Around the Bowl

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


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Ten months, ten posts: Reader’s Top Ten Recipes

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Hello foodies of the world! Sorry for my absence the last few weeks. I’ve been pretty busy with no time for new recipes worth posting. Although I always cook, in busy days I tend to repeat old favourites or cook easy and quick things like omelettes and salads.

The truth is, I’ve never been good at extreme multitasking, I know, is shocking to acknowledge such a thing these days, but I’ve been like this since I can remember and I’ve made my peace with it. But, as I’m also a perfectionist, I rather do one thing at the time and do it right than to do everything just like that. To me, is like my father says: sometimes is not that I don’t have the physical time,  is that I have no “mental” time. Of course I keep challenging myself to find the balance, but I won’t fight my nature either.

I’ve thought of this post a while ago and since is less time-consuming than posting a new recipe is a good way for me to show up and say hi! I reckon that after 10 month blogging, it would be a good time to make a top ten of Around the Bowl’s reader’s favourites and give these recipes a second chance to be discovered and hopefully inspire someone new!

The top ten is based on the blog statistics for all ten months and the posts are rated upon visits and sharing figures. I hope you like the recipes if you haven’t tried them before or that they inspire you once again if you did! I’ll be back soon with new soup recipes to share!

Top Ten Recipes from Around the Bowl (so far)

  1. Soup à l’ognion gratinée – French Grilled Onion Soup

  2. Indian Minced Beef Curry

  3. Mercimek Çorba – Turkish Lentil Soup

  4. Thai Prawn and Lemongrass Soup – Ken Hom recipe

  5. Ciorba de Perisoare – Romanian Meatball Sour Soup

  6. Vegetarian Risottos – Aubergine and Mushroom + Spinach, Courgette and Mushroom

  7. Parihuela – Peruvian Seafood and Fish Soup 

  8. Dal Shorba (Indian Lentil Soup) with Summer Veggies

  9. Avgolemono Chicken Soup – A Greek Egg and Lemon Chicken Soup

  10. Thai Chicken and Aubergine Yellow Curry – The Basic Recipe


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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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Piperrada/Piperade – A Basque Country Pepper Stir Fry

I recently discovered today’s recipe in the short trip we took to the Basque Country with my parents while they were here on holidays. We visited some locations both in the Spanish and the French sides and Piperrada (or Piperade in French) is cooked all over. It is basically a pepper and tomatoes stir fry, from the family of Spanish Pisto, Catalan Samfaina and French Ratatouille but with peppers as the base vegetable.

In spite of how wonderful and delicious Mediterranean cuisine is, is fair to point out that some of the best food of Spain is produced and created in the Basque Country within the less known but also fabulous Atlantic Diet. In fact, along with Catalonia, Basque Country concentrates the majority of chefs and restaurants holding Michelin stars. But there’s no need to visit a Michelin star restaurant to eat delicious food, it is served everywhere, and we indeed enjoy it!

Once in the French side, we re-visited a little restaurant in Bayonne in which we had eaten really well the first time: Auberge du Petite Bayonne; everything was certainly as good as we recall. If you happen to go, just remember to make a reservation because it is usually crowded, since not only the food, but the prices are very attractive and the staff is very friendly!

I took some pictures of the menu we had consisting of: Squid cassolette and Piperade (today’s recipe) with eggs and Bayonne ham (designation of origin, totally worth trying) as an entrée; lamb txilindrón (tomato and pepper sauce typical from Basque Country) and duck tournedos with mushroom sauce (yummy!) as a main dish. Finally, we had the marquise au chocolat as a dessert that was to die for! There is also a picture of how great an ordinary breakfast can be in a French cafeteria (that is, of course, if you enjoy croissants and bread with salted butter!).

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Piperrada

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • a dash of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finally chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 red pepper cut into strips
  • 1 green pepper cut into strips
  • 1 tin of whole tomatoes + their juice, cubed (of course you can use fresh peeled tomatoes!)
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs (skip these for a vegan option)

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté over medium heat the onion and the garlic until translucent.
  2. Add the peppers and stir fry for some minutes
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and simmer till the peppers have soften and the juice reduced.
  4. Break the eggs into the pan and stir until they have curdled.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!


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A Gastronomic Tour Through the Pyrenees and a Gem in Lourdes

Last Easter Holidays (from Friday to Monday in Catalonia) we head off to Southern France, a favourite destination of ours when we have a short break; it’s reasonable close, we can go by car, every little town has its own charm and the food is delightful! This time we headed the west side and visited Tarbes and Lourdes in the Midi-Pyrénées region, Pau in Aquitaine and  the Pyrenees National Park. We started enjoying the beauty of the Pyrenees already in Aragón, on the Spanish side, everything was green and defrost water was running across the mountains to make the landscape even more pleasant.

On the gastronomic side of the journey, the first great thing about this destination, particularly during Easter, is that they are expert chocolate manufacturers! Every town city centre that we visited had more Pâtisseries than they would possible need regarding the town sizes and most of them have a tea room to enjoy their delicacies on site. So, loving good chocolate as we do, we indulge ourselves every afternoon of our visit. In Tarbes we had a lovely afternoon tea and cake at the Royalty salon de thé. In Pau, we re-found an amazing chocolate shop that we had previously discovered at Bayonne: L’Atelier du Chocolat  that sells a great variety of dark and milk chocolate in bulk. Finally, in Lourdes the lovely and non-touristy Barzu Salon de Thé (25 Pl. Marcadal, 65100 Lourdes).

