Category Archive: Soup

  1. Carrot soup with sour cream, dill and pine nuts

    This carrot soup has a certain farm-like decadence to it. It is rich while nourishing and looks beautiful. You can make it vegetarian if you wish, but the chicken stock does add another layer of flavour. Punchy caraway and mustard seed add depth of flavour to the sweetness of the carrot while the garnishes – sour cream, dill and pine nuts – add a creamy richness.

    Carrot Soup

    I imagined myself eating this dish at an outdoor table on a warm summer evening, watching the stars begin to glimmer. However, as it is made from a lasting root vegetable it is also seasonally versatile – it just happens to taste the best when the carrots have been pulled straight out of the ground. Serve with a cool glass of California chardonnay.


    Serves 3-4


    1kg carrots, peeled and cut into 1inch rounds

    2 sticks celery, cut into chunks

    3 banana shallots, sliced

    2tbs olive oil

    Splash of white wine

    500ml chicken or vegetable stock

    1tsp dried dill

    1tbs mustard seeds

    1tbs caraway seeds

    salt and pepper

    To garnish

    4 dessert spoons sour cream

    4tbs pine nuts

    4tbs fresh chopped dill


    Start by sweating the vegetables and dry spices in a medium saucepan in a dessert spoonful of olive oil with a teaspoon of salt stirred through, which helps the vegetables break down. It’s great to get a bit of colour on the shallots as their caramelised flavour lends beautifully to the sweet carrots.

    Once the vegetables have a bit of colour on them, pour in the white wine followed by the chicken stock. If the vegetables aren’t covered with liquid, top it up with water. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer. Cook until the carrots are completely soft, about 30-45mins.

    When the carrots are soft, take the soup of the heat and blend it until it is a fine puree. Let it down with a bit of water until it is the desired consistency. You don’t want it to thick, nor too thin. Think the of the body of double cream, that’s what you’re going for. Add plenty of fresh cracked pepper and a bit of salt if the flavour needs a bit more oomph.

    To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil and add a dallop of sour cream in the middle, laying it down gently so it rests on top of the soup. The sour cream really boosts and balances the flavour of the sweet carrots. Sprinkle over the dill and finally scatter the pine nuts.

  2. Good Morning Vietnam!

    It really is morning here in Vietnam, so in this case use of this cliche line is appropriate, and it is absolutely beautiful here on the lagoon where we are staying near Hue.

    The fishing boats wake me up at 4:30AM with their putt-putt-putting and the swooshing of their net very near to our bedroom. I don’t mind at all. The sun is a glowing orb of red, typical of this part of the world and we enjoy being awake when it rises over the mountains in the distance.

    Vietnam is an amazing country. The people are friendly and humorous and they work incredibly hard everyday. The landscape is magical and the history is fascinating. I feel I’ll never want to leave.

    Naturally one of the biggest parts of this adventure is the food. Vietnamese has been a favourite of mine for many years, being a staple in Seattle and an slight obsession of my step-dad, but eating the real deal here surpasses any expectations I could ever have dreamed up.

    I plan to write more posts about Vietnam and the fabulous food adventure I am having here because my obsession just got deeper!

    Let’s start wish breakfast, a steaming bowl of Pho Ga ( said Ph-oa G-ah).

    There is something so satisfying about rice noodles in clear broth. It’s the chicken noodle soup of Vietnam but for breakfast, so it really clears your head and mind for the day (and your sinuses, depending on how many chillies you add).

    So here is the rundown for Pho – it’s like any culture’s chicken soup: your mom makes it best, your grandma even better; it starts with great stock; it makes you feel better even if you feel good; it’s comforting; it’s pretty cheap to make.

    This recipe can be adapted to your taste. I learned to make a better version than I have before at a fabulous cooking school near Hoi An.


  3. Celeriac Soup

    Brrrrrr! It was so cold yesterday (and by that I mean it snowed!!!) I just had to make some soup for lunch, and maybe for lunch today too come to think of it… I guess I don’t need an excuse such as snow to make soup really… I make soup at least twice a week. Some might say I’m a soup fiend, I say I am a soup worshipper. Talk about a comfort food to warm the cockles of your soul when the weather is yucky and the day a bit dull. Rich as you want and healthy as you please, soup is a wonderful food to serve, so let’s get started on one of my favourites right now. I predict many more to come on my current broth based craze!

    Celeriac Soup is made from celery root, available at any local farmer’s market this time of year, and brings with it that wonderfully fresh flavour of celery but with the starchiness of a potato. It’s also about as variable as our favorite spud but with a little more zest. In other words, plain ‘ol Potato Soup might seem to lack imagination, but serve Celeriac Soup and your guests might be just that much more impressed!


  4. Italian Style Veggie Soup

    It’s just starting to get chilly out and that means time for garlic. I don’t know if it’s the earth telling us to stock up on vitamin C, but garlic is everywhere at this time of year. As for me, I don’t think there is anything better than hearty veggie soup with loads or garlicky flavour to ward of that chilly feeling.

    It’s beyond simple, a one pot deal and just what you need for a cold day and a great use for all your leftover market bought veg.