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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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
  • Print

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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Tarator – A traditional Bulgarian Cold Soup

Hello foodies of the world! It’s a hot and sunny Sunday morning, and I’m thinking I might be going to the beach (for the first time this summer!) this afternoon, but not before I share with you another refreshing dish perfect to beat the heat!

Tarator is basically a cold cucumber and yogurt soup. It’s a very typical Bulgarian dish, also eaten all across the Balkans. As is seasoned with garlic and olive oil I thought that it would be similar to Tzatziki, but the addition of dill and walnuts really make its taste completely different and unique!

Apart from being delicious and refreshing, tarator is one of those easy to prepare yet gourmet dishes. It makes a great entrée as well as a light summer supper and is healthy!

Let’s try it?

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Gazpacho – The King of Cold Soups

 

I can say now that summer is officially here, the typical extreme high temperatures and sunny days in the  Mediterranean “Costa Dorada” ,where I live, have arrived unusually later this year, but they finally did and I guess they’re going to last at least a couple of months. I understand that people who are here on holidays enjoy it and it is indeed the perfect beach weather!

Personally, I really hate the heat, summer is not my favourite time of the year at all. My skin is very sensitive to the sunlight and I’m heatstroke prone. However, it doesn’t mean I can’t find ways to enjoy it! A nice terrace at the seaside, under the shade is perfect to gather with friends while having fresh beverages and food. In fact, I love the opportunity to change menus and recipes according to the seasonal produce and fresh vegetables are at their best in summertime. And there is no better way to celebrate veggies freshness than a good gazpacho!

I think gazpacho is one of the most brilliant Spanish recipes, is the perfect refreshing and healthy meal! It is also very friendly to any kind of diet need or choice: is vegan, raw, gluten-free, dairy-free and low carb. Besides, it has a very high water and fibre content and it’s packed with vitamins and antioxidants. It can be a snack, an entrée or a main dish if adding the right toppings to it, just be creative!

Just a word of warning: If you’re looking for a gluten-free  gazpacho, beware if you’re not making your own, because there are versions that use some bread on it!

Today I’m sharing the classic recipe, you’ll see how quick and easy is to prepare and to customise!

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Tagine Series II -Tajine d’agneau aux légumes (Lamb and Vegetable Tagine)

Today I spent almost the whole day in the kitchen cooking for a celebration and I was totally inspired! so once everything is ready, I have taken some pictures and my guests and have tried and approved the dishes I will share some of the recipes with you!

But before that, I’m sharing another recipe to the tagine series (see the first one in here). This one is probably one of the most characteristic Moroccan tagines recipes you can find since is made of lamb (a staple of Moroccan cuisine) and a mixed of vegetables. The typical vegetables used for this kind of dish are onion, tomato, carrot, aubergine and courgette, but I customised it with some different ones I had available and ready to use for a quick week day supper. And the result, as with everything cooked in a tagine, was superb!

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Parihuela – Peruvian Seafood and Fish Soup (and a Great Peruvian Restaurant in Madrid)

My first contact with Peruvian food was many years ago,as a teenager, in a multicultural festival held in my hometown and I have loved it since; its spiciness and perfume surprised and captivated me for ever. Years later I broaden my Peruvian food spectrum in some very good restaurants I found along my way; however, I have not cooked it at home very often. That was until last week, when we were visiting some good friends in Madrid and they invited us to a wonderful Peruvian restaurant we enjoyed so much that I later decided it was about time to try some Peruvian cuisine at home.

But first, let’s talk about this great restaurant in Madrid: is called Tampu Restaurante, not to be missed if you happen to live in or visit Madrid! The place has a great quiet atmosphere with soft lights, music and is nicely decorated. The staff is very kind, they recommended options and explained every dish they brought to the table. The menu is very varied including classic dishes from Peruvian cuisine, like  ceviche or ají and also some chef creations customizing Peruvian flavours and textures and mixing them with other cuisines with a fantastic result. Here’s what we had, everything was delicious, but the duck was definitely my favourite!

Back at home, I decided to start with a soup, of course: Parihuela, a very appreciated seafood and fish soup cooked in a fish broth perfumed with a variety of Peruvian chilli peppers (ajíes). My main concern was to get these sort of chillies, because as I read, trying to replace them with other chillies won’t work. Fortunately, the Arabic grocery store where I usually get some supplies (mainly spices) also has a Latin American section where I found everything I needed. I stocked up, as usual, with everything Peruvian I could find for this and future recipes. I bought:

  • Ají Amarillo paste: made of an orange chilli pepper (Capsicum baccatum var. pendulum), quite pungent. One of the most relevant ingredients to Peruvian cuisine since Inca times, used on a daily basis as a sauce or dish ingredient. Cultivated all around the country*
  • Ají Panca paste: made of a deep red chilli pepper (Capsicum chinense), very mild, also widely used in Peru in sauces and as a spice. Cultivated in the coast*
  • Ají Rocoto paste: made of a yellow or red chilli pepper (Capsicum pubescens), with high pungency. Is the key ingredient in the cevivhe, the Peruvian national dish. Grown in the Andes region, is typical from Arequipa cuisine*
  • Achiote paste: made of the seeds of a subtropical shrub (Bixa orellana) used as a flavour and colour additive in Latin American cuisine. Also known as anatto
  • Culantro paste: made of a herb native to South America. It belongs to the same botanical family (Apiaceae) as cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) but is a different species (Eryngium foetidum)

*Source: The Chile Pepper Institute Newsletter, Volume VI, Number 3, Fall 1997. http://www.nmsu.edu/-hotchile/index.htmIE-mail: hotchile@nmsu.edu

I think you should be able to find these ingredients in any Latin Store, or sometimes big supermarkets have international food sections with Latin products as well.

And now, let’s cook!

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Tom Yum Gai – Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup

Hello foodies of the world! It’s been busy around here but there’s always time to squeeze a good Thai home-made food in. I often cook wonderful Thai curries with coconut milk, but I wanted to try something different that needed to be very easy and quick to put together as well. That’s why Tom Yum came to my mind, it is an aromatic hot and sour soup made with a lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal/ginger, lime juice, fish sauce and chilli base.  There are different variations depending on the protein component: fish, prawn, mixed seafood, pork or chicken (Gai/Kai); which is the one I’m sharing today.

If you cook Thai regularly, you probably already have all the basic ingredients in your kitchen and just have to add any protein source and vegetables of your choice. You can also turn it into a vegetarian dish by adding tofu and into a vegan one by trading the fish sauce for soy sauce.  Tom Yum makes an excellent week day healthy and complete dinner.

Let’s cook!

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