where does this idea come from that healthy food has to be boring, bordering on punishment?

I was shocked when I was watching this program on healthy eating a while back. This doctor actually declared that one of the main problems is, that food plays too big a role in our lives. He made an argument that food should not be at the center of parties and our time with friends and family. I think I actually gasped out loud!

My belief is that appreciating the simple, daily things in life is what brings happiness and joy. And we have to eat, which makes every meal an amazing opportunity to embrace and enjoy life. I say, spend more time cooking together and eating together. The real question is what you eat; if you use every single special occasion as an excuse to stuff yourself with food your body does not need, of course you will not live healthily. But if you look at every meal as a chance to enjoy beautiful food that nourishes, you will eat healthily AND have a smile on your face.

And just in case I have not made my point, here is a recipe to prove it – quinoa salad with kale, avocado and dried cranberries. This dish is a party of super foods on a plate with every single ingredient containing loads of nutrients that are essential for the body.

The first time I had this dish was when my friend LS invited me over for dinner as a sort of house warming (about a year after she moved into a place – but that just goes to show there is always a good excuse for a dinner party). But then she would have never knowing this dish if her sister had not prepared it for her a few months before.

Not convinced yet? Make this salad for someone you care for and you will be. Actually: even if you are convinced you should still make this salad 😉

A big thank you to LS and RS for passing this recipe on!

Finally a small note on the preparation:
As I am not a regular eater of kale I loved the fat that LS lightly stir-fried the kale to soften it a little. But if you prefer raw kale than you can “massage” it as RS does: tear the kale into small pieces and place in a bowl with some olive oil, lemon juice, a dash of salt and pepper. Then “massage” the kale with your fingers.

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Ingredients
(this recipe was discovered by RS who then passed it on to her sister and my friend LS who then cooked it for me. I had a guess at what the dressing might have been.)
4 servings as a side dish or lunch

400g (2 cups) of left-over cooked quinoa or about 150g  (2/3 cup) uncooked quinoa
olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice (or 2 tbsp apple vinegar)
2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1-2 bunches of kale, about 12 leaves (NL: boerenkool, DE: Gruenkohl)
15g almond slivers (or blanched almonds walnut halves or pumpkin seeds)
1-2 avocados
50g dried cranberries

Recipe

  1. If using uncooked quinoa: rinse the quinoa (this is important to remove the bitter taste). Cover with twice the amount of water. Bring to a simmer and then turn the heat low (I move my pot to the smallest flame and turn it as low as possible.) Cook for about 15 minutes or until just soft, allow to sit covered for another 5 min. Then spread on a large plate, drizzle with a little olive oil and allow to cool a little (in the fridge).
  2. Make a dressing from 2 tbsp olive oil, the lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the dressing with the quinoa. Taste; depending on the amount of quinoa you are using you might need more dressing.
  4. If the kale has thick stems you should tear the leaves off the stems. Cut the kale into thin short ribbons.
  5. Heat a large frying pan or wok and briefly stir-fry the kale until just wilted. (Alternatively “massage “the kale – see “Tips & Variations”).
  6. Spoon the kale on top of the quinoa and allow to cool a little. (The dish can be prepared ahead until here.)
  7. Briefly fry the almond slivers in a dry pan until golden. Allow to cool slightly.
  8. Cut the avocado into cubes.
  9. Toss the quinoa with half the avocado and the half cranberries.
  10. Place on your serving plate(s) and top with remaining avocado, the rest of the cranberries and the almonds.


Tips & Variations

  • Instead of stir-frying the kale you can massage it by placing it in a bowl with some olive oil, lemon juice, a dash of salt and pepper. Then “massage” the kale with your fingers.
  • Add a little feta or soft goats cheese

Some of the health benefits

Kale is being called “the new beef”, “the queen of greens” and “a nutritional powerhouse.” Here are ten great benefits of adding more kale to your diet:

  • Low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium as well as those listed below.
  • High in iron. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.
  • High in Vitamin K. Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and the prevention of blood clotting. Also increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Filled with powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers.
  • Great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
  • Great for cardiovascular support. Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.
  • High in Vitamin A.Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • High in Vitamin C. This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration.
  • High in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Vitamin C is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility
  • Great detox food. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.

(Source: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html)

Happy 2014

Happy 2014

More and more I enjoy celebrating the transition from one year to the next. There is something soothing in looking back nostalgically. There is something powerful in visualising the coming year. But what I enjoy most, is the grounding realization that New Years Eve really is like every other night; there is no pause, no mark in time – this night feels significant because we make it so.

