Archive for the ‘soup’ Category

Being a busy and sometimes flustered new puppy owner, ahem, I’ve been limiting my cooking to the realm of Quick and Easy. While juggling work deadlines, puppy feeding and copious sweeping, mopping and tidying of floors and fur I’ve had little energy left for elaborate and fussy dinners and lunches. And while I’m looking forward to the day I’m back at the fuss and elaborations, for the moment I’m quite content to pull a dinner together from that which lurks at the back of the pantry. This tomato soup is a perfect compromise of needing to embrace a fresher palate for the wonderful, warm Spring weather we’ve been having and a no fuss, quick-as-you-like dinner, taking 15 minutes from can opener to toast dunk. This is a perfect amount for two, so double up if you want left overs for lunch or to feed more people.

Tomato Soup with Fennel Seed and Basil

1 Tbsp or so vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fennel seeds, whole
2 Tbsp tomato paste
½ 28oz can whole, peeled Italian tomatoes, with juice
1 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
handful fresh basil, chopped
Parmesan or parmigiana shavings

– heat oil in a medium saucepan. Gently saute garlic until fragrant, then add herbs, fennel and tomato paste, saute for about a minute.

– add tomatoes, juice and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 or 6 minutes before seasoning to taste.

– Remove from heat and blend until smooth.

– Just before serving, stir in basil (keeping some for garnish)

– top with parmesan shavings and sere with olive oil coated toast

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Butternut and ham soup

If you’re living in the Northern Hemisphere right now, like I am, you may well be in need of a little warming up.  Not too many people I know dislike Autumn, or fall, as it’s appropriately called here (anyone wanting to know Why it’s called Fall in North America, and not Autumn, need only take a long walk in a park or the countryside to find out); the colours, the hearty food, the smell of damp leaves and wood fire.  It’s all good, as they say.  Well, I’m heading to Vancouver for a few days and it’s forecast to be rain rain rain the whole way.  A little fortification is called for, so a butternut and ham soup for lunch is the best answer I can think of.   Soups are delightfully simple to make (on the most part), invigorating in the chill, and healthy too, when prepared with good ingredients.  This soup is lightly spiced with paprika and cumin, and the butternut and diced ham were roasted in a hot oven for 45 mins before being boiled into the soup.  Does this affect the flavour? You got me there, but I’ll tell you this: my house smelled divine for hours after from the doings of the oven.  Curl up on the couch with woolen socks, a cosy blankie and tuck in.


Bon Voyage, a le prochaine semaine!

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Cucumber soup

It’s been hot and muggy in Toronto. A thick, heated, soggy air permeates the city, getting into every nook, cranny and corridor. Something cool and refreshing was in order for dinner, and when I pulled out what was in the fridge it was obvious there was only one thing to make. Chilled cucumber soup. About a year ago, when we first moved to Toronto, Mr P and I had dinner at a fellow expat’s house and she served cucumber soup. New to the idea, I was eager to try a bit and ended up going back for seconds and having to restrain myself, for the manners’ sake, from having thirds and fourths and ruining my appetite for the main meal, a cedar barbequed salmon which smelled divine. Needless to say I was in raptures over the soup, making a mental note to find a recipe and remembering always how it cooled all our temperaments on that hot and sticky Saturday evening.

This one I made using fresh mint and fennel with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Cucumber Soupfennel.jpg

1 English Cucumber
½ cup soy milk (or regular if you prefer)
½ cup plain yoghurt
juice of ½ lemon
few sprigs fresh fennel
few sprigs fresh mint
salt and pepper
2 ice cubes

– in a blender, blend cucumber, milk, yoghurt and lemon.
Season gently with salt and pepper.

– when smooth, add herbs and blend for a few seconds.
With motor running, add ice cubes one at a time.

-serve immediately or chill in the fridge until ready. Garnish with a tablespoon of yoghurt.


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