Tag Archives: Soup

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 – 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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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

Link up your recipe of the week


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Alphabet Project | U is for Unusual & Unexpected

unusual – remarkable or interesting because different from others

unexpected – not expected or regarded as likely to happen

Alphabet Project -  U is for Unusual & Unexpected

We ordered this soup in Poland. For some reason I was expecting a sweet soup. Not sure why but I thought it would be a cherry soup. As it ended up we ordered so called “Chłodnik” / Lithuanian Cold Borscht – a soup made from beet leaves, sour milk, cucumber, dill and served with a boiled egg.

It was truly unusual and unexpected!


Alphabet Project is hosted by PODcast


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What’s Cooking – Botwina – Meaty Beetroot and Chard Soup

Botwina - Meaty Beetroot and Chard Soup

Botwina – Meaty Beetroot and Chard Soup

Botwina is a Polish name for this fantastic soup. The main ingredient is chard – young leaves and roots from red beetroot. They are generally not available all year round, but at this time of year (July/August) they are in season and much easier to find. Your local veggie shop will probably have some or be able to source it for you.

This recipe makes a big pot of soup; it will feed 4 people for 2 days… yes, I know that is a lot of soup, but just wait till you try it, then it won’t be enough! This is a hearty soup by all accounts, for us it’s an evening meal. This is due in part to using a lot of meat to make it so it becomes like a 2 in 1 meal – soup and main dish in 1 course. It is very easy to make and oh my goodness it taste delicious.


300g of sliced chard

3 large beetroots cubed

500g of beef cut into big chunks

500g of smoked ribs left intact

1 large parsnip quartered

3 large carrots quartered

1 leek quartered

2tbsp of soft brown sugar


Fresh ground pepper

Pepper corns

Bay leave

Lemon, juiced

Double cream

+ pepper corns + lemon

+ pepper corns + lemon

Cooking method:

1.       1. Take a large heavy cooking based pot and place the sliced chard, beef chunks, ribs, parsnip, carrots and leek in it.

2.       2. Add 4 litres of water.

3.       3. Add salt, pepper corns and the bay leaf and start to cook.

4.       4. Start timing 45minutes as you turn the heat on, when boiling bring to a gentle simmer.

5.      5.  After 45 minutes add the cubed beetroots and cook for a further 15 minutes.

6.      6.  Add the lemon juice, 2 tbsp of brown sugar, season to taste and then the final ingredient – double cream. The amount of double cream is depending on the final taste you want to achieve, the more cream you add the more you will counteract the acidity of the lemon juice making for a more mellow soup. We only added two heap spoonfuls to our huge pot of soup.

7.       7. That’s all she wrote as they say, you are ready to serve. Enjoy!

Time to serve!

Time to serve!

Remember any soup not eaten straight away will need to be put in the fridge as we used double cream. The added bonus here is that the soup becomes even richer and more complex the next day.

As a final thought, as chard is seasonal, you can make large volumes of this soup and freeze it for an out of season delight. However if you do plan to freeze omit the lemon juice and cream and add them on the day you eat whilst heating your soup up.


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