Around the Bowl

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


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Fideuà – The Lesser-known Mediterranean Classic

Honestly, I hadn’t heard from fideuà until I came to live in Catalonia, where I first had it and instantly loved it!  Fideuà is a sort of paella’s cousin but made with noodles instead of rice.  As it happens with paella, there are endless recipes and variants and it’s also original from Valencia, but eaten all along the Spanish Mediterranean coast and definitely a Sunday and festive staple dish in Catalonia.

You’ll find vegetable, meat, chicken fideuà, but the most traditional is the seafood fideuà. Besides the seafood, the famous “fumet” (fish stock) and noodles are the basic ingredients. In Spain you can find fideuà noodles in any supermarket, but any short thin kind of hard wheat noodle will do the trick.  In the image bellow you’ll find the two most common kind of fideuà noodles. I prefer the thinner ones.

Here it is my humble approach to Fideuà, hope you enjoy it!
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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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Spaghetti alle Vongole – Spaghetti with Clams

I can’t wait for the soup season (I mean, autumn) to start! But there are still a few weeks of summer left where I live and although I’m anxious to start wearing jackets, boots and to throw a duvet over my sheets I’m trying to fully enjoy these last warm days. And I certainly do, with the same anticipation I start  savouring a trip when preparing it!

Last weekend while shopping for groceries, we decided we wanted pasta for dinner (I know, carbs for supper! who does that nowadays? well… we do sometimes… uppsss) and in a sudden inspiration strike I remembered I had frozen clams and Spaghetti alle Vongole immediately came to my mind!

Like many others of Italian pasta dishes the sauce is actually simple both by its preparation and number of ingredients but the flavour resulting by its combination is supreme! And this was indeed the case, we loved them!

I added my own twist by changing the fresh parsley traditionally used in this recipe by fresh basil; mainly because there was no parsley left at the supermarket and I had a pair of basil plants thriving on my balcony.

I encourage you to try it, this is one of those easy but success-guaranteed recipes that I use either when entertaining or just to indulge myself with something extremely yummy but not decadent.

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Moroccan Bruschetta with Basil and Goat Cheese

I know, I know Bruschetta is Italian, so why Moroccan Bruschetta? Well because I made this one with Moroccan bread. Moroccan bread is a flat circular loaf of white bread, with a golden crust on the outside and a yellowish fluffy interior, it is delicious, I love it! I think part of its secret lies in the semolina on its composition making its flavour quite unique. There’s a local shop near my house that sells it fresh every day, so I usually keep a loaf on my fridge for many uses: breakfasts, meals, it even serves as a base for pizza (opened into two halves)!

A couple of weekends ago, we were on lazy mode and haven’t planned anything for lunch, so we simply took two slices of this wonderful bread and decided to turn them into fabulous Bruschettas, with a little help from the basil plants I grow on my balcony, that I’m today sharing with you!

It is simple, quick, delicious and frugal. Ideal for a summer (vegetarian) lunch or a great appetiser all year round! Leave the cheese out of the equation and you’ll have a perfect vegan snack!

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

I absolutely love rice cooked in its many varied forms, paella, sushi, curries, fried rice, you name it. And risotto, of course! It is in fact a staple dish in my usual menu. I love its creaminess and particularly that it is possible to prepare it with virtually anything you have in your fridge and pantry (besides the rice and stock, which I always have in stock and some hard Italian cheeses I always keep in my freezer). It is also an excellent option to entertaining, being quite easy to scale up and prepare larger quantities. There are endless options to adapt it to the seasonal produce availability and to your guests taste: vegetarian, gourmet, etc., you just need to use your imagination and play with ingredients, following the basic preparation that remains basically the same. Besides, who doesn’t love a good risotto?

Today I’m sharing two recipes I cooked at home in two different occasions and that we enjoyed a lot. I thought of presenting them together in the same post to show you what I was talking about above: it’s the same procedure, just changing the variable ingredients. Easy and delicious!

Today, in addition to the “print friendly and pdf button” that you can find at the bottom of each post,  I’m “launching” a new improvement: the recipes are in a printable format, that make even easier to save or print them. I hope you like it!

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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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