Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder

Ah, soup.  I am such a fan.  It is easy to prepare, does not require difficult-to-get ingredients and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes (depending on the soup).  It’s filling, without being fattening, and can be flavoured and bulked-out with just about anything you have lying around the place.  Just bung it in, blend it up and hey presto! You have soup.  Or some weird-flavoured water (depending on the “anything” you bunged in).

Tonight I had a hankering for corn chowder.  I don’t know why.  It just appeared in my brain and took hold and made me desire its smokey, corny goodness beyond all other food stuffs.  I don’t make it very often.  Pretty much never.  The first time I ever made it was in catering class in high school.  I think I have made it three times in my entire life.  But it’s so yummy!  And filling and satisfying and feels like a meal rather than some sort of dietary punishment.  It never looks very attractive though.  Corn Chowder resembles, at best, dog vomit.  In fact, I hesitated when naming this blog post.  I wanted to call it “Corn Chunder” but I am far too mature for such a title.  I apologise if you are eating right now but, seriously, was there ever a more unattractive looking soup?

So my photo below is another fail.  I’m not even going to bother blaming it on bad lighting (even though the lighting in my kitchen is rubbish).  Let’s just ignore the picture and get on with the taste.  It’s yummy.  Delish. Tasty.

So here’s my recipe.  As always, for all my soup recipes, it is a bit approximate in terms of amounts used.  Again, just bung it in. I have, as is necessary for me, made this vegetarian, but substitute (if you must) real bacon etc.

Corn Chowder 

1 large onion, diced
4 rashers of vegetarian bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 potato, peeled and diced into roughly 1cm cubes
375ml can of evaporated milk + 2 canfuls of water – one mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of stock powder + one mixed with flour
2 cups frozen (or fresh) corn kernels
Chopped parsley

Method

Saute the onion in a bit of oil (I used sunflower) in a large saucepan  until soft.
Add bacon and fry for a minute (don’t let it brown).
Add milk and extra cans of water (with stock and flour).  Bring to a gentle boil (keep your eye on it) and add potato.  Keep stirring – the milk can burn or boil over so keep it simmering rather than rapid boiling.  Keep stirring for about 10 minutes until potato is tender (but not super squishy).  Add corn kernels and chopped parsley.

Continue simmering for about 5 mins.  Take off heat and take out a ladle or two of the chunky bits.  Give the remaining soup a bit of a blend with an upright stick blender (or whatever you have).  Don’t puree it until it’s smooth – this is supposed to be a chunky chowder!  Add the removed ingredients back into the pot and stir.  If it is too thick for your liking, you can add a half-cup of water if you wish.

Serve hot in bowls – garnish with parsley if desired.

Enjoy!  (just don’t look at it and you’ll be fine) 🙂

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Carrot, Ginger and Honey Soup

Carrot, Ginger and Honey Soup

Another Sunday night has rolled around and I am in my usual state of panic about all that I haven’t achieved over the weekend.  I had such plans but they fell by the wayside as I ended up spending time with friends instead.  Which was lovely and I am by no means complaining.  At all.  But I sometimes despair at my lack of organisational skills and inability to follow plans.  Or to even make them to begin with.  Never mind, time spent with friends as wonderful as mine is never a waste of time and I have done lots of well-needed talking, venting and just interacting with other human beings.  It’s been a bit of a emotionally heavy week and by Friday I was not in a good way.
When you find yourself sitting on the floor, sobbing your eyes out whilst watching a movie, you know that maybe you need some emotional support and care.
When that movie is something as dreadful as “Eat, Pray, Love”, there is no hope for you and you must seek help.  Quickly.  Go now!

But I tried hard to get a few things done this weekend so I wouldn’t feel guilty by Monday morning.  I painted and varnished a few more of the little blobby wooden brooches (which seem to get worse the more I paint so I am stopping now and relinquishing all hope of ever being good at painting. Even if it’s just blobs of paint, I still manage to make them messy blobs).  I made some earrings and finished off a bracelet for my friend K, worked on some sketches for another project I have in the works, and started putting together a few bits for a craft swap I am doing.

This evening I thought it would be a good idea to make some dishes that I could divide up and freeze, to see me through the week at work so I never have that late night panic about what I am going to eat the next day.  I made Tofu Burgers, a mushroom and eggplant risotto (based on the recipe HERE) and this yummy soup (recipe courtesy of Real Living magazine) which was very simple to make and surprisingly delicious.  Well, not THAT surprising – I mean, what’s not to love about carrot, ginger and honey as a combination?  Yum!  Anyway, the soup simmered away as the burgers and risotto baked in the oven and now all I have to do is clear the kitchen up.  Ugh.  That’s the worst part about cooking – the mess that comes with it.  Never mind, you should try this soup as it is basically a one pot wonder and very tasty, healthy and doesn’t have too many ingredients.

