Tag: soup

Happy Fall Y’all

The changing season may not be as evident here in San Francisco as other parts of the US, but leaves are turning, darkness arrives earlier every day and there is new autumnal fruit and vegetables at the local farmer’s market. Blushing apples, pears, pumpkins and squash. Leading up to Halloween the pumpkins started taking over- pumpkins in piles at the market, in window displays, carved or whole on doorsteps. Pumpkin spiced everything appeared on menus, as well as in coffees and other places pumpkins don’t belong. But it made me start thinking of ways I like to eat pumpkin and decided to have a few friends over for dinner to celebrate pumpkins and the arrival of autumn.




I bought four different pumpkins and squash at the market to see what they were all like and made two meals out of them. (I love it when you can prep once, eat twice- speaking of which, my favourite blogger has just done a series for The Guardian which is about exactly this. She is an English woman living in Rome and her recipes are so fantastically Roman. I love them and whole heartedly recommend the braised lentils two ways.) Anyway, from these pumpkins I made ravioli di zucca for the autumn dinner with friends and then a spicy Thai pumpkin soup for Ollie and I to have on the Sunday night. PLUS I put the off cuts from the pasta in the freezer and we had these with a beef sugo a week later.




Ravioli di Zucca

For the filling
A variety of pumpkin/squash (I am still trying to work out the difference and how this compares with our NZ naming of this family of round orange vegetables) enough to cover a roasting dish
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
Half a grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
A splash of cream
6 sage leaves, finely chopped

For the pasta
5 cups of flour, tipo 00
5 large free range eggs

For the sauce
A big lump of butter
A handful of sage leaves

Peel, seed, cut into cubes and roast the pumpkin at 180 for about 40 minutes or until it is well cooked.  While this is cooking, finely dice the onion and garlic and  fry in plenty of butter until very tender. When the pumpkin is ready, add it to the onion and garlic with the grated nutmeg, finely chopped sage leaves, cream and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Mush it up with a fork so you have a smooth filling with all the flavours combined.

Now start with your pasta dough- you just need 1 cup of flour and 1 egg per person. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the eggs. Whisk the eggs with a fork, and when they are mixed, slowly bring in the flour until you have a dough. Now you can take out and unwanted anger on the dough as you knead it for at least five minutes. You’re aiming for a smooth and silky consistency. Cover with flour, glad wrap and leave in the fridge for half an hour.

This now gives you time to realise that your guests are due to arrive, quickly clean up the apartment, open a bottle of wine, and pretend that it was your intention all along to be rolling out pasta when they arrive rather than be organised beforehand.





Making pasta is best when you have two people involved, one to do the rolling and one to do the ravioli making. The roller wants to work the dough through the machine down to the smallest setting, making sure the pasta is well dusted so it is easy to manipulate and doesn’t stick. The ravioli maker wants to put about a teaspoon of mixture evenly spaced down half of a sheet of pasta- you should be able to fit two across. Then fold the other half over top and tuck the little pumpkins into bed, pressing down so that all the mixture is sealed in. You can now cut them with a knife or use a ravioli or cookie cutter to make them into ravioli. Keep on doing this until you have used all your pasta and you have a plate of beautifully dusted ravioli ready to cook. The dusting part is really important, there is nothing more frustrating than all your hard work sticking together.




These will only need 4-5 minutes in boiling, salted water to cook. While they are doing this, melt down a big hunk of butter and fry the remaining sage leaves until they are nice and crispy. Drain the ravioili, plate up and pour over the burnt sage butter. Buon apetito!




And then the next day…

Thai Pumpkin Soup

Olive or sunflower oil
One onion
Four cloves garlic
1 stalk celery
2 carrots
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1Tbsp of chilli flakes
The other half of the roasted pumpkins that you didn’t use for ravioli
200mL Coconut milk
100mL stock or water
Fresh coriander and natural yoghurt to serve




Coat the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot with plenty of oil and add the spices so that you have a delicious paste to start your soup. Add the roughly chopped onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook on a gentle heat for about 15 minutes. Add the pumpkin coconut milk and stock and simmer for at least 15 minutes to combine the different flavours and textures. Use a mixing stick to blend it all together, or if you don’t have one, transfer to a blender. It is up to your personal preference whether you like to keep this chunky or blend until it is smooth. Simmer for ten minutes longer to make sure they flavours have all mingled together in a delicious way and then serve in deep bowls with fresh coriander (and natural yoghurt should you wish) and toasted bread or naan breads.



A perfect Sunday night dinner for when it is cold outside. Happy fall y’all.


Asian Inspired

And so another Friday rolls round and it is coming up five weeks in this city. The sun is still shining, the wind is still gusting and I am still pottering in the kitchen, exploring new neighbourhoods and waiting for a work visa.

Earlier this week I wandered through Chinatown. Apparently it is the oldest Chinatown in North America, and the largest population of Chinese outside Asia. I walked past smells I couldn’t quite place, cars and fumes, shouting, lanterns and Chinese women doing synchronised dancing in a park opposite a beautiful Catholic church. I walked past these, and I started thinking about what to make for dