Posts tagged ‘broth’

January 29, 2012

Last Night’s Dinner: Greens and Noodles with Citrus Broth

We have already documented our feelings about Nigel Slater’s TV series and, judging by the amount of people who find themselves reading this blog after searching for the words ‘Nigel Slater creepy’, then many of you are of a similar opinion. Poor soul.

He doesn’t always help himself, however. In a recent Guardian newspaper feature he advocated using fresh, lighter flavours to accompany an Asian-inflenced dish of greens, instead of ‘the dark, almost sinister spicing of the past’.

‘Sinister’? What, cumin? Ginger? C’mon Nige. Did you a recipe backwards and find some hidden meaning in it?

Well, it didn’t stop us from trying his suggestion, although we pimped the recipe by leaving out the fish sauce, adding a dessert spoon of tamarind paste and throwing in some oyster mushrooms and rice noodles for four minutes at the end to make a more substantial stew. And very nice it was too. Fiery, fresh and fragrant. And definitely not sinister in any way.

Nigel’s recipe is here.

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August 8, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Roast tomato and pepper broth with potato, butter beans and greens

(Our last home-cooked meal in London)

Believe it or not this hearty yet summery supper came about as a way of emptying our fridge and store cupboard before our impending move from the city. It’s typical that we would have a couple of peppers, some tomatoes, a few old spuds and half a cabbage (or similar) lying around. It’s also typical that this is the kind of thing we’d end up making with those ingredients.

The first job was to roast a red and a yellow pepper, just coated with a little olive oil, along with a couple of chillis and three cloves of garlic, still in their skins. Also into the oven went a small tray of halved tomatoes, skin side down, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. They both need to roast at around 190 degrees for 25 minutes or maybe a little longer. The tomatoes should be starting to collapse and the peppers’ skins almost blackened in parts.

When done, drop the peppers into a plastic bag, tie it and leave to cool/steam for a few minutes – this will help loosen the skins a little. Leave the tomatoes to cool a little, in their roasting tray.

After 5 minutes or so, take the peppers from the bag, slice them open, deseed them and peel as much skins from them as you can (but don’t worry too much if some skin remains). Slip the garlic cloves from their skins and chop the stalks off the chillis. Tip all the roasted veg into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Next, pour the roast veg sauce into a large saucepan/stockpot and add 400ml of water or vegetable stock. Heat until it comes to a boil and then leave on a slow simmer. It should look like a rustic tomato soup.

Now, take your potatoes and boil them until just tender and steam whatever greens you have (dark green cabbage, kale or cavolo nero), stalks removed, for around four minutes or, again, until just tender.

Tip the potatoes and greens into the soup along with a tin of butter bins (other white beans would be fine here but the size of the butter beans is good with this) and simmer for five minutes.

Serve, if you like, with crusty bread.

Depending on the exact amount of ingredients this will turn out more like a stew or more like a soup. I don’t think it really matters. What counts most of all is the deep, rich flavour and aroma of that roast tomato and pepper broth.

One final thing: we’ve described this as summery. Why? Well, because ripe summer tomatoes and the ‘new’ potatoes we used seem to shout of that season. But this is a dish that translates to autumn or winter too. I’d try to make it more ‘stewy’, less ‘brothy’ for those darker months.

June 16, 2011

Last night’s dinner: Shiitake mushroom and Chinese leaf broth

Sunday 5 June

This broth is all about the stock that gives it its depth of flavour. The essential ingredient is dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for an hour to leach out their earthy flavour before making the soup/stew. The rest of the method is mainly about adding spice – and greens. We got the basic recipe from a Japanese friend, who passed it on from a Korean friend. I’m not sure where it originates.

So, first, soak a small pack of dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water for an hour or so until they are soft and you have a litre or so of earthy brown stock. Next, in a large soup pan, fry a medium onion in a little oil (a mix of sunflower and sesame oil works well). Then add fresh sliced shiitake mushrooms (oyster or chestnut will also be fine) – about 10 of them, or a typical supermarket tray of them. Fry for 5 minutes. Next, add a 2-inch piece of grated fresh ginger, a finely chopped clove of garlic and some chopped fresh chilli (as much as you can take – it should be hot!). Then add half a head of roughly chopped chinese leaf, followed by the dried shiitake mushrooms and their stock. Add around 750ml of boiling water and then simmer down for around 40 mins until the dish is somewhere between a thin broth and a hearty stew. When just about done, add a handful of rice noodles and heat through for an extra 5 minutes until they’re cooked through. Serve immediately with a garnish of coriander leaves. To reiterate, the soup should be as spicy as you can take it! Serves 2.

April 29, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Pho

Wednesday 27 April

Pho, if you don’t know, is a traditional Vietnamese broth. We make various versions of this, adding vegetables, noodles and herbs and fresh chilli to our liking.

The basis is a good stock. To make the stock, soften an onion, a celery stack, two carrots, some cloves of garlic, a good bit of fresh ginger root, half a lime and some chillis with a tiny bit of oil in a deep pan. In this instance I also added a little bit of butternut squash that was lurking in the fridge – cauliflower, sweet potato, parsnip or other rot veg could also be used, Then add water and simmer for 20-30 minutes. To ‘season’ the stock as it cooks we add a splash of Chinese rice vinegar, a smidgeon of sesame oil, soy sauce, the stalks of some fresh coriander, basil and parsley, a star anise, two cloves, a teaspoon of coriander seeds and some peppercorns. You can also add a teaspoon of tomato puree and tamarind paste if you like. We like.

When the veg is soft, strain it through a sieve to remove the vegetables and return it to a clean pan. Taste and add a little more soy if necessary. Really you can then add what you like – you’re almost done. In this instance we added some rice noodles, shitaake mushrooms and deep fried tofu. To serve, garnish with some coriander leaf, a little chopped chilli and a squeeze of lime. The soup should be hot and fragrant with a good deep flavour coming from the broth.

One of Ella’s favourites here at ETP Towers.

March 9, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Shiitake Mushrooms in a Ginger Broth

Wednesday 8 March

The main reason I made this was to use up some of the week’s remnants of veg by making a stock for a soup or broth. Plus, the star of this week’s veg box was some fine purple sprouting broccoli.

So I made a quick stock with an onion, a couple of carrots, a leek and a tomato from the bottom of the fridge. For an Asian-influenced stock I add to this general base garlic, a chilli, some Szechuan pepper corns, stalks from a bunch of fresh coriander and lots of fresh ginger. After simmering for 20 minutes I strain it through a sieve and then add a fair bit of soy sauce and a good dessert spoon of tamarind paste (one of our new ‘secret’ ingredients). Anyway, this stock recipe always varies slightly but never too much. If it’s too bitter add a teaspoon of sugar.

That’s the bulk of it done. Reheat the stock, add the sliced shiitake mushrooms, then the broccoli a minute later and wait until the broccoli is just tender. Leave to simmer for 4 minutes. To serve, I add some chopped red chilli and some coriander leaves.