Carrot, Ginger and Honey Soup

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
2 tbsp grated fresh root ginger
500g carrots, peeled & chopped roughly
1 tbsp mild-flavoured honey
1 lemon, juiced (I must admit I didn’t use lemon in mine – I didn’t have any!  I put a tablespoon or so
of white wine vinegar in instead to add some zing – it seemed to work well but next time I will use lemon…)
Salt & ground black pepper
400ml boiling water (I used vegetable stock and omitted the salt above)
40g butter, diced
Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

METHOD

Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 5 mins, or until soft and translucent.

Add ginger and cook for a further 2 mins. Stir well. Add carrots, honey, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Stir.

Add boiling water to soup ingredients. Reduce heat to low and cook for 35 mins.

Transfer to blender. Drop in butter cubes and blend until smooth and creamy.

Serve in mugs or bowl with a sprinkling of chopped parsley on the top.

Enjoy!
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PS The bowl was one of a set I bought at the op-shop yesterday (more on that later) for only 25 cents a piece.  Crazy price but lovely little bowls (which will help me with my portion control which has, of late, become rather uncontrolled).  I wasn’t going to keep them for myself but I rather like them and they’re my favourite combination of colour – blue and brown – so they will most likely stay with me.
Hope you all had a lovely weekend, spent with friends and family and yummy things to eat 🙂
Noooooooooo! I’m not allowed to get sick!!!

Noooooooooo! I’m not allowed to get sick!!!

Ugh.  I think I am getting a cold.  I hardly ever get them and, when I do, I am quite pathetic.  Sniffly and moany and pathetic.  I think I hate the time they waste.  When you’re sick you can’t do anything constructive and you just want to curl up in a ball and die, loudly with lots of complaining and coughing.  Right now I feel a bit hot in the face and my throat is dry and scratchy.  I have loaded myself up with Vitamin C, Garlic and Horseradish.  I hate bought throat lozenges and will be making myself soup for dinner (capsicum with added horseradish and ginger and garlic – it is possible no one will want to come near me for a few days).  I am drinking lemon and ginger tea and am about to pour a jar of honey down my throat.  Ugh.  I think I am even more pathetic now I am on my own – not that hubby was particularly good at playing nursey but it is always better to have someone around to fetch you tissues and get you hot water bottles and look sympathetic.

However, I shall try not to give in to the lurgy.  I have one more day of my short holiday left and I do not want to waste it.  I have had a few nice days of crafting with my Mum and I don’t want to stop now that I am back home again.  Today we went to a big craft show at the show grounds and had a great time – but I will update you on that next post.  The days before were spent collaging and playing with clay at my Mum’s.  We had been wanting to make some clay ornaments and beads for some time and decided this would be the week we made a commitment to do so.  We soon learned we are lacking in sculpting skills and probably had visions of elaborate finished pieces that were way beyond our actual abilities.  Never mind, we had fun and made a mess which is the important bit 🙂

I made a few round beads that I want to paint once they are dry.  I also made some pendants (again, faces) and a brooch and a little “L.O.V.E” statue that I think is kinda cute.  They all need to be sanded a bit and/or painted and varnished.  Fun!  Time-consuming!  Messy!  But definitely fun.

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Little L.O.V.E statue.  (you can’t see the word very clearly here but it is near the bottom.
Speaking of bottoms, she has one.  A butt that is!..but you can’t see that either here)

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“Goddess” brooch

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“Face” beads and pendant…

Now I have to unpack all my bags (I’ve been staying at Mum’s and I always overpack) and find my house under all the rubble.  I want to be ready to get up early tomorrow, possibly go for a walk if I can get motivated enough and then do a solid day’s crafting as I won’t get to do any for a while due to pesky work commitments (so inconvenient this work business!).  I also plan on eating the fudge I bought at the craft show in a moment of weakness.  I want to get back onto my healthy eating so will have to consume the fudge quickly so as not to ruin my healthy week.  That’s my story and I am sticking to it.  Fudge is good for sore throats, right?

Hope you are having a great weekend, free from lurgies and full of fun and fabulousness! 🙂

Roasted Capsicum & Carrot Soup

Roasted Capsicum & Carrot Soup

I love soup.  At any time of year I am more than happy to have a big bowl of hot soup.  It’s easy to make, inexpensive and is very filling and satisfying.  It’s also a good way to use up any scrungey old veggies you have in the fridge (you know, the ones that are looking a little bit sad/wilted/depressed).  My favourite soup to make at the moment is Roasted Capsicum and Carrot Soup.  So delish.  It is pretty simple to make, with only a few ingredients and keeps well in the fridge so you can enjoy it over a few days, or freeze it for stand-by meals.  I like to top mine with some crumbled, creamy Danish feta.  Yum.

So here’s my basic recipe.  I never measure anything or really notice how much of anything I am using when making this soup so feel free to substitute ingredients or leave out anything that you don’t like.  The only thing that is compulsory is roasted the capsicum and carrot – it adds so much flavour and richness to the finished dish, you really can’t leave that step out.

