Chicken, gnocchi and sage soup

IMG_0867

I seem to be riding a total comfort food wave this January. I can’t help it when it’s cold outside I want a warm tummy filled with soup, or stew etc. With this soup there are 2 ways of making this – either you end up with a lot of leftover chicken, or you can use up a lot of leftover chicken. Its completely up to you. Its a great one for anyone who likes to cook economically (you’d be a fool not to really; everything tastes so much better).

Anyway to make this you will need:

For the slow cooked method to get leftover chicken

1 large chicken

2 large celery sticks

1 onion

1 clove garlic, crushed

Fresh ginger

Salt and pepper

1 carrot

1 pack freeze dried gnocchi

Cold water

Sage leaves

1 handful frozen peas

For the quicker method to use up cooked chicken

3 large handfuls cooked chicken

Approx 1l chicken stock

Ginger

1 carrot

1 celery stick

Salt and pepper

Fresh ginger

1 handful frozen peas

Sage leaves

1 pack freeze dried gnocchi

(Both recipes serve about 4 people)

If slow cooking your chicken; place the chicken in the slow cooker, to this add your (peeled and halved onion), 1 celery stick, the garlic, grate in the ginger and season with salt and pepper. Cover with cold water and cook on a low heat for 6-8 hours.

Once the chicken is cooked drain the juices into a large pan and allow the chicken to cool. Peel and thinly slice the carrot and thinly slice the celery and add this to the chicken stock soup base along with the peas. Heat your soup over a medium flame. Pull chicken (preferably the brown meat) from the chicken in small pieces and add to the soup (use about 3 large handfuls). Tear in the sage . Once the carrot and celery have softened reseason with salt and pepper and add the gnocchi. Once this is cooked serve.

Once the rest of the chicken is cold, pick this off the bones and keep for sandwiches, salads or curries.

DSC_0323

For the quicker method heat your stock over a medium heat. Grate in the ginger. Peel and slice the carrot and slice the celery. Add this to the stock along with the peas and chicken. Season with the salt, pepper and sage. When the vegetables are cooked add the gnocchi and serve once this floats on the surface of the liquid.

Easy ramen for tired stomachs

IMG_0796

Around Christmas time you really do just need to enjoy a bit of a treat and the odd overindulgence. Its practically mandatory, what with chocolate, cheese, wine and roast dinners aplenty. However after 2 Christmas dinners at D and my respective parents houses and our usual boxing day mini buffet my stomach was feeling pretty tired of rich food. I needed a break from overindulgent and to eat something a bit less hearty; something at the opposite end of the comfort food scale.

Anyway, this was so easy to make and the good news is *drumroll* I made this just for myself so you can scale it up or down to your heart’s content. Feel free to make any substitutions (like the tuna for another fish), I had to work with what I had in. I suppose this makes this a bit of a store cupboard recipe.

To make this you will need (per person):

250ml vegetable or chicken stock

Ginger root

Soy sauce

A spring onion

1 handful frozen peas

1 brick frozen spinach

2 forkfuls canned tuna

1 egg

1 bundle noodles – I used sweet potato and buckwheat

Boil your egg for 7 minutes – so that it is cooked but still slightly soft inside. While the egg is boiling heat your stock, grate in some ginger and add a dash of soy sauce. Add your frozen vegetables and stir to loosen out the frozen spinach. After about 4 minutes add the noodles to this as well as the spring onions. If your egg has cooked rinse it a few times with cold water to prevent a grey ring forming and set aside. Once the noodles have cooked, stir in your tuna so that it disintegrates into the mixture. Serve your soup out. Remove the shell from your egg and half it. Top your soup with the egg and serve.

I can assure you, your stomach will feel a bit happier once you’ve finished eating this.

Tortellini, rosemary and goats cheese soup

I always associate soups with Autumn and winter weather. I just cannot fathom the idea of eating something like leek and tomato soup on a warm day. However this soup has a light fresh flavour and takes about 20 minutes so you won’t be sweating over a hot stove for too long. The tortellini make this a hearty meal – so this is perfect after a busy day. Tortellini is often served as quite a stodgy meal in the UK (although I ate it with just butter in Italy and it was a starter there). However, this is a slightly lighter take on a quick and easy favourite and you will find you eat far less pasta than usual.

