Around the Bowl

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


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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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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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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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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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Tagine Series I – Tajine de Légumes (Vegetable Tagine) – A Vegan Feast from Morocco

Tagine is a clay cooking pot with a conical lid typical from Morocco that also give its name to the stew that is prepared on it.

I have wanted a tagine as long as I can remember. However, when I finally visited Morocco I was living sort of a nomad life and it wasn’t too practical to accumulate house-ware and furnitures, so I didn’t buy it although I had to restrain myself not to came back with carpets, lamps and kitchen-ware to furnish a full house.

But fate is capricious (a saying in Spanish) and last weekend when walking around a home store,  I saw one and decided to  buy  it this time! I’m not sure were I’m going to put it in my already full kitchen cabinets, but after trying the meal I prepared on it I can assure you is totally worth it! The outcome is absolutely different of the one you would get cooking the same recipe in a regular cooking pot (I know because I’ve tried it before).

I started by a vegetable tagine, but I will for sure explore many other options with my new star utensil! Just writing it is making me crave for another one… Let’s go to the recipe now:

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Vietnamese Pho Chay – A Vegan Noodle Soup

Me a little obsessed with Asian food? nah… And yet another Asian dish…I’ve been wanting to cook Pho for a while and today was the day! It was my first time and surprisingly it doesn’t taste like any other Asian soup I’ve cooked before at its flavour it’s quite unique; the spices on the broth really make a difference.

The traditional Pho is made with beef stock and usually contains beef as well, but Chay is the veggie version of this soup, usually with tofu as the protein ingredient. The choice of vegetables was based on what I have at hand this time, but you could use broccoli and bok choy for instance. Would you like to try it? It’s a safe bet!


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Moroccan Vegan Rice Soup

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Spice Souk Marrakech

Marrakech is a very stimulating place, a feast of images come to my mind when I remember it: men chatting and having tea in the street, the hectic Souk full of colours and fragrances, the cheerful flowers in its gardens and avenues, women gathering under the shadow of the olive trees at the Ménara Garden, the storks nesting in the Badii Palace, the fresh and beautiful mosaic courtyards, the magnificent Koutoubia Mosque and much more… and of course food was not an exception, absolutely inspiring: refreshing mint tea, fragrant tagines (I specially remember a surprising lamb and fig tagine that I was incapable of imitate at home), fresh taboulé with grilled meat dinners at the lively Djemaa el-Fna square and the fresh grilled seafood and fish in the nearby coastal town of Essaouria.

Since I have visited it, I cook a Moroccan-inspired dish once in a while. Besides, as the Moroccan community is quite big in Spain, I am lucky enough to have an authentic grocery store locally, where I buy couscous, sometimes a delicious Moroccan flat bread, excellent beef and some of my spices like Ras El Hanout, a spices mixture which blend originally vary with the merchant selling it, but it is supposed to have the best of the house. And for us, the ones with not souk nearby, it depends on the brand.  Today I am sharing a vegan rice soup perfumed with Ras-El-Hanout, I hope you get inspired by it and travel with your taste buds to Northern Africa with me!

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