Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jamie's Mushroom soup - sans croûtes

Here is another quick soup that I made using my Cuisinart stick blender from Kitchenware Direct. Don’t forget that you could win one of these brilliant appliances for yourself, just enter HERE.

Now, back to this Mushroom Soup. I actually have my own mushroom soup recipe that I always use, but this version is from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals cookbook.

If you are Jamie, or if you have seen this on his television series, you should be able to whip up this soup – together with some Stilton, apple and walnut croûtes (toasty breads) – in just 15 minutes.

But I am not Jamie Oliver, and I do not have the ’15-minute mindset’. Heck, I can barely even remember that it’s been a week since I last blogged! So, as usual, this recipe took longer than specified. For me, slow and steady wins the taste race, and what’s the hurry, anyway?

Truth be told, I was not that keen on the use of basmati rice in this soup. Usually, a cubed potato does a better job of thickening the soup, and gives a nicer flavour. Just as well the stick blender was able to churn through the rice to make it amalgamate more smoothly with the mushrooms.

Mushroom Soup
serves 4

2 onions, finely sliced
2 tblsp olive oil
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
¼ tsp dried thyme
2 tsp crushed garlic
6 medium-large portobello mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
½ cup basmati rice (uncooked)
1 litre boiling water
Cream and truffle oil or truffle salt (optional), to serve


1. Place the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

2. Crumble the stock cube into the pan, and add the thyme and garlic and stir again.

3. Add the sliced mushrooms and rice and stir to coat with the oil mixture.

4. Pour in the boiling water and bring the soup to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

5. Remove soup from the heat and use a stick blender to puree the soup until it is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. To serve, pour into bowls and swirl some cream and truffle oil (or salt) on top.

Tip: This soup can be cooled, then frozen, in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver 15 Minute Meals

Ingredients, including portobello mushrooms, onions and rice.
And some truffle oil for later.

Didn't have time to make Jamie's croûtes, so made do with some bought garlic bread instead.

Giveaway! - Enter to win

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win this fantastically useful Cuisinart stick blender, thanks to Kitchenware Direct.

Just click HERE to enter.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Zucchini Soup with Giveaway Cuisinart Stick Blender

Ah, Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
With a nip in the night air comes a hankering for a bowl of something warming.
And this zucchini soup really fits the bill - it's not too heavy, chock full of healthy vegetables, and best of all, extremely tasty.

Well, actually, that's not all. It's also supremely simple to make. So, let's get straight into the recipe. I know the real reason you are here is for the GIVEAWAY.

Just promise me you'll try this soup first. *pretty please? you won't regret it!*

Easy Zucchini Soup
serves 2***

1 tsp olive oil
2 zucchini, halved and sliced
½ tsp crushed garlic
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tblsp cream (optional)
Salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add the zucchini and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes, or until zucchini softens (don’t let the garlic burn).
3. Pour in the stock and cream and simmer for 8 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and puree in the saucepan using a stick blender, until smooth.
Alternatively, cool slightly and transfer the soup to a blender and process until smooth.
5. Return to the saucepan and reheat, if desired.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

***Double the ingredients to serve 4

As long as you have some lovely fresh vegetables, a mug of delicious soup is not far away.
In the past week, I've made zucchini soup, broccoli soup and potato and leek soup.

The tastiness of your soup also depends on the stock that you use.
No time for homemade stock, though. Here, I used 1½ cubes of Massel chicken stock in 2 cups of boiling water. Fantastic flavour.
A stick blender is a wonderful tool for soup - win one further on!

This really is a quick and easy soup to make. Very versatile, it can also be served cold.

Kitchenware Direct Giveaway!

Thanks to Kitchenware Direct, you could this fab prize!
When Brad from Kitchenware Direct offered to provide a giveaway on this blog, I spent a wonderful time on the Kitchenware Direct site, browsing the beautiful products, trying to decide on a prize (if they were a bricks-and-mortar store, I would have been kicked out for taking so long to decide).

