Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own


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Courgette Cream Soup

Hello my foodie friends! Busy times around here, so quick and healthy solutions are required without sacrificing flavour. Also, with the most caloric holiday season of the year around the corner, I like to keep it as light as possible as long as I can, before chocolates, pannetone and other Christmas delights become impossible to resist…

Last evening I prepared this simple and easy cream of courgette soup that I’d like to share, I hope you like it! An easy formula that can be applied with any other vegetable you fancy: aubergine, pumpkin, carrots…

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Shchi remastered (with Middle-Eastern Meatballs)

I can´t believe that 10 months have gone away since I started this blog! 60 posts later, it’s time to start revisiting some of my favourite recipes, to get creative and add a different twist. Shchi, the classic Russian cabbage soup was one of my first posts and definitely among my favourites! Now that autumn is finally here, some days ago I was really feeling like eating Shchi again, I haven’t cooked it since the first post! But this time, I added some Middle-Eastern style meatballs, and the fusion turned out amazingly well!

I slightly varied the Shchi recipe and the meatballs are of my creation, however you’ll notice a clear Middle-Esatern influence: I prepared them with bulgur, inspired by the traditional Kebbeh, and it just gave them the perfect texture! I think I’ll always use bulgur from now on instead of bread crumbs or flour. A pinch of cinnamon, among other typical spices, is a little secret I’ve been applying to my meatballs since I first saw the delightful movie “A Touch of Spice” (2003), which I highly recommend by the way, every foodie should watch it!

Would you like to try it? It’s a great healthy complete meal to warm up your evenings! and I made Yakisoba with the remaining cabbage, yummy!

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#InstaFood Post – The Ultimate Gourmet Burger

Yes, I’m the kind of person that likes to instagram every delicious piece of  food that I take to my mouth, both home-made or restaurant’s. #Instafood and #FoodPorn are my sort of hashtags.

If it’s a complete recipe (that we first loved at home), it generally makes it to a post, but if it’s something very simple I put together quickly and had turned out great, it makes just a good Instagram material.

However, today, after instagraming the most delicious gourmet burger we have had in ages, I thought it was worth sharing it! Although all we’ve done was drive to the supermarket to buy the ingredients, the cooking involved was minimal, the result was so amazing that I had to share this magical combination with whoever gets to read this blog!

Most of the recipe is actually summarised in the Instagram post, but if you want more details on the ingredients and the making, keep reading!

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A Summer Celebration – Scones with Sobrasada and Brie cheese

My parents are on holidays visiting from Argentina and last week  it was my father’s birthday so I decided to prepare a little celebration. Instead of cooking a traditional courses meal I prepared a variety of dishes for a relaxed and fresh summer dinner. My choices were easy to make and some of them can be cooked in advance, so there’s no need to slave oneself in order to offer a “birthday banquet”. Here’s what I cooked:

  • Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche (already posted here)
  • Cheese; Sausage and Dried Fruit Platter: the cheeses were a French cow’s milk Saint Paulin and a Spanish goat’s semi-cured cheese; the sausages were two kind of Secallonas, a Catalonian typical dry sausage and the dried fruits were figs, pistachios and cashews
  • Pulpo (octopus) a la Gallega
  • Scones with Sobrasada and Brie Cheese (today’s recipe)
  • Dates with Bacon Brochettes (no need for extended recipe, just wrap deseeded dates with smoked bacon slices and put them into a brochette stick, grill them in the oven until the bacon is crispy and they’re ready to go!)
  • Tabbouleh
  • Hummus + Warm Pita Bread
  • Pa amb tomàquet (Catalonian bread with tomato): spread half a mature tomato while lightly squeezing it over a slice of home-made stile bread (it can be toasted), then add a little salt, sometimes I skip this since I’ll be eating it with already very salty stuff, and finally pour some olive oil on top. If you feel like you’re wasting a lot of tomatoes by doing this, you can use grated tomato instead.
  • Bordeaux Wine

The scones snacks I’m publishing today are a creation of “Mr. Soup Taster”. I’ve always loved scones, the traditional English tea time treat, but no one seems to know them in Spain. Therefore, one day I was preparing them for a brunch with friends so they could try them when he came out with this idea of filling them with sobrasada and cheese. Sobrasada (or sobrassada in Catalán) is a Mallorquín (Balearic Islands) sausage with a strong pimentón accent and a pâté texture. I think its strong flavour pairs very well with the softness of the Brie cheese and the slight sweetness and creaminess of the scones dough. If you can’t find Sobrasada, which I imagine might be the case outside Spain, I think any pâté would work wonderfully; the idea is to transform the traditional scones into a savoury and surprising snack!

The Scones recipe is from BBC foods, and it never fails me!

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Chicken and Artichokes Paella

At last, a Spanish recipe! It was about time I publish one; a while ago a dear friend of mine that took a look at the blog told me precisely that, not a single Spanish recipe! I know, I know, Spanish cuisine is sooo good that is unbelievable that it took me this long, but here we are and with nothing less than a paella!

Paella refers both the dish and the pan where it is cooked (the same case as tagine). Since paella is usually prepared for family and friends gatherings, the pan is very shallow but big in diameter and it has two handles. As an example, a great seafood paella a good friend of mine invited me in Gandía (Valencia) during one of my first years in Spain.

The dish is original from Valencia, although is cooked all across the country and beyond, I think is one of the most international Spanish dishes. The most popular one is probably the seafood paella, however, some purists claim that the real one is the chicken and rabbit paella, with vegetables from the legendary Valencia vegetable patches (l’horta Valenciana).

