Tag Archives: Dinner

What’s Cooking – Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup

What's Cooking - Chicken  & Sweetcorn Soup

I believe I am not the only person in the world who exhibits a particular behaviour when entering a restaurant for a repeat experience. The vast majority of people evidently do exactly the same. On an earlier visit you have a dish from the menu and it turns out to be a smash hit in flavour town and you gastronomically fall in love. Henceforth for time eternal every time you visit that restaurant you end up ordering that dish again in the hope of capturing that moment of true love, sure you may look through the menu, even hum and ha but in the end you will opt for that hope, again.

One such dish for me is served at our local Chinese restaurant, it is their sweetcorn and chicken soup, it is divine, thick, creamy and full of flavour, simply put it is heavenly and thus an inevitable starter no matter whatever else I intend to order. So as I am one of those “foodies” that truly believes that whatever I taste I can make it better myself at home as anything cooked at home has those missing essential ingredients that are rarely if ever found at a restaurant, being passion and love.

So you can imagine how I was fired up the other night when flicking through my cookbooks the other night looking for inspiration when I came across a recipe for my favourite soup, to the kitchen!

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 Chicken (with giblets if possible)
  • 1 Tin of creamed sweetcorn
  • 3 Fresh corn on the cobs
  • Couple of onions, carrots and celery stalks
  • 1 tsp of whole peppercorns
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley stalks (save leaves for latter)
  • Couple of bay leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken stock or water


Turn your oven on to 200C

Peel and wash your fresh corn on the cobs and then pat dry with some kitchen roll. Place on a baking tray and drizzle the olive oil over them. Give them a good rub all over to make sure the oil covers them full. Sprinkle some salt over them and pop into the oven for 20 minutes or until looking golden. Remove and allow cooling.

Whilst you corn is cooking wash and quarter you chicken and pop into a large pot. Roughly chop your carrots, onion and celery and throw them in the pot. Next our spices, so add the peppercorns, parsley and bay leaves. Finally add enough chicken stock or water to just submerge the contents of your pot and a good pinch of a nice salt crystal.

Bring to the boil and then gently simmer for an hour. Turn of the heat and leave to cool for half an hour. With some tongs gently extract the chicken form the pot and place into a bowl to drain a bit, the rest of the contents we need to sieve to remove the veggies and herbs we no longer require.

Remove the skin from the chicken and discard (unless you own a hound) and then remove all the meat and shred it into small strips and place back into the draining bowl.

With a sharp knife cut the corns from the cobs and place into a bowl.

Place the stock that is now free from any bits back into you large pot and bring back to the boil. Add one tin of creamed sweetcorn. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the bowl of chicken and any juices collected and carry on cooking for a couple more minutes. Finally add the bowl of roasted corn you have made earlier and season to taste.

Simmer for a couple of minutes and then serve and enjoy the subtle blend of flavours carried over your taste buds by a wonderfully rich chicken stock, bliss.

What's Cooking – Chicken  and Sweetcorn Soup

Now western food tastes would dictate that we should have something to go with this soup, now being a Chinese dish it is usually served on its own or as part of a larger meal. Myself I must admit to liking a nice fresh multigrain roll with lashings of butter as a partner or if you wanted to build on the corn theme of the dish some warm butter chunks of American corn bread works amazingly well! It’s like a ‘Merican and Far East Fusion thing, and it’s a marriage.

What's Cooking - Chicken  and Sweetcorn SoupWhat's Cooking – Chicken  & Sweetcorn Soup

Have you ever found a bizarre fusion of different cultural foods?


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What’s Cooking – 45 Minutes Roast Chicken

What’s Cooking – 45 Minutes Roast Chicken

First, let me start with an apology – I hadn’t planned on sharing this recipe, hence the lack of more pictures, but as it came out so delicious, I really wanted to tell you all about it.

The recipe for a 45 minute Roast Chicken is loosely based on the “Roast Chicken” from “On the Table in 30 minutes – One Pot” by Paraggon books. I say loosely, as I got the main idea from the book but then to make it work for me I had to change both the ingredients and the method to get it done.

So, let’s start with the ingredients:

  • 6 skinned chicken thighs
  • 500g of baby potatoes
  • 250g Brussels sprouts
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 2tbsp of multigrain mustard
  • 2tbsp of honey
  • 1tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 0,5tsp chilli pepper
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 1tbsp dry oregano
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 240C.

Wash and peel (if needed) your baby potatoes and cut them into halves.