So, just for you: One lucky reader could win a gorgeous new Cuisinart stick blender.
I chose it especially, because it comes with a chopper attachment that is so useful for chopping and blending small amounts of herbs or spices, even mayonnaise; great when you don't want to drag out your large food processor.
And the stick blender and attachments are very easy to clean - the stainless steel finish looks good and it's easily kept that way.
To enter, just tell me what your favourite soup is, and why. Did you make it yourself, or did you enjoy it during a special meal? I'd love to know!

 Enter by leaving a comment on this post, or email (details below). Entries close midnight 5th May 2013. Prize can only be delivered to Australian addresses. Other conditions are below. Good luck!
This contest is now Closed.

The winner is Tina@bitemeshowme

Thanks for all your lovely entries!

Conditions of Entry
1. Entry to this contest is by a comment on this post, describing your favourite soup and why. Alternatively, enter by sending an email to oohlookbel2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
2. Entries close at midnight 5 May 2013.
3. The prize can only be delivered to Australian addresses. Prize will be supplied and delivered by Kitchenware Direct.
4. Please include an email address or your blog URL in your entry so I can contact you if you win.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spiced chicken with tabouli and straying into Fashion

Recently, I realised (very late, too late) that this blog of mine has been online for over 5 years. Maybe I should have made something to celebrate this milestone, but I forgot. Ho hum, so blasé

During those years, I’ve been fairly consistently (exclusively?) reading food blogs. Sure, there have been a couple of forays into the ‘lifestyle’ and craft blog scenes, but I’ve always bookmarked more food blogs than any other type. Until now.

For I have discovered fashion blogs. Oh, they are so envy-making! I’d list some for you, but there are so many, and not a week goes by where I don’t discover yet another site dedicated to pictures of a slim pretty young thing smiling coyly at the ground, with an outfit credit underneath, like: Dress: Tibi. Jacket: Zara. Bag: Celine. Shoes: Gianvitto Rossi. Sunglasses: Prada. Bracelets: Hermes, Gorjana. It's like another world, and it is, a world where a slight breeze is always flicking your perfect hairdo and your blog photos look like a spread in Vogue. 

But you can’t eat fashion, can you? What I am trying to say, I suppose, is that even though we might stray from our committed blog path in life, we will always come back to it, eventually. So food blogs will always be on my reading list. (Though, if you want to see a wonderful combination of fashion, food, photos and writing, check out this)

And thank you to you, if you have Ooh, Look… in your reader. I’m sorry that I’m sometimes a bit slack with the updates, but I do appreciate your patronage and hope to welcome you to this site for another 5 years, at least.

Here’s a recipe to say Yay!

Spiced Chicken with Tabouli
serves 4

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground turmeric
pinch of dried chilli flakes
zest of 1 lemon finely grated
4 x 200g chicken breast fillets, flattened slightly

Minted yoghurt:
3 tsp crushed garlic
2 tblsp chopped mint leaves
1 cup Greek yoghurt
Salt and pepper

50g burghul (cracked wheat)
Bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
½ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 ripe tomatoes, seeds removed, finely diced
1 Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds removed, finely diced
Juice of ½ a lemon
40ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper


1. For the chicken: In a large bowl, combine half the olive oil with the oregano, cumin, turmeric, chilli and lemon zest. Add the chicken breast fillets, stirring to coat. Marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

2. For the minted yoghurt: Stir together the garlic, mint and yoghurt in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. For the tabouli: Place burghul in a bowl and cover with hot water and stand for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Cool. Then, combine the burghul with the parsley, mint, garlic, tomatoes and cucumber and mix well. Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil and season to taste.

4. To cook the chicken: Preheat oven to 180C/360F. Put the remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the marinated chicken breast and sear until golden on both sides. Season with salt and pepper, then place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for another 5-6 minutes, until cooked through.

5. To serve: Place the tabouli on a plate and top with chicken. Serve with minted yoghurt.

recipe adapted from Good Weekend (Neil Perry).
Ingredients: (top) for the tabouli: mint, parsley, cucumber, tomato, burghul
(bottom) marinade for the chicken:olive oil, turmeric, cumin, orgeano, chilli flakes
Serve the chicken on a bed of tabouli, with minted yoghurt to dollop over