The thing is that there are as many variants and recipes of paella as region and families in Spain. Each one has its own way of preparing it, little secrets, tricks and rituals around it.

Before getting into the recipe I like to share some important tricks I’ve collected from all my Spanish friends:

  1. Always have a very good quality stock ready (an excellent fish stock for the seafood paella is mandatory) and keep extra stock warm in case you need to add more during the cooking
  2. The rice used for paella is a round, short-grain and high-starch variety called “bomba”  if you can’t find it, Arborio makes a good substitute.
  3. Once you have added the rice and the stock to the pan, the rice should no longer be stirred or mixed throughout the rest of the cooking process.
  4. Because of the latter, the heat has to get uniformly to the full pan base, otherwise the rice in the centre will be overcooked by the time the rice on the sides is done. Use a pan that matches exactly one of your stove burners.
  5. The rice stuck at the bottom of the pan is called “socarrat” and it is supposed to be this way, many people (including myself) like to scratch it and eat it at the end of the meal!

 

Today I’m sharing a very unorthodox chicken and artichokes paella that turned out delicious! As I don’t have a paella, I used a regular frying pan. Take into account that paella is more about the method of cooking the rice than about the ingredients themselves. Once you have mastered it, you can be as creative as you want!

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Curry Vegetable Soup with Tofu. Mediterranean-Chinese fusion

The other day I was in the mood for a very light meal and in much need of a little detox and I thought: why not a simple a vegetable soup?  just some in-season veggies and some stock, period. And I realised I have not posted a basic vegetable soup yet and it would be a good recipe to share. So I went to a little grocery store around the corner and came back home with what I found there; a mix of winter and spring vegetables plus something I already had at home.

However… I couldn’t help myself and I end up turning my Mediterranean vegetable soup into a Chinese-inspired dish by adding some curry powder, ginger and tofu, among other Chinese flavours, to the mix and the result was wonderful! Shall we take a look at it?

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Indian Minced Beef Curry

As I’ve already told you, curries of every kind are a regular meal in our home, we love curries!

We usually freeze fish and meat after grocery shopping and once every few weeks we stop buying for a while to use all the frozen stock. This was the case, we had some mince beef that had to be used: I got creative an instead of making hamburgers I went for an Indian inspiration curry. The fact that we had 1 litre of low-fat Greek yogurt in the fridge also contributed to the idea…

It was delicious, and it is very easy to prepare. You can always replace minced beef with any other meat or vegetable protein that you have available.

I invite you to take a look at the recipe!

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A Courgette Cream with a Middle-Eastern Twist

This is a simple but delicious recipe for one of those evenings where you don’t know what to cook and you don’t have much time to do it either but you don’t want to sacrifice taste or quality. It makes a great weeknight option; besides, you can easily switch courgettes (zucchini) by aubergines, carrots or pumpkin depending on what you have at hand or feel like.

And trust me, if you use any of the above vegetables there’s no need to add cream or potatoes to make this soup creamy, you’ll be surprised by its texture! The trick is to use a lot of the solid ingredient and just enough stock to cover it on the pot.

I started to make this kind of creams mainly to rescue the occasional overstock of fresh veggies (I absolutely refuse to throw food away!) that once in a while happens in my fridge and they rapidly became a favourite in our table.

This is a short post for it is a quick recipe! Would you like to try it?

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Moroccan Vegan Rice Soup

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Spice Souk Marrakech

Marrakech is a very stimulating place, a feast of images come to my mind when I remember it: men chatting and having tea in the street, the hectic Souk full of colours and fragrances, the cheerful flowers in its gardens and avenues, women gathering under the shadow of the olive trees at the Ménara Garden, the storks nesting in the Badii Palace, the fresh and beautiful mosaic courtyards, the magnificent Koutoubia Mosque and much more… and of course food was not an exception, absolutely inspiring: refreshing mint tea, fragrant tagines (I specially remember a surprising lamb and fig tagine that I was incapable of imitate at home), fresh taboulé with grilled meat dinners at the lively Djemaa el-Fna square and the fresh grilled seafood and fish in the nearby coastal town of Essaouria.

Since I have visited it, I cook a Moroccan-inspired dish once in a while. Besides, as the Moroccan community is quite big in Spain, I am lucky enough to have an authentic grocery store locally, where I buy couscous, sometimes a delicious Moroccan flat bread, excellent beef and some of my spices like Ras El Hanout, a spices mixture which blend originally vary with the merchant selling it, but it is supposed to have the best of the house. And for us, the ones with not souk nearby, it depends on the brand.  Today I am sharing a vegan rice soup perfumed with Ras-El-Hanout, I hope you get inspired by it and travel with your taste buds to Northern Africa with me!

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A Fragrant Tomato Soup

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Although I have been a soup fan my whole life, I discovered tomato soup quite late, it was during a trip to Belgium 6 years ago. Soup is a very typical Belgian dish and there was  a varied offer in every restaurant menu. Of course I tried as many as I could!

As one usually remembers first times of important events in life; I specially recall my first tomato soup. I had it in a lovely restaurant in the charming city of Bruges (unfortunately I did not record the name). It was served with tiny meatballs, which stroke me as a great way of serving meatballs in style. Since then, I sometimes copy this idea, but I wanted a super light and easy supper this time, so I didn’t include meatballs.

This is a simple story for a simple, but mouth-watering recipe. I added my twist to this version. Let’s go with it!

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