Around the Bowl

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


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Pad Thai – The snow peas version

Hello my foodie friends! I am so sorry for the long hiatus, life just got in the middle, but we still cook and eat delicious home-made dishes (well, most of the time we do) and I still desire to share them with anyone in the world’s foodie community that’d like to cook with me!

I’m afraid posts will keep appearing irregularly or less frequently as the used to, but neither me nor my blog are going anywhere, so I hope you be patient with me and pop into “Around the bowl” once in while… By the way, I always share pictures of my recipes in my instagram account, so follow me if you’d like to see what I’m cooking (and some other random things that I enjoy) and please let me know if you are particularly interested in any recipe you see there that can potentially become an interesting post!

We have just finished enjoying today’s recipe, it’s easy, it’s quick, it’s healthy and most importantly: utterly delicious! Other than that, I don’t think Pad Thai needs any further introduction, doesn’t it?

Just as the tittle indicates, I’ve made some adjustments to the traditional recipe: I replaced bean sprouts by snow peas, mainly because we had loads at home that needed to be used and because I love them! and I replace peanuts with cashews because I don’t like peanuts, but I do enjoy the rest of the ingredients of a good Pad Thai, so I thought: why not?

Do you fancy trying it?

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Sopa de Legumes Portuguesa – Portuguese Vegetable Soup

Hello foodie friends, I hope you’re all having a great 2015 start! With this post I’m not only celebrating the beginning of the new year but also my one year anniversary with “Around the Bowl”, I can’t believe a year and so many soups have gone by! It’s been a pleasure, and I’m tremendously eager to keep sharing many more!

Today’s recipe is brought straight from Portugal, as we received the New Year in Porto, an enchanting city in the Douro river estuary with very kind local people and amazing food! Old and modern collide in a very special way in Porto producing amazing results design and food wise. I was totally inspired by it all: its streets, its old buildings and churches with their blue tiles, the river and the good design shops, cafés and restaurants.

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I was positively overwhelmed by Porto’s good food and the fact that soup was served everywhere; definitely my kind of town! Pastries of all kind are also typical and delicious. The majority of food establishments are open all day long, serving pastries, tea & (great) coffee during the morning and afternoon and complete meals at lunch and dinner. Check out the following places that we loved and the photo galleries for recommendations!

  • Aurora Portuguese Restaurant: a very cozy restaurant with amazing service and great Portuguese dishes with a modern approach. Also ideal to try Douro wines and of course Porto wine! We loved it so much that came back more than once!
  • Casa Grande Chocolatier: in a great location this lovely coffee shop and tea room is an ideal place where to make a stop and try delicious chocolates, cakes and pastries. We also had a light lunch one day, consisting of soup and sandwiches, as good as the sweet treats!
  • Mercearia das Flores: beautiful grocery store and tasting place for local delicatessen, located in one of the most cute streets downtown.
  • Mitica Inspiraçao: probably the most amazing pastry shop I’ve ever been to, everything is very tempting and utterly delicious. Is not centrally located, but it was around the corner from our hotel, so we enjoyed our breakfast there every single day!

Aren’t you hungry now? Then is time for a wonderful vegetable soup, so let’s cook!

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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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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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Simplified Dak-kalguksu – Korean Chicken Noodle Soup

Hello my foodie friends! Here I am again with another Korean comforting soup. Who doesn’t like a good chicken noodle soup during the cold months? Ideal both for lunch and supper, and of course, it makes a great left over if you want to cook some extra to take to work or freeze.

Dak means chicken and kalguksu stands for knife-cut noodles. Making Dak-kalguksu from scratch is quite time-consuming and being this a simplified version I used bought fresh noodles. As part of this simpler approach, I also choose to incorporate the seasoning, which is  usually served separately, to the stock directly. However, I did make the stock, but for an even easier version you could use bought or pre-prepared chicken stock and chicken roast left overs. Generally the vegetables used to cook the stock are discarded afterwards, but I like to cut them and include them in the soup.

Let’s cook?

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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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Caldereta de pescado – Spanish Fish Stew

Calderetas are a kind of traditional stew all around Spain, originally cooked  with local ingredients: red meat inland or fish and seafood in the coasts along with in-season vegetables.

Fish caldereta is another delicious dish from Northern Spain, within the “Atlantic Diet” I first introduced in the Piperrada recipe. Of humble origin, the legend tells that it was traditionally prepared by fishermen on board of fisher vessels with whatever fish they had available, specially those that wouldn’t make the cut for sale and some other basic ingredients, generally potatoes. Although nowadays it can also be found in  fancy restaurants, cooked with expensive fish and seafood, it remains as a healthy, affordable and every-day option in many Spanish households.

Known as caldeirada in Galicia, caldereta or calderada in Asturias and Cantabria, marmitako in Basque Country (prepared with bonito), it is also a typical dish in Portugal. There are as many recipes as towns along the Cantabrian and Atlantic Spanish coast. Today I’m sharing my approach; simple and yet delicious, the trademark combination of Spanish Cuisine.

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Dal Shorba (Indian Lentil Soup) with Summer Veggies

Every now and then I find myself craving for a specific type of food and I always think it is my body speaking to me, telling me I’m in need of some kind of nutrient. Apparently, there’s no scientific support for this theory, since our cravings are totally tied to our eating patterns that are in turn more related to psychological mechanisms and cultural baggage than to actual physiological needs. In spite of it all, although I’m a science believer, I usually follow my impulses when it comes to food cravings. Particularly a couple of weeks ago, when I was strongly fancying lentils, and couldn’t think of a single bad thing about lentils nutritionally speaking.

I had had a dal dish pending in my “to try” list for ever so I went for a refreshing vegetarian one and totally loved it. *In case you’re wondering, dal means lentils, but for Indians the term is generic to lentils, dried beans, chickpeas, split peas both skinned and unskinned and split peas flours. Dal is an everyday source of protein for most Indians and it can be as soupy or as thick as desired. (*Source: Madhur Jaffrey. 2010. “Curry Easy” Ebury Press. pp. 178-179.)

Would you like to give it a try? It’s a great one pot complete meal!

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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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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!