A huge part of my cooking consists of improvising – I was planning to make some sort of stir fry with a chicken breast, but it turns out I should have taken the chicken breast out of the freezer the night before (not just a couple of hours earlier).
Back home at lunch time the options were two: cook something else or find a way to defrost the chicken quicker. That is when I came up with the idea of making chicken broth. Chicken broth – best known as home cold remedy. Tastes best if someone you love makes it for you :) But does it really work?
You will need:
- Chicken breast or thighs
- one onion sliced
- 2 small potatoes, sliced
- 1/2 a stock cube
- fresh herbs – I used thyme, parsley and oregano
- a knob of butter (optional)
I used onion and potato but if you like you can use other vegetables like carrots, turnips etc. The above makes 2 portions of soup.
You can start cooking all your ingredients together – to make sure that your chicken is cooking throughout it’s best to chop it into chunks. If you do this half way through cooking you will need to wash everything the raw chicken has touched with soup and water, to avoid contamination.
The soup needs to cook for about 30-40 minutes for best results. I think some of magical properties might be lost if you blend it. Add salt and pepper to taste as you go along. In the last few minutes I added vermicelli pasta.
A new take on the beloved red soup. This soup has, apparently, become famous worldwide. I kid you not. I have friends visiting malta asking if they will ever be able to sample this amazing liquid. It is only a tomato soup at the end of the day.. or is it?
You will need:
- about 6 large tomatoes, chopped and deseeded (tomato seeds are amongst the most commonly found things in an appendix on removal.. urban legend? Hmm, better not take our chances on this one)
- a stock cube, preferably vegetable
- 1.5 litres of water (ideally boil some of it so you’re not adding cold water to your ingredients)
- onion, finely chopped
- oil/ spray oil for frying
- 1/3 packet Knorr tomato soup
- corn flour
- 1/2 a fresh chili, very finely chopped
- tobasco sauce
- a blender, peeled and chopped (no, not really..)
This soup is a hot take on the original red soup or it can also be dubbed the cheater’s version due to its inclusion of packet soup. I’m not sure if it makes a big difference but I see it as insurance if you’re not entirely sure about the outcome of your soup.
Fry your onion in spray oil or any frying oil, gently adding water to soften the onion and prevent it from burning. Add the chopped chili and continue frying and stirring.
Add your tomatoes and continue cooking and stirring. When your tomatoes have softened a little bit, add the water and stock cube and let the mixture boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add 1/3 packet of the powdered soup and quickly hide the packet, or leave it out entirely if you prefer. Add hotness with the tobasco sauce, according to taste.
Leave your soup alone for another 5-10 minutes and when your tomatoes have softened sufficiently blend the mixture. After blending, mix 2 teaspoons of corn flour with a half glass of water and add to your soup. Continue cooking. Add more tobasco and pepper.
Also know as ‘the soup with many optional ingredients’ – this soup started out as a simple potato soup, but it happened to inherit ingredients from the main dish as they were being prepared simultaneously.
onion finely chopped
butter for frying (about a tablespoon)
some wine, red or white – whatever you didn’t finish last night
potatoes peeled and chopped
a chicken breast, or boneless thigh defrosted (optional) // alternatively you can use ham
one or two eggs (optional)
fry onion in butter stirring until it is soft, add the wine and fry a bit more
dissolve a stock cube in about a litre of boiled water
add the whole thing to the onion and add the potatoes
leave to simmer for about 30 minutes – you don’t need to give it any attention but stir it occasionally if you want
if you want to add chicken or ham do it half way through simmering time
add raw egg or two slowly while stirring the boiling mixture – this is something similar to chinese soups :)
Blend the whole thing when potatoes are soft and chicken is cooked
add salt and pepper to taste
The butternut squash – also known as the butternut pumpkin or Cucurbita moschata – was a delightful discovery in my kitchen. It’s not that easy to find and surprisingly most vegetable hawkers will not even have heard of it. If you have trouble finding one just email me and I’ll let you know where to go. This recipe was the suggestion of a work colleague. It sounded simple enough and I was very curious to try out something I’d never tasted before.
You obviously need to be prepared for this one – although after some research I found many butternut squash recipes, so I’m likely to buy another one very soon. Apparently it’s also very nutritious and in some countries used often in making baby food. Aside from the butternut squash you will only need: walnuts, 1 onion, 1 clove of garlic, stock and water. It’s THAT simple, see?!
Chop up your butternut squash first. I didn’t peel it and when it was far too late realized that I might have needed to peel it. A quick internet search told me it’s ok to eat the peel so I left it there, but most recipes will tell you to peel it. I can guarantee that the peel becomes tender enough to blend easily and does not leave a bitter taste. In case you’re wondering, you can also eat this vegetable (fruit? it is debatable) raw and it tastes half way between a honey melon and a pumpkin. I know because I’ve tried it of course. However if you decide to peel it, it’ll probably be much easier to chop.
Fry the chopped onion and minced garlic in a small amount of olive oil until they just begin to brown. Throw in the chopped butternut squash and a stock cube and fill with water until the butternut squash is just covered. Leave it to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetable is soft enough to blend. Blend :)
Crush the walnuts in any manner you deem fit. Throw them into the blended soup and leave to cook for a few minutes. Blend again, unless you prefer a crunchier soup, but remember that blending will release more walnut flavour into the soup and this is probably what you’ll be wanting at this point. I added a little bit of salt but you don’t really have to do that. The taste is nutty and sweet and unlike most soups I’ve ever tried before. Very impressed!
Unfortunately there is no picture of this soup… nay, this phenomenon is culinary art.
Driving home from work one afternoon it suddenly occurred to me that I had 5 tomatoes in the fridge that would soon be past their prime (and days away from growing a pair of legs). I decided that it would be a pity for these plump tomatoes to go to waste and so concluded that I would have to cook them that same day. As I was preparing a quick lunch I chopped the tomatoes into quarters, chucked them into water with a clove of garlic, roasted sunflower seeds and some oregano and let them simmer for close to an hour. I remembered the throw in about a teaspoon of sugar some time in between. When the tomatoes had softened sufficiently and I was tired of giving my concoction attention, I blended the whole thing and just let it sit there. It didn’t look good. It was frothy and smelled somewhat sweet for a soup. Having to go back to work I placed the soup in the fridge and thought I’d worry about it later. Or throw it out, whichever came first.
Lucky for the soup the next day was a sunday so after some thought I brought the soup out to revive it. I boiled it again and added some cornflour mixture. When I wasn’t looking Matt threw in some tobasco sauce. (The reason being that I merely was not looking and not because I don’t approve of tobasco sauce). And I have no idea what happened there, seeing as it was so simple, but it turned out to be delicious. Just ask our friend dave! He was the one to give it it’s outrageous name.