Rain Or Shine

November 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

Soup I have moods for.  But if I have to choose, I almost always go for tomato soup.  Chorizo, however, I always have a mood for.   Scanning through Donna Hay’s cookbook, it did not surprise me that I couldn’t move pass the page, not because it has rained the past few days.  This soup I can and will have over and over, rain or shine, for a very long time.  Best of all, it being a 30-minute meal is such a come-on.  With a few pieces of bread, it makes a great lunch or dinner that is fuss-free.  In fact I like it better the next day when all the flavors melds into one hearty soup.

The chorizo adds an incredible depth to the soup, perfectly marrying salty and sour.  The crisp chorizo adds more texture to a soup that has already so much texture – from the tomato chunks, crisp green beans to even the al dente but creamy bite of the chickpeas.  I made it without the green beans.  I just add a few strips before serving and while re-heating to keep the freshness and crispness of the vegetable.

Spicy Tomato-Chorizo Soup

(adapted from “The Instant Cook”, by Donna Hay)

What you need:

  • 4 chorizo sausages, sliced (I use chorizo Pamplona)
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 x 400g (14 oz.) cans peeled tomatoes, crushed
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 400g (14 0z.) can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained
  • 200g (7oz.) green beans, trimmed and chopped
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (baby arugula works well too)

What you do:

  1. Place a deep saucepan over high heat.  Add the chorizo, oil and chili and cook for 4 minutes or until the chorizo are crisp.
  2. Remove from the pan and drain on absorbent paper.
  3. Place the tomatoes and stock in the saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the chickpeas and beans and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Stir through the salt, pepper parsley and cooked chorizo and serve.  Serves 4.

Just Can’t Get Enough

November 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

Do you ever order the same dish again and again?  At my gym’s cafe, I’d order a “Spinach Salad” almost every single time and the woman at the counter will give me a smile, already predicting the order.  Not that there’s nothing else that is worth ordering… I simply love this salad to pieces even if in most days, there really isn’t a single leaf of spinach on it.  Sometimes I’d get a plate of mixed greens or a mix of spinach and arugula… so I do get the variety in that sense.  But whatever the greens are, it has become a staple lunch order when I’m at the gym.

It’s really not the greens but what goes with it that I love.  Imagine… sweet caramelized apples and raisins with chunks of blue cheese and bits of bacon.  A winner through and through, don’t you think?  But because I can have that prepared for me once or twice a week, I thought to use this as inspiration instead.  I loosely adapted Donna Hay’s recipe and came up with this terrific salad.  It has the same sweet-savory combination that goes so well with the peppery taste of Arugula but with an added crunch from the walnuts.

Caramelized Apples and Arugula Salad

(adapted from Donna Hay’s The Instant Cook Cookbook)

Blue cheese and the sweet, buttery apple dressing contrasts well together, add in the peppery tang of the Arugula – perfect.  If walnut’s not your thing, almonds are great too.

What You Need:

  • 60 grams (2oz.) butter
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar (apple cider should be good too)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or 2 tablespoons coco sugar
  • 1 med size apple, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • Rocket (Arugula) leaves
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 25 grams soft blue cheese, cubed

What you do:

  1. Place the butter, vinegar and sugar in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the apple and walnuts and cook for 4 minutes or until apples are just soft.
  3. Place the leaves on serving plates and top with the apple and walnuts.
  4. Spoon over the pan juices and top with the blue cheese.


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