Chop the veggies into your desired size – I tried to make the carrots the same size as my potatoes and everything else was chopped into thick slices.

De-skin your chicken.

Prepare 100ml of chicken stock (stock cube, fresh or best of all make your own); then add to it: mustard, honey, wine vinegar, chilli pepper and crushed garlic plus a little bit of salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large heavy pan (I used my go to cast iron one). Toss in the onions and potatoes and fry them for 2-3 minutes; then add the carrots and courgettes. After a further 2-3 minutes, add all the remaining veggies – in my case peppers and Brussels sprouts. Fry them all for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Remove the veggies from the pan and place in a casserole dish, which will be suitable to go to the oven and will hold all the veggies plus the chicken.

Reheat your frying pan with some additional olive oil and start on the chicken. Please your chicken in the pan, add a generous amount of salt and pepper and fry on one side until lightly browned. Turn them over and add your earlier prepared “sauce” plus sprinkle all over with your oregano. Fry for a minute or two, and then transfer the chicken and all the sauce into the casserole dish.

Place in the oven and allow it to cook for 30 minutes.

After this time you will have one amazing dinner ready to be served.

What’s Cooking - 45 Minutes Roast Chicken

Just in case you are wondering how on earth I’ve managed to take a 30min recipe and turn it into a 45min one, I will explain… The original recipe calls for the whole dinner to be cooked in one pan (who would have thought it given the title of the book) and I simply do not own a cast iron pan to take this volume of food in one go, so I started to prepare it using two separate dishes, then decided that was a rubbish idea and just used my biggest pot I owned. Unfortunately as my decision was so late in the game I had not warmed my new pot up like I had with my two smaller pots. Therefore as my food was going from the frying pan to the cold casserole dish I needed to add some extra time to allow everything to heat up again, hence the longer cooking time. Anyway as it turned out I was saved and it worked perfectly… the chicken was falling off the bone and my veggies had still kept their shape and where just right.

Happy cooking!


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What’s Cooking – The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White

What’s Cooking – The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White

I’ve already shared a steak sauce with you, so next in line must be the steak itself! For us any steak is a treat, so an aged fillet steak is only for days that will never be forgotten. They aren’t even close to being cheap so they have to be reserved for special occasions to add another layer to the wonder that is making that day special to us. Lately we haven’t actually had any special occasions to celebrate but Mark wouldn’t believe me that a Worcestershire Steak Sauce is so amazingly nice, so we made that the occasion so we could cook one so he could try it for himself.

What’s Cooking  The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White

We got some lovely fillet steaks from Donald Russell. We were lucky as a 160g steak if bought in packs of four were on special offer 🙂

If you going to push the boat out and have a steak then you might as well have the best cut and what can be better than a buttery-tender prime fillet beef steak?

(Oh my, I am drooling just thinking about the dinner we had).

So anyway, we had our steaks, all we needed now was a Knorr Stock Cube and a little bit of olive oil.

Following what Marco Pierre White told me to do; we seasoned our steaks with only the Knorr stock cube instead of adding any salt. Why? Let me tell you:

First of all it will coat and stick much better to the meat then just salt would.

Secondly, as all the meat is evenly covered it will enhance the flavour of the meat better and thus elevate it to the next level.

And third because he said so 😉 and despite the evidence I do occasionally do as I am told.

Once you have all the ingredients you need:

  • Steaks
  • A Knorr stock cube
  • A dash of Olive oil

… it is time to cook.


Heat a large, heavy, thick-bottomed frying pan – we used our cast iron one as it is simply perfect for it. It must be “smoking” hot, so the surface of the meat caramelises.

What’s Cooking -- The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White.

In a small bowl crush the Knorr stock cube and mix it with a little bit of olive oil creating a paste. You can use whatever flavour you want – I guess beef would be ideal in this situation… however we used chicken…

Season your steaks with the paste. Make sure it is spread evenly on both sides of the meat. Don’t put it too thick. You want just a little flavour enhancement.

What’s Cooking - The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White.

Put the steaks into the frying pan and fry for about 2 minutes on one side, then turn over and fry for 1 minute, then take the frying pan away from the heat still leaving the steak in the frying pan. Now watch your steak. Once you see the blood start to break the surface, your steak is ready – it will be a perfect medium-rare.

Add all other bits you are having with it and dig in!

What’s Cooking - The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White

Oh and don’t forget about the star of the show your Worcestershire Steak Sauce!