So on December the 31st 2013 I did not work on any New Year’s resolutions, instead I just decided to have a lovely afternoon in the kitchen making nibbles for a relaxed and happy evening.

And a perfect day of cooking for me just has to start with a lazy cup of coffee and browsing foodie blogs. As I already had my menu planned out, I started looking at ideas for drinks. And because I realized that I was chilling two bottles of bubbly a head and that these would – well, go to our head – I decided to try this non-alcoholic mocktail.

This drink tastes fabulous! A bit of sweetness a hint of spice and tons of moreishness. An amazing mocktail – and it gets better:  when we came in from watching the fireworks and we were frozen to the bone, my friend JvP had the fabulous idea of using  hot water to turn it into a tea.

So here I am, 1st of January 2014 sipping on some more of these fabulous bubbles.

I hope that right at this moment you are sitting there enjoying a happy New Year – my wishes are with you!

Ingredients
(from the blog ‘Girl Cooks World’)

30g (¼ cup) ginger
2-3  (¼ cup) stalks of lemongrass
200g (2 cups) sugar
150ml (¾ cup) water
(Thai) basil leaves
optional: ice
Sparkling water
a few limes

Recipe

  1. Peel and then thinly slice the ginger.
  2. Cut the lemongrass stalks into very thin slices (only use the bottom part of the stalks not the woody top section).
  3. Combine ginger, lemon grass sugar and water in a small saucepan.
  4. Cover and bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes without a lid.
  6. Allow to cool 30min or even 1 hour.
  7. Pour through a sieve into a clean bottle or jar.
  8. Allow to cool and use immediately or refrigerate for a few weeks.
  9. To finish the drink:
  10. Add some basil leaves to a glass.
  11. If using add ice.
  12. Top with sparkling water.
  13. Serve with some lime wedges and a spoon to smash the basil leaves and stir.
The comfort of home in a bowl of chicken soup

The comfort of home in a bowl of chicken soup

I have to admit something: I do not understand soup. Yes, I enjoy a delicious small drop in an amuse glass, but anything else seems like a waste of an opportunity to eat something ‘proper’ – I want to bite into my food; not drink it.

But here I was cooking soup…and you know how I got there?

Well, despite the fact that I live in a big city, it is more like a village sometimes.
Let me explain:

When I walk through town I might have to dodge hordes of tourists,  but as soon as I get close to home I recognize, and greet, the old lady walking her dog; I catch a glimpse of my neighbour through the window and he waves at me; I chat to the guy next door as she we let ourselves in the house.

I might live in the center of a buzzing city full of distractions, but my little neighbourhood is a quiet, friendly and warm community. We know each other by name and we take care of each other.

So when I go food shopping I sometimes take a list from the elderly lady down-stairs. When I make a special treat, I take some if down stairs for her. But then, when she is ill, she does not like to eat. It becomes unbearable to watch her shrinking even further… so I had to bring out the big guns and resort to my mother’s secret weapon: Chicken Soup.

….and my neighbour got better……

So, although I might not like soup, how could I not share the recipe for this miracle cure for all ailments – a common cold, a nasty flue, a hangover and even the blues.

 

Ingredients
1 organic chicken (preferably a soup chicken, but a regular one will do)
250g of mixed soup vegetables (onion, carrot, leek, celery, parsley)
optional: 1 potato
1 cube of chicken stock
100g crème fraîche
2 tbsp flour
optional: cooked spagetthi or vermicelli
parsley

Recipe

  1. Put the chicken in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a simmer.
  2. Chop and add the vegetables (and potato if using).
  3. Cook for about 60 min for a soup chicken or 30 min for regular chicken.
  4. Remove the chicken from the stock and allow the meat to cool enough to handle.
  5. In the meanwhile pour the stock through a sieve into another pot.
  6. Rub the vegetables trough the sieve into the stock.
  7. Add the stock cube.
  8. Add the flour to the crème fraîche and blend.  Then stir in a few tbs of the stock at a time until the crème fraiche is smooth and runny (this is to avoid lumps when you add it to the stock).
  9. Stir the crème fraiche into the stock.
  10. Allow the soup to simmer for about 10-15 min, until there is no taste of flour left.
  11. Optional: cut the spaghetti or vermicelli into small pieces and carefully reheat in the soup.
  12. Pluck the chicken meat off the bone (resist nibbling on it).
  13. Add the meat to the soup.
  14. Chop the parsley and stir most of it into the soup.
  15. Serve with a sprinkling of parsley.