To make this soup you will need:

1 pack fresh tortellini (with the filling your your choice)

300ml chicken stock or vegetable stock

2 spring onions cut into slices

2 peppers cut into small pieces (or 1/4 bag frozen peppers)

3-4 frozen spinach brickettes or 2 large handfuls of spinach

1/2 a courgette

About 10g butter

About 50g soft goats cheese

1 sprig fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper

Serves 3

Fry your spring onions, along with your peppers and frozen spinach in the butter until the spinach has defrosted. Add extra butter while cooking if required (If using fresh spinach add this when the tortellini is added). Pour over your stock and add your rosemary and allow this to start simmering. Use a potato peeler to make thin slices of courgette (can you tell this is my new food obsession?) and add to the stock. Taste and season with salt and pepper as required.

DSC_0627

DSC_0629

DSC_0630

To this add your tortellini and simmer over a higher heat until the pasta is cooked (about 5 minutes). Once the pasta has cooked turn off the heat and gently stir in your goats cheese so a few blobs of the cheese remain.

DSC_0631

DSC_0634

DSC_0637

This soup also keeps really well for some souper leftovers!

DSC_0638

Chicken, roast red pepper and gnocchi soup

This soup recipe is a dream when you’re starving hungry. While the chicken and red peppers offer various nutritional benefits and the chicken stock acts as a bit of a pick me up, the gnocchi provides the filling stodge that we all sometimes crave. In addition, this is an excellent way of using up leftover roast chicken. This perfect sort of food for an unexpected rainy day (well it is grim up North).

To make this soup you will need:

3 handfuls of cooked chicken

2 cloves garlic

An onion

4 red peppers

Chicken stock

Salt and pepper

1 pack gnocchi

1 handful basil

Olive oil

 

Chop your peppers into 1cm pieces (approximately) and crush your garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and roast at 190°C for 15-20 minutes.

DSCN1987

When your pepper is nearly ready, peel and slice your onion and fry on a medium heat with some more olive oil until soft. Shred your chicken into small(ish) pieces and add to the onion, along with the peppers, and chicken stock. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.

DSCN1988

DSCN1991

Add the gnocchi and the basil and simmer until the gnocchi is cooked and floats to the top o the mixture. Season the soup after cooking according to taste.

DSCN1993

DSCN2008

DSCN2007

Soupy Thai Green Curry with noodles (slow cooked)

As you are probably aware, soup is probably my ultimate comfort food. When I have had a bad day or I am feeling under the weather I always turn to soup for comfort. As much as I love cake (I discussed getting a tattoo of cake to cement my love of it) it was soup that cured my broken heart last September.

This recipe is another slow cooker recipe and is an adaption of the Malaysian style chicken soup I made in September. This one obviously packs more of a punch in the spice department and the coconut milk adds more of a richness to the mix. They do suggest feeding a cold, right? Anyway, this is a beauty of a recipe for a dark, drizzly evening. You can of course make your own curry paste but I used shop bought.

To make this you will need:

1 medium chicken

1/2 a lemon

Cold water

A thumb sized piece of ginger

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsps Thai green curry paste

An onion

250ml vegetable stock

Butternut squash – 1/2 a smaller squash or the neck of a bigger one

Rice noodles

1 can coconut milk

1 tbsp fish sauce

2 large pak choi or 3 smaller ones

Heat your slow cooker on low. Put your chicken in the slow cooker breast side down. Crush your garlic, peel and slice your ginger and onion, and add to your slow cooker along with your lemon and curry paste. Cover everything with your cold water and heat on low for 6-8 hours.

2013-11-19 23.07.32

DSCN1623

Not so pretty at this point, eh?

After your chicken has cooked remove from the liquid and allow to cool slightly. Peel and chop your butternut squash into 1cm cubed pieces. Use a sieve to strain your liquid into a large pan. Add your vegetable stock at this point and heat your butternut squash in the liquid.

DSCN1625 (2)

Pick your chicken off the bones and add to the liquid again. Discard any skin and bones. Add your coconut milk and fish sauce to this. If your pan gets too full (like mine did) put some of the soup into another pan.

DSCN1628 (2)

Once your butternut squash is tender (after about 10 minutes) add your rice noodles. Once these are cooked slice the bottom off your pak choi to release the leaves. Cook the pak choi in the soup for about 1 minute then serve.

DSCN1630 (2)

DSCN1635 (2)

You should feel your spirits lift and your sinuses clear in no time at all.