Restaurant-wise, we went to a Chinese one in Pau (Andong Meas, 7 Rue de Foix, 64000, Pau), that had a reasonable quality/price ratio but wasn’t particularly outstanding, however it’s dumpling soup was delicious!

When travelling we usually survive on frugal snacks most of the time, but we generally spot a few appealing restaurants where to have a proper and delicious full meal and discover some local specialty if possible, and we are often incredible lucky in our choices. However, this time, the last day of our journey we were visiting Lourdes that, in spite the beauty of its Castle, Gave de Pau river, Sanctuary and natural background, does not stand out for its gastronomic offer. The extremely touristy city centre has been taken with endless souvenir shops and brasseries that look like naive-tourists trap. And just when we were about to give in and content with a kebab we discovered this lovely restaurant with a great market menu: Alexandra. Unfortunately, kitchen was already closed for lunch, but we made a reservation and came back for dinner. It was totally worth it! Food was excellent, especially the foie gras and the confit du canard  (I love duck, and no one prepares it better than the French!) and so was the service, not to mention the very convenient price! They also recommended us a great local wine: protected designation of origin Madiran, a discovery to us. Here they are some mouth-watering  pictures of the complete menu:

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Finally, when it comes to breakfast, I like French croissants so much that I keep it simple: un grand café crème avec un croissant au beurre…

I hope this personal review might be useful if you ever visit the area!

Bon appétit!


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Non-Soup post – Spinach and Goat Cheese Whole-Wheat Quiche

I know this recipe has nothing to do with soup, but I was cooking it the other day for lunch and being one of my “specialities “I felt like sharing it with you as well.

A quiche is a great option to take to gatherings and to cook when entertaining at home; I’ve been cooking this for years, but when I first served it for a birthday brunch some years ago everybody liked it so much that I started doing it for this sort of events since then too.

There are two phases in its making: the pastry crust and the filling. As for the pastry you could also use a bought one when in a hurry and as for the filling it can be whatever you wish, I usually cook this one along with a quiche Lorraine. However, when it comes to the pastry crust, I hardly recommend to try the home-made, you’ll see how easy it is to make and how much healthier, the bought ones usually contain high percentages of hydrogenated fat (the worst kind).

Quiches are big in Argentina, my home country, they are part of everyday menus in most families and restaurants; in fact, my grannie Dina (my mum’s mum) used to cook a ham&cheese one very often that the whole family loved and she was the one who taught me the pastry dough that I’ve been using for around 20 years already. I have no idea where or from whom she got the recipe, and of course, there is no need to say that although I like my results, I could never make it taste exactly like hers.

In today’s version  I used whole-wheat flour  instead of white for the pastry, but you can easily switch them using the same measurements. I created the filling using a classic spinach filling formula with a French inspiration twist. Shall we try it?

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Soup à l’ognion gratinée – French Grilled Onion Soup

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After overindulging ourselves a little bit with a tapas night, the morning after Mr. Soup Taster and I went for a bike ride in spite of a miserable weather… On the way back home we found ourselves craving for something light yet comforting and warming: Onion Soup! we said in unison. This was a regular soup in our menu long before I started this blog and we began having insane amounts of soup every week.

A classic soup recipe and I dare say a world’s favourite during winter months. As the tomato soup, I brought this idea home from my trip to Belgium. Onion soups have been historically a humble meal all around Europe, since onion are cheap, easy to cultivate and to preserve, but its origin (specially of the grilled version)  is attributed to France.

There are easy variations to this soup: It is easily adaptable to vegetarian and vegan options and to a lighter plain soup without the grilled bread and cheese on the top and it is delicious all the same! Although it takes some time to prepare it,  it is very easy. Today I’m sharing the full recipe, so you can adjust it to your taste and needs.

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Artichauts (artichokes) à la Barigoule – The Soup Approach

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French Province was the first trip my sweetheart and I took together and it immediately became a special place for us; besides utterly romantic and charming we soon discovered its great food.  Even though I believe we have  a sort of gift to find delicious food wherever we go (even in places with bad reputation); it would be really hard not to do it in Provence.

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L’Olivade Restaurant

Some years later we came back to the area to discover some new villages and hidden corners and the magic was still there: great smelling bakeries in every corner, good wine and fresh in-season market food. While in Saint-Rémy de Provence we had our lunch stop at a beautiful restaurant with a lovely terrace, L’Olivade (no link available, so here is the address: 12 Rue du Château, 13210 Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France). Everything we had was delicious, but the Artichauts à la Barigoule I took as a starter was definitely a dish I was going to replicate at home.  And indeed I did, it has become one of our favourite dishes that I cook now on a regular basis.

It  is traditional dish from French Provence and there are several variations to it. Basically it consist of serving the sauté artichokes on an onion, bacon and herbs light sauce. Sometimes the sauce is prepared also with white wine and some other vegetables such as carrots. My own approach was to transform the cooking sauce in a broth to serve the artichokes in a soup. I hope you try it and enjoy it. Here’s the recipe:

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