What’s Cooking -- The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White

I did find a video recipe for both steak and a Worcestershire Steak Sauce. If you dislike onions and prefer peppercorns in your sauce have a look at this video; you might find it helpful.

The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White


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The wonders of the onion ring

What's Cooking - Onion Rings

From time to time whilst cooking the mundane mid week meal, the one that is created from the stuff found in the cupboard and or fridge… you know the type of meal I mean, these are the ones often dictated by the “use by date” nearest to passing the point at which the urge to put it in the bin surpasses the urge to put it in your mouth….

… the resulting meal can often be found to be uninspiring and lacking that something….

Enter a little quick ten minute wonder, the humble onion ring. Often forgotten unless a steak is in the offering, these little crunchy wonders can be a pure heavenly delight that causes you to stop talking and let out a quiet sigh of contentment. Oh and did I mention that they are super easy to make!

The extensive list of ingredients includes:

  • 1 large onion (the larger the better)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 bowls for the above
  • Oil for frying


Peel and slice your onions starting from the tip and working towards the base so you can separate the slices into rings.

In bowl one put the egg and give it a quick whisk, in the second bowl put the flour and in the last bowl put the breadcrumbs.

The wonders of the onion ring

Take a ring of onion and dust it in the flour bowl and then straight into the whisked egg and make sure it’s fully covered in the egg. Finally into the bread crumbs, make sure to cover the ring and gentle press down to aid the crumbs attaching to your onion ring.

Place the finished ring onto a large flat tray and grab your next one. Repeat the process till you have a nice big tray of crumb encrusted rings and then place the entire tray into the fridge.

Heat up the oil in a deep heavy based saucepan or your chip pan. Ideally if you have a thermometer we are looking for 180C as this is the best temperature for ensuring crispy onion rings.

The wonders of the onion ring - time to get golden

Top tip: cook them in small batches as you don’t want the temperature of the oil to drop too much or you will lose the crispiness and end up with those horrible slimy pale things no one wants to eat.

Fry them till they are a nice golden colour, this will take about 3-5 minutes depending on how thickly you cut the rings at the start.

Pile them high and add to the meal you are cooking that was lacking and as if by magic the meal will be lacking no more and even the mundane will become awesome!

What's Cooking - Onion Rings.

Did you ever try onion rings made at home?


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What’s Cooking – Something from Nothing Dinner

From time to time I take a look into the fridge or stock cupboard and there is nothing to eat… actually there is a lot of things to eat but they do not really go together in any order that would create some meal that would be suitable for a dinner like meal.

One day last week was just one of those days…

The fridge was kind of full of stuff but nothing really resembled a dinner without some missing ingredient I could think off. Inevitably my first thought was “a take away it is”, but as there isn’t really a nice take away around us, we decided to look harder and simply create something from nothing… in the end this is what we came up with…

What’s Cooking – Something from Nothing Dinner


  • Couscous
  • 1 small tin of garden peas
  • 1 small tin of sweet corn
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 polish sausages (left from the night before)
  • spoonful of olive oil


Prepare couscous as per instruction on the pack but instead of water we added a nice chicken stock.

Chop sausage and onions and fry for a while, until onions are nicely coloured and the sausage is browned.

Drain the peas and sweetcorn and place in a serving bowl.

Add all other ingredients, mix well and serve.

What’s Cooking - Something from Nothing Dinner

It took us 10 minutes to do it. It was simple yet extremely tasty. Normally we would use a lot of “posh” ingredients to go with couscous like mozzarella cheese or sundried tomatoes but actually you can mix it with anything you like.

I am quite pleased we opted for such a “creative” option instead of a take away that evening, otherwise I would never have discovered that a few simple ingredients put together like this could create something so yummy.

I think from now on couscous will be joining my list of go to ingredients in cases of dinner emergencies.

Do you like couscous?

What is your favourite couscous combination?


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What’s Cooking – French Onion Soup

What’s Cooking – French Onion Soup

We all know that food is extremely important and it can determine how we feel and how we act. Good nutritional meals can help us stay in good form for longer. But what about people in assisted living; what do they get to eat? Well, as I just discovered some of the lucky ones get some pretty tasty food 😉

Sunrise Care asked me to try something from their menu. From their extensive selection of dishes that include: Beef Bourguignon, Bread & Butter Pudding, Crème Brûlée, Fish & Chips, French Onion Soup, Fillet of Sea Bream with Salsa, Smoked Chicken & Orange Salad, Smoked Paprika & Red Onion Chicken, Smoked Salmon & Egg Platter or Tomato & Basil Risotto, we decided to give the humble French Onion soup a try!