Malaysian style chicken noodle soup (slow cooker style)

Chicken soup is, in my humble opinion, a remedy for all things. Hangover, stress or heartbreak. It also works particularly well on colds – handy for me as I have been making everyone around me jump with my (embarrassingly loud) sneezes.

I used my crock pot again to make this. Feel free to email if you want to just do it on the hob.

To make this soup you will need:

A medium sized whole chicken

1 onion

1 5cm piece of root ginger

3 garlic cloves

Salt and pepper

Rice noodles

1 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs fish sauce

250ml vegetable stock

2 pak choi

A large handful of green beans

A large handful of sugar snap peas

Spring onions (to serve)

Peel and quarter your onion and peel and slice the ginger. Crush the garlic. Put the chicken upside down in the slow cooker and add the onions, ginger and garlic. Season with the salt and pepper. Pour over enough cold water to cover the chicken. Cover and cook on a low heat for 6-8 hours.

DSCN1531

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and allow to cool until you can handle it. Remove the skin and then strip the chicken of the meat (I just used my fingers for this bit).

DSCN1532

Chicken licken

DSCN1535

DSCN1536

Use a sieve to strain the liquid from the slow cooker. Add to this the soy sauce and fish sauce as well as the vegetable stock. Add the chicken meat and start heating.

DSCN1537

Add the noodles, beans and sugar snap peas.

DSCN1538

Your kitchen will smell amazing

Once the noodles are soft add the pak choi and cook for another couple of minutes.

DSCN1540

To serve, top with the spring onions.

DSCN1543

Comfort food at its best

I felt much better after my chicken soup. A straightforward and healthy way to cute a multitude of problems. (However, if you are feeling really poorly you should really get someone else to make it for you!)

Attempting a vegan recipe – “Thai style” tofu noodle soup

Now as any regular reader know from my regular fish and steak posts (and related consumption) I am not exactly about to go vegan, but I do eat a lot of vegetarian and vegan meals by choice – I’d far rather eat more vegetable based meals a week and eat meal of a higher quality and welfare standard. Anyway, I digress. Inspired by a couple of vegan blogs I follow and also a man at my gym who regularly wears a t-shirt with the slogan “all this was built on tofu” I decided to knowingly attempt a vegan meal. Now this wasn’t easy, and I take my hat off to anybody who follows the vegan lifestyle by choice.

Now this recipe I use vegetable stock. I had no idea that some vegetable stock cubes contain fish products or egg. Fortunately mine contained neither but if I were to make this for an actual vegan I’d definitely make my stock from scratch just to be sure. I bought a Thai spice and seasoning mix from Asda containing birdseye chillies, ginger, garlic, galangal and lemongrass (far better for peace of mind than using my usual curry paste). I did use tofu, which is probably partially cheating as I’m told it shouldn’t be too much of a staple (forgive me, I’m new to this!) but next time I’ll cook something lentil based.

Anyway, enough of a foreword from me, here is what you need to make this recipe:

Rice noodles (I used vermicelli ones)

2 pints of vegetable stock

3 baby pak choi or 2 normal sized ones

5 or 6 shitake mushrooms (or any other kind you fancy)

Tofu

4 spring onions

2 cloves garlic

Soy sauce

Lemongrass

The juice of half a lemon

2 bird eye chillis (be careful chopping them if you wear contact lenses, chillies burn!)

(This makes 3 decent sized portions or 4 smaller portions).

Chop the tofu and mushrooms up into bitesized pieces. Slice the garlic and spring onions and chilli and cut the pak choi into 1.5 inch pieces. Put the pak choi to one side, it needs less cooking than everything else.

Obligatory shot of chopped food

Obligatory shot of chopped food

Fry the spring onions and garlic until they are soft and fragrant.

DSCN0541

Add the tofu and the mushrooms and fry for 2-3 minutes.

DSCN0542

Why did the tofu cross the road?
To prove he wasn’t chicken

DSCN0543

Pour the stock in the pan. Crush the lemongrass, slice the chillies and add them to the pan along with a good splash of soy sauce and grated ginger. Taste the soup and if you think it needs it add more seasoning (be aware the flavour develops a little over time).

DSCN0544

So apparently I make brown food a lot

Simmer the soup for at least 15 minutes. Taste and re-season accordingly. Add the lemon juice as this freshens up the flavour. Add the noodles and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the pak choi and cook for a further minute.

DSCN0546

Relax and eat enjoy your soup.

DSCN0549

So apparently I was too hungry to take an in focus picture? Note the tactical positioning of the pak choi.