First up is a somewhat 'made up as I went along', Asian Duck Noodle Soup which I cooked to use up a small amounts of five spice roasted duck and some duck stock made from the carcass.
This is basically a light broth flavoured with miso paste, garlic, ginger, seaweed, and Japanese Nanami Togarashi chilli seasoning. Pieces of thinly sliced duck and fine pre-cooked noodles are added to the broth and heated through just before serving the soup. This soup would also work with chicken, beef or salmon. The 'chilli seasoning' is available as a premixed blend of chilli pepper, orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, pepper, ginger and seaweed and is very good in soups like this.
Approx quantities per person to serve as a meal:
400-500 ml low salt stock (chicken, duck, beef, or good bouillion powder)
1 rounded tsp finely chopped ginger
1 small clove garlic finely chopped
1 tsp vegetable oil with very light flavour
2-4g dried cut wakame sea weed pre-soaked in water
2 rounded tsps miso paste
20g (or more) thin asian dried noodles which you have precooked
50-100g cooked duck meat or as much as you want to eat!
1 tbs Japanese soy sauce
Nanami Togarashi or Japanese/Korean chilli flakes to taste
- Soak the sea weed in cold water for 10-15 minutes.
- Pre-cook the noodles according to the packet, drain and rinse in cold water.
- Finely chop the garlic and ginger.
- Chop the duck into small thin slices.
- In a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients gently fry the ginger and garlic in oil until cooked through but not browning.
- Stir in the miso paste and then add the stock.
- Bring to a simmer and then add the drained seaweed pieces.
- Bring back to a simmer and check for seasoning adding as much of the Japanese soy sauce as you need to get salt levels to your taste.
- Add the duck meat and bring back to a simmer.
- Add the noodles and bring back to a simmer.
- Season with the Nanami Togarashi or Japanese/Korean chilli flakes.
- Serve straight away.
Chicken & Buttermilk Soup. I was drawn to this soup as I love the combination of citrus and chicken and I have also been keen to start making use of my stash of sumac spice purchased a few months ago. I actually served my soup warm/hot rather than cold, and I did not bother with frying the chicken pieces at the end. The recipe lists basil, coriander and mint, but I used a little potted basil, no coriander and only a hint of mint as that was all I had. It is a delicious soup which is tangy from the buttermilk, lemon and sumac spice while the potato gives it a silky texture. We had this for Sunday supper after a weekend of rather rich food and I will definitely be making this again.
Arbutus in Soho for their fixed price 3 course lunch and these are the dishes I tucked into:
Grilled Cornish mackerel, salad of shaved fennel, radish and salmon
Slow roasted leg of rabbit, Artisanal black pudding, turnips and carrots
Yorkshire rhubarb, meringue, yogurt.It was all very delicious and cooked so precisely. I would have loved to have seen the chefs at work but recipes from Arbutus and their other restaurant Wild Honey have been published in a book titled 'Today's Special' which I have just borrowed from my local library and from that I give you:
Roast Tomato and Fennel Seed Soup.
500g plum tomatoes
2-3 tbs good olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
quarter tsp chilli flakes or more to taste
quarter tsp fennel seeds
2-3 anchovy fillets
very small sprig fresh rosemary
2-3 tbs mascarpone cheese
Preheat the oven to 200C
- Halve the tomatoes and arrange them cut side up in a roasting dish.
- Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and drizzle over about 1 tbs olive oil.
- Roast for 15 minutes or until soft and starting to brown a little.
- While the tomatoes are roasting cook the onion, garlic, anchovy, chilli flakes and fennel seeds in a heavy pan in about 1 tbs olive oil. Do not brown just gently cook until tender.
- When the roasted tomatoes are cool enough to handle, chop them roughly. You can include the skins but I am a bit wary of cooked tomato skins which I hate the texture of so I removed them from my soup. At this point I also removed the rosemary sprigs.
- Add the chopped tomatoes to the onion mixture and bring back to the boil.
- Add some water if the soup is too thick.
- Serve in bowls with a scoop or two of mascarpone cheese, a drizzle more of olive oil and in my case some extra smoked chilli flakes.
You could make this more of a meal by adding chunks of a very tender buffalo mozarella cheese instead of the cream.
I took part in a fund raising auction for some Valentine's chocolates earlier this month and my bid won this rather lovely box of chocolates offered by Graham Hornigold of the Hakesson Group. There were some lovely flavour combinations in the box including a particularly delicious raspberry and rose chocolate. The funds raised go to Galvins Chance a charity set up to help disadvantaged young people get training and work placements in the hospitality industry.
What I have been baking:
Hot cross buns are one of my favourite yeasted buns and I believe it is never too soon in the lead up to Easter to start baking them though they are traditionally eaten on Good Friday. For both these and the @SundayBakeClub 'birthday boule' below, I used a strong white flour from Carrs milled in Cumbria which has been very successful. This flour is milled from Canadian wheat and it has a slightly lower protein content than the Waitrose bread flour I have been using.
recipe here. This is one of those very simple, and so much greater than the sum of its parts desserts. Loads of butter too!