I must admit it was the perfect choice. The soup is extremely tasty with a rich velvety consistency and a full mouth flavour, the onions just seem to melt in your mouth. For a dish that epitomises the “just one more spoonful” approach to eating it actually came as a big surprise from a meal that doesn’t take all they long to prepare.

To see the original recipe please visit Taste of Sunrise.

So what do we need to make this humble yet absolutely gorgeous soup? The ingredients as stated below will serve 4:

  • 15g butter
  • 1½ Spanish onions
  • 20ml sunflower oil
  • 30ml sherry
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 625ml beef stock
  • 15g cornflour
  • 5ml Worcestershire Sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1tsp of gravy granules


Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions, and sauté them for 2 minutes.

Then add the sherry and thyme (we didn’t have any fresh so we had to settle for dried).

Cook for a while until reduced by half in order to cook off the alcohol.

Add the butter and stock. Bring to the boil and hold simmering, covered for 30-35 minutes.

Mix the cornflour and Worcestershire Sauce together with a little bit of water until you have nice smooth paste.

Whisk the paste into the soup, and return it to a simmering state for another 10 minutes.

Whisk in the gravy granules and season to taste.

Normally French Onion Soup is served with cheesy croutons. You can use a ciabatta bread, cut it into 4 slices and grill both sides until light golden in colour. Top with parmesan cheese and finish under the grill for 1 minute. This is the easy option 😉

We went for a twist on our Cheese and Onion Rolls. This time they were made with tomato paste, bacon and of course cheese. They made a perfect addition into our soup!

What’s Cooking - French Onion Soup

So, what do you think?

Would you be happy to see a meal like this on your plate?

*I was provided with a small payment to cover the cost of cooking ingredients.


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Gousto – Simply Cook – The Recipe Box – Review and Giveaway

Gousto – Simply Cook – The Recipe Box

If you now wonder what Gousto is, let me explain…

Gousto enables everyone to enjoy cooking delicious meals with ease. They give you quality ingredients and easy to follow recipe cards that let you cook with confidence. Giving you back the time you lose planning your meals and traipsing about finding all the ingredients will allow you to reclaim the joy of cooking.

In simple words, Gousto will provide you with everything you need to create healthy, tasty and quick family meals – just add salt and pepper and some oil if required.

Gousto – Simply Cook – The Recipe Box -What's in my box

For the last few weeks I’ve been cooking with Gousto. I tried their 2 and 4 people meal box and I totally loved them. The service is outstanding and the content of each box truly fantastic. Just as stated on the above picture you get organic vegetables, Red Tractor meat and everything else you might need in order to create the meal you picked from the menu. From the selection of six meals, the most ingredients I had to add from my own cupboard was: salt, pepper, 1tbs of sugar or olive oil – everything else was provided; everything including fresh herbs, spices and of course all your main ingredients. The portion sizes are good, they aren’t too big so as to leave you bloated but will for sure fill you up (at least for some time).

Gousto - Simply Cook - The Recipe Box

Every week Gousto offers 10 new healthy recipes to pick from. You make your choice and they take care of the rest. The ingredients and easy to follow recipe card will arrive at your door on the earlier agreed day… all you have to do now is cook.

According to a YouGov survey after polling 10,000 respondents they found that that one in 10 of us, equating to five million adults, balk at even boiling an egg. 52 per cent of Brits say they can confidently cook 10 or more dishes from scratch. 52 per cent! So what is happening to rest of us – microwave and frozen meals all the time?

A lot of people do not cook because they don’t know how to, they have no time to plan the meals, go shopping and then actually cook them… Gousto is helping with all these problems. You pick what you fancy to eat and they will deliver all that is needed to cook it. No time wasted planning and shopping and most important no food wastage as you get precisely the amount needed to cook your meal. And when it comes to cooking – the recipes aren’t rocket science, you will receive a step by step recipe card, including detailed instructions and pictures to help you. The longest recipe I received took 35 minutes to prepare, so they aren’t really time consuming either, perfect for those nights when you arrive home from work weary yet hungry.

