Monday, March 3, 2008

Eating light

The good news is the recharger has reappeared! Thanks to my sister in law it has been found so I am excited to have my fab red camera back in action! (These photos were taken by the old Sony, still taking not a bad photo for such an old camera!)
Now that I am back into the routine of uni I am trying to eat better and get some exercise. I get plenty of opportunity for walking while in Hamilton which is great but strangely what I am really looking forward to is some cooler weather so I can revert to my old diet strategy, SOUP! I can't get enough of the stuff, it is so nutritious and filling, that I could eat it most days of the week. It is also possible to fill up on low fat, high goodness soup and curb your appetite somewhat for the kind of food that one expects will add some 'warmth' over winter!

I struggle to name a favourite, it really depends on my mood. I adore a thick chunky chowder some days, or a clear light broth others. Sometimes I go for Asian, sometimes Italian. One of the consistent things though is to start with a good stock, you generally can't go wrong if you start with this.

I have been buying chicken frames to make my stocks lately, but any time I roast a chicken I pop the carcass into the freezer until I have about four at which time I chuck them in the pot together with:

a stick or two of celery, roughly chopped
a carrot (peeled and roughly chopped)
2 onions, roughly chopped
8 whole garlic cloves (skin on)
1 tbsp peppercorns
4 bay leaves
big handful of parsley
salt to taste

Cover the lot with water, bring to the boil and simmer for at least an hour. Strain the liquid away and you have a great base to start to create with!

For tonights dinner it was turned into a lovely pumpkin soup. I won't bother you with a recipe, I follow the basic method, my only tweek is to add light evaporated milk to make it creamier. I served cheese filled calzone to go with it! As an appetiser I used Nigella's halloumi recipe from Nigella Bites, where basically you fry it in a pan and then dress it with a chilli chopped and mixed with olive oil and lemon juice. I served it on a herb and mesclun mix, it was fantastic!

Another huge favourite for this time of year, when sweetcorn is still around is this recipe I discovered a few years ago. It is by Lois Daish, who was a columnist for The Listener, her cooking column was fabulous and I have stowed away many a page ripped out for later use. She has a very down to earth style, lots of really great traditional yet gorgeous recipes that I use over and over.

It happens rarely but this is one recipe I have not altered! It is so simple yet tastes so beautiful that my family won't let me spirit away leftovers to freeze for later! Do make sure you use fresh corn, it really is what makes this soup work!

1 free-range chicken
1 carrot
1 onion
1 rib celery
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black peppercorns

1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves new season garlic
sliced; 2 tbsp peanut oil
kernels cut from 4 corn cobs
4 all-purpose potatoes, eg Red Desiree, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper to taste
big handfuls of green herbs such as coriander, parsley tarragon, chives

Rinse the chicken in cold water and put into a stockpot. Slice the vegetables, and add with the bay leaf and peppercorns.
Cover with water and simmer for 1 hour, then lift out the chicken onto a serving plate, retaining the liquid in the stockpot. As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones, cool and refrigerate. Return the carcass to the stockpot to continue simmering.
To make the soup, put the onion, garlic and oil into a large saucepan and fry gently until translucent. Place a sieve over the saucepan and ladle in 4 cups of the simmering chicken stock. Add the corn kernels and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. If needed, add enough extra stock to cover the vegetables. Simmer for 30 minutes. Cut up the reserved chicken meat into medium-sized pieces and add to the soup, together with enough additional chicken stock to make a thick, chunky soup. Bring back to the boil, taste, then add the herbs you have chosen. Serve hot. Serves 6.


Anonymous said...

Gorgeous food Linda. The calzone looks so good I could eat it right now.

Glad you found the recharger :)

Chef Jeena said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
violets said...

Linda your food and pictures always look so good, your blog is beautiful, I'm trying to catch up with everyone's after my time out.

Vi xx

hungryandfrozen said...

You're back! :) That soup looks gorgeous. I always make myself a bowl of lentil-thick soup after any indescretions (like the massive bag of twisties I ate last night! :( :( and it always makes me feel better about things! Hope uni is going well, it seems very full-on for me this year!

Katie B. said...

What a fabulous flavor combination! I like that it seems to be a tweak on the traditional tomato soup/grilled cheese combo!