Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

This is recipe I got from Nina Simonds, an American lady who specialises in Asian cooking. I sat in on her course at the Ballymaloe Cookery School several years ago. In Vietnam this soup is eaten for breakfast or lunch. It is the perfect soup for fighting off a cold.

Method:

  • Using a heavy knife, cut the chicken through the bones into 10 or 12 pieces (if you get your chicken from a butcher ask them to do this for you)
  • Put the chicken, water ginger, star anise and cinnamon in a large heavy pot and bring to the boil.
  • Turn the heat to low and simmering for 1-2 hours, skimming the impurities from the broth.
  • Strain the chicken and seasonings into a bowl, then return the broth to the pot skimming it again.
  • Add the fish sauce and black pepper, and reduce the heat to a bare simmer, just to keep the broth warm.
  • In a large pot bring 4 pints of water to the boil.
  • Drop the noodles into the water and stir to prevent them sticking together.
  • Heat until boiling and cook for a minute, or until just tender.
  • Drain in a colander and rinse under warm running water to remove the starch.
  • Using your hands or a knife, remove the skin and bones from the chicken and cut or shred the meat into thin strips.
  • Ladle equal portions of the cooked noodles into 6 serving bowls.
  • Add the bean sprouts to the hot soup, turn the heat to high and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Skim the surface to remove any impurities.
  • Ladle the chicken, bean sprouts and broth over the noodles in the bowls.
  • Sprinkle the scallions and coriander on top.
  • Serve with lime wedges and chilli slices for extra seasoning. 

Gazpacho

 

I learned how to make this delicious soup while working as a cook for a family in Spain. It is served cold, so ideal for lunch on a hot day. In spain the tomatoes are sold in season and are full of flavour. It is worth going to a good veggie shop or to your local farmers market to get really good tomatoes for this soup. Tomatoes are in season from mid summer to mid autumn.

Method:

  • Place tomatoes in large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Count to 20, pour the water off and peel the skin off the tomatoes.
  • If you have a moulis put the tomatoes through this to take out the seeds, and then add the other ingredients and whizz in a food processor or liquidizer.
  • If you don't have a moulis not to worry, place the tomatoes along with all the other ingredients in a liquidiser and buzz for as long as it takes for the mixture to reach a smooth consistency.
  • Put in the fridge until it is nicely chilled, just before serving add half pint of iced water to thin it out a little.
  • Garnished with a few teaspoons of chopped cucumber, olives, peppers or onions.

 

White Winter Vegetable Soup

Method:

  • Remember you want this to be white so no green stuff!
  • Sweat the onions in a big knob of butter with salt and pepper until nice and soft.
  • Add all the other vegetables and sweat for another 10 minutes, being very careful not to brown them.
  • Add the stock and simmer until everything is soft.
  • Liquidise and then if you want it extra smooth, sieve in a fine sieve, this is really worth it.
  • Finally, add cream and adjust seasoning.
  • Tip - We highly recommend the sieving bit, taste it before and after, you'll be amazed by the difference.
  • Also, don't worry if it's not really white after whizzing. The cream will sort this out! 

Mushroom Soup

Method:

  • Sweat the onions and celery in a knob of butter with salt and pepper until nice and soft.
  • Add mushrooms and sweat for another minute or two.
  • Add stock and cook again for a few minutes.
  • Add cream and season to taste.
  • Liquidise in pulse mode until you get a fine but not smooth texture.
  • Tip - We use button mushrooms but if your sceptical about the flavour of your mushrooms, add in some dark older ones or some breakfast flats (a larger flatter mushy)
  • Also a few teaspoon of soya sauce can improve the flavour tremendously. 

Vegetable Stock

 

Any bits of left over vegetables and a few pepper corns and herbs. Beetroot is not so suitable unless you're looking for purple stock! Things like the green of the leek that you left out of your white winter vegetable soup are ideal. The most common vegetables used are carrots, white turnip, onions, celery, mushrooms and fennel. Parsley is the most used herb but feel free to experiment.

Method:

  • Bung them all into a big sauce pan with cold water and bring up to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.
  • Strain through a sieve. This freezes perfectly.
  • We use old milk cartons because you can cut them open to get it out and defrost quickly. 

Pages