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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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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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
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • 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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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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