If you are wondering what type of meals you can cook with Gousto check out two of my creations:

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous

Cooking with Gousto – Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

And if these two didn’t convince you, visit This Week’s Recipe section on Gousto website 🙂

If you would like to try the Gousto service I have a three dishes for 2 persons meal box to give away. Just follow me on Twitter and RT:

Follow and RT @AgataPokutycka and @FollowGousto to win a fantastic #Gousto box full of yummy #food! Full T&C at: http://wp.me/p3l2gI-1lB

And if you don’t want to wait until the competition has finished and would like to try it for yourself now, you can use my £25 off promo code MARK18202. This code will give you £25 off your first order.

1. Open to UK readers only.
2. One obligatory entry per reader – follow me and RT as stated above. Extra RT will count as additional entries.
3. There will be 1 winner in total.
4. The winner will receive 1 x 3 meal 2 people Gousto box. The prize will be provided by Gousto.
5. Winner will be picked at random and informed within 7 working days via Twitter.
6. Winner will have 7 working days to claim the prize, after this time, a new winner will be selected.
7. Closing date is Tuesday 11-11-2014 at 23:59pm, any entry made after this time will not be counted.

Gousto Review – Simply Cook – The Recipe Box

Good Luck!

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions
Loquax – Home of The Lucky Duck
SuperLucky Blog Giveaways Linky


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Cooking with Gousto – Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

Cooking with Gousto – Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

Mozzarella Panzanella Salad from Gousto – this lovely Italian salad is quick to prepare and full of tasty, healthy ingredients. It bursts with flavours and can be treated as a started or a light dinner.

Gousto Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

It sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

Ok, so let’s start with the ingredients list:

Cooking with Gousto – Ingredients for Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

  • 2 ciabattas
  • 1 red onion
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 2tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp dried oregano
  • 30g black olives
  • 10g fresh basil
  • 30g capers
  • 1 mozzarella ball
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

These ingredients will make enough food to feed 2 people (or more if you treat it as a starter).


Boil a full kettle of water.

Preheat the grill to high.

Mozzarella Panzanella Salad - onion preparation

Peel and finely chop the red onion. Place the onion pieces in a sieve and pour all the boiling water over them (ideally do it over the sink or over large bowl). Place the blanched onions into a bowl and add the red wine vinegar and sugar and mix well. Leave it to soak for a while.

Mozzarella Panzanella Salad - bread praparation

Tear the ciabattas into bite size pieces (or alternatively cut them into nice cubes) and place on a baking tray. Drizzle it with around 2tbs of olive oil; salt and pepper to taste. Place under the grill for 10 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

Mozzarella Panzanella Salad in the making

Chop the cherry tomatoes in half.

Chop the black olives.

Place the tomatoes, olives, capers and oregano in a salad bowl.

Tear the basil and add into your salad bowl.

Drain the mozzarella and tear into bite size chunks (or again cut it nicely with a sharp knife) and add to the salad bowl.

Drain the onion, discard the marinade and add to the salad bowl.

By this time your ciabatta should be nice and ready. Remove it from the oven / grill and add to your salad.

Mix well and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

Cooking with Gousto - Mozzarella Panzanella Salad


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Cooking with Gousto – Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous

Lately I have been cooking with the wonderful people from Gousto. Today I would like to share with you their recipe for Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous. Yes you may start drooling….

This is a truly delightful dish bursting with flavours from the earthy cumin to the bright zing of the orange in the couscous (a new discovery for us, but from now it will be a regular feature as couscous goes so well with the orange!).

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous Recipe

This lovely Moroccan recipe (as stated below) will serve 2 and it should take you no longer than 25 minutes to complete… unless you like us are taking 100s of pictures during the process or spending extra 15 minutes on separating your oranges into perfect segments 🙂

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous Ingredients


  • 2 chicken breast fillets, skinned and boned
  • 2 oranges
  • 2tbs honey
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 spring onion
  • 120g couscous
  • 10g fresh mint
  • 1tsp of ground cumin
  • ½ chicken stock cube
  • 200ml of boiling water
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 180C.

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous - chicken preparation

Butterfly the chicken breast and lay out flat on a worktop board. Cover with some cling film and then with a rolling pin or meat tenderiser flatten out the chicken till it is around 1cm thick at most.

Sprinkle over the cumin and drizzle with some olive oil and massage into the chicken.

Add salt and pepper to taste and place in a roasting tray and pop into the oven for 10-15 minutes until cooked.

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous - couscous preparation

Boil a kettle and measure out 200ml of water. Use this water to dissolve half of the chicken stock cube and then add it into your couscous, give it a quick stir, then cover and set aside for a good 10 minutes.

