Around the Bowl

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


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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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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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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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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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