Escaping to the Blue Mountains: two soups and a spicy curry

For the past few days we have been staying in an adorable cottage in the Blue Mountains. We’ll staying the entire week.

Reading a lot, writing a lot. And taking photos.

Today it’s about zero degrees (or so it feels to us, softies that we are), and drizzling rain.

We’ve been pottering around the house in flannelette shirts, red wine in hand, nibbling rum’n’raisin chocolate and playing rummy in front of the fireplace.

While confined to the house, I’ve had the luxury of simmering soup for hours, slow-cooking a curry, and generally appreciating all that is warm and comforting.

Today I’ll share with you the hot and sour soup I whipped up yesterday, a more traditional vegetable and bean soup that sat on the stove for a good two hours before making it’s way into our tummies at lunchtime, and a spicy, creamy, slow-cooked mushroom and eggplant vindaloo. Continue reading

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Cooking tom yummy soup from scratch

This post wouldn’t have been so overdue had WordPress not crashed and lost my post at 11pm last night. Here goes!

According to a meat-lover who isn’t too crazy about vegetables, this soup is really good. Ash and I loved it too, so I thought it would be worth sharing. Loaded with fresh vegetables, the broth is tasty with only just a touch of coconut milk, which gives it that moreish small-children-would-ask-for-seconds flavour.

Plus, it’s made without tom yum paste. Continue reading

A simple mushroom soup

One of the lovely things about serving a salad with every meal, is that it leaves freedom to simplify the ‘main’. Although personally I’m starting to think the salad is the main dish. The other night I did just that, simmering a mix of shiitake and oyster mushrooms in a simple broth of stock and garlic, punctuated with ginger and chilli. Continue reading

Japanese dinner bowls with otsu sauce

I’ve been wanting to make this Otsu recipe from 101cookbooks for ages, but something about the recipe has never quite felt right to me as I’m choosing what to make for dinner. I think that’s because it’s a bit heavy on the soba noodles and tofu, and light on the veggies. While the sauce sounds incredible, soba noodles are delicious, and I quite enjoy the occasional tofu, it’s not the sort of thing I’d feel nourished and energised after eating a good serving. And it’s nice to feel nourished and energised, just as it’s nice to enjoy a hearty meal without guilt.

Somehow it took me this long to figure out the solution – take those delicious otsu flavours and use them to make my own recipe, something I know I will love.

Here we have it. A small serving of soba noodles, a stack of lightly steamed greens and shallots, finely sliced tomato and a few slices of soft ripe avocado, drenched in that sweet and salty otsu sauce. Continue reading

Jabberwocky wombok soup

I love the word wombok. It’s just so much fun to say! It seems to me that it should be a made-up word from Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem Jabberwocky. It’s fun replacing a word of a song with it, and it’s equally as fun to cook with.

Wombok is actually just Chinese cabbage. Delicate, crunchy, delicious cabbage, shredded finely into a curry and sweet corn soup. Continue reading

Mushroom san choy bow

You know how occasionally you taste a dish that just blows your mind? Often it’s something really simple, like those Chinese beans with dried olives we had on Friday night at the pub downstairs. Sometimes, like the dinner Ash’s Mum made for us with shiitake mushrooms, beans and rice, have a fair few ingredients. This recipe is adapted from hers. Despite the list of ingredients, the recipe itself couldn’t be more straightforward. Just prep all your ingredients before you start and you’ll have dinner on the table in 10 minutes, if that.

In keeping with the Chinese theme this week, I present my version of san choy bow. Continue reading