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous - orange preparation

Now for the fiddly part, take your oranges and cut of the top and bottom so they can stand up straight. Cut the skin into sections from top to bottom to help with peeling. Once you have skinned the oranges you now need to remove all the pith. There are two reasons for this, firstly the pith is bitter and so we don’t want it spoiling our dinner and secondly we need to see the segments of the orange for the next step.

With the sharpest knife you own cut the oranges on either side of the membrane of each orange segment. This is best done over a large bowl so you can collect all the juice drops, we will need them later. Remove all the segments and set aside, throw away the core.

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous - dressing preparation

Add the honey and the saffron to the orange juice and give a good stir to help release the colour and flavour from the saffron as well as mixing in the honey.

If your chicken is finished then remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes.

Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous - herbs

Fine chop your mint and spring onion and set aside.

Cut you chicken into slices and coat with half of the orange-honey-saffron dressing.

Add the orange segments, mint, spring onion and the remaining saffron dressing to the couscous and mix well; then fluff up with a fork.

If you would like you can dress the couscous with a drizzle of olive oil and then season to taste.

To serve just lay the chicken to the side of the couscous salad.


Cooking with Gousto – Honey Saffron Chicken with Mint & Orange Couscous


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What’s Cooking – Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

I love tomatoes, especially the home grow kind – fresh, sweet, full of aroma… There are so many dishes they can be used for and Fresh Tomato Soup is one of the meals I enjoy the most.

There is however a huge difference between home grown tomatoes and the ones you can buy in a supermarket. If you want to make a truly tasty tomato soup you simply can’t buy the cheap range ingredients. Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to suggest that value or so called salad tomatoes aren’t good for anything, but they aren’t for sure good enough for a tomato soup. In order to get the flavours you need to splash on a higher end of veggie section, or even better hunt your local farmer down (yes, I know this might not be so easy at this time of the year… My apologies, it took my ages to get around to actually writing this recipe down and the tomato season is over).

So, let’s start with the ingredients:

  • 500g of chicken – we used chicken thighs, which are actually perfect for the soup
  • 300g of smoked pork belly
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 large leek
  • ½ large celery; the root end (so called ugly part), not the nice stalks
  • 1kg of ripe, good quality tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • Good handful of chopped basil
  • 1tbs of pepper corns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 100g of wild rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for frying


Wash and peel all root vegetables – carrots, parsnips, celery and leeks – place them into a large cooking pot, add chicken, pork belly and a pinch of salt, pepper corns and bay leaves then fill with water about 2-3cm lower than a rim of the pot.

2. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Fire-up the cooker and let it cook for at least a couple of hours.

In a second pot start cooking your rice. The rice doesn’t have to be hot when your soup is served so it can be cooked well in advance. Make sure that your rice isn’t overcooked in fact it is better slightly undercooked. You really don’t want to have sticky rice in your soup. Oh, and don’t forget to add a bit of salt to your water.

Now would be a good time to start working on our tomatoes. Wash them well and place in a large bowl. Boil a kettle of water and pour hot water over your tomatoes and let stand for 30sec or so, this will allow you to remove the skins without any problems. Skin the tomatoes and chop into 1cm cubes.

3. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Chop the onion and prepare a good handful of fresh basil.

Take a large frying pan; add a bit of olive oil and start with frying your onions. Fry them until soft but still light in colour (don’t let them change the colour). Add the tomatoes and basil and fry on a low heat for around 10 minutes.

4. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Once done, pop all of the mixture into your soup. Let it all boil again and cook for further 30 minutes.

Now is a messy part. We have to remove all the meat from our soup and all other large chunks. You can use a sieve to do it or just use spoon with holes and fish out all the necessary ingredients.

Put the pork belly aside for the moment.

De-skin, peel and chop your chicken meat.

Cut all the root vegetables you want back in your soup into smaller chunks. (You can chop the veggies up at the start of the cook but I use big size veggies as sometimes I have to discard some of them like the celery in order for family members to actually try the soup, and I don’t want to lose any of the flavours by missing them out completely).

5. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Pop your veggies and chicken back to the pot and use a food blender to turn your soup into a cream.

Add fresh ground pepper and stir well.

Chop your pork belly up into small bite sized cubes.

My Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild RiceFresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice.

Serve the soup in a bowl with the small pork belly chunks and a spoonful of the earlier cooked rice.


my Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice.Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits, Basil  and Wild Rice

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