Start with about three large red capsicums.  Chop them up into pieces, discarding the seeds, stalk and pith.  Chop up 1-2 large carrots.  Lay the capsicum and carrot on a baking tray (on some baking paper – both vegetables are fairly sweet and so they WILL stick to your trays if you don’t line them first).  Roast them in a hot oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until they start to caramelise and brown.  A little bit of black skin on the capsicum is fine, I think.  It adds a bit of smoky flavour.

Whilst these are roasting, dice up a large onion and sauté it in a large saucepan with a little bit of olive oil and a couple of chopped sun-dried tomatoes until just starting to caramelise.  Take off heat.  Add a teaspoon of garlic/ginger paste and stir through.  Once oven-roasted veg is ready, add it to the saucepan with 2 cups of vegetable stock, and chopped herbs (optional but I like to add some basil or thyme) and return to heat to simmer.  Stir it occasionally and add more stock as the liquid reduces.  You can add more or less stock depending on how thick you like your soups.  I usually use about three cups in total.

Simmer for approx 30 mins or until all veg is very soft (i.e. mashable).  Season as desired and, using a stick blender, puree until desired thickness is achieved.  Pour into soup bowls with a soup ladle and garnish with a little bit of feta, grated cheese or herbs.

Voila!  The recipe isn’t really a “recipe” – it’s more a guide.  Soup isn’t meant to be super fussy or difficult to make and I certainly don’t follow any instructions for it.  It’s a case of bung it in and boil it up!   Serve it up on its own or with some nice crusty bread.

Try it today – it’s delicious and healthy, colourful and full of good stuff!  I know what I am having for dinner tonight! 🙂

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Nominations and Green Soup!

Nominations and Green Soup!

Hi there – thanks for stopping by.  It’s so nice to have all these lovely new friends from all over.  I appreciate all your comments and “likes” and “follows”, I really do.  I am excited each day to see who’s written to me or how many followers I have.  I also worry daily about whether I am posting anything decent or if I’m posting enough at all (which I know I’m not).

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I’ve been nominated for an “Inspiring Blogger” Award by the lovely Audra of Joyosphere and you should definitely have a look at her blog too.  She has some great posts about all things to do with the home and family life, plus she’s a fellow librarian so, you know, she gets extra points for that.  🙂

There are some rules for the award acceptance….

  1. Link back to the blogger who so kindly nominated you! 
  2. Post the image of the award…. I think I’ve successfully done that, I hope…
  3. Share 7 random facts about yourself…I am pretty random in general so there’s lots of things I could list, but I’ll stick to the following seven:

1.  I used to be a lot bigger than I am now.  I once lost about 25-30kg.  I was basically a big round ball on legs.  Fat, stumpy legs.  I live in fear of returning to that state.  It is a constant battle.

2.  I once sold dog food door-to-door.  I only lasted one day.  I hated it.

3. I used to collect pigs.  Not real ones, just ornamental piggies.  It started when my brother bought me a gorgeous piggy bank and went from there. I had hundreds of them but then one day just got fed up and didn’t want to collect them any more.  Most of them ended up in op shops and garage sales.  I hope they found happy homes!  Other things I have collected – erasers, stickers and stamps.

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4.  I have had the same best friend for 32 years.  It’s a miracle she isn’t sick of me yet.  I should be careful to hang on to her…she knows too much about me!

5.   I love the ocean on dark and stormy days when the sky is black and the waves are angry and crashing about.  I love storms in general.

6.  I’d really like to dye my hair purple but I am too chicken.

7.  I can’t stand coriander (also called cilantro).  It is gross and smells like vomit to me.  Yuck.

So there you are.  Not very exciting but definitely random!

I also have to nominate 15 bloggers for the same award.  I plan on doing a special post on that so I will keep you posted (pardon the pun).  I am particularly bad about this last rule – I just always seem to forget to do it so I will try extra hard to not put it off for too long.

Gotta go and serve up some dinner for me and the hubby.  It’s a cold, miserable night again and soup is the order of the day.  I’d eat soup for dinner every night if I could.  Especially Green Soup.  I make this about once a week and have it for lunches too if there’s enough left over.  I just saute some onions until they’re translucent, chuck in some chopped celery (about 4 stalks) and let that cook a little bit.  Then I add in some chopped zucchini (one whole one) and some frozen baby peas (about a cup or so).  Add enough stock to cover and let it simmer away until all the vegies are soft and ready to be blitzed.  In the meantime, blanch a handful of snowpeas in some boiling water for about a minute.   Drain them and let them sit in some cold water (this helps them keep their colour and flavour).  Chuck them into the rest of the soupy mix when you’re ready to blend and blitz until smooth.  Season as necessary.  I usually sprinkle a little bit of parmesan on top and just a little bit of black pepper.  Yummo!  Serve with some nice warm bread or cheesy scones.  Delish!

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Whatever you’re having for dinner tonight, hope it is exactly what you’ve been wanting all day and that you can share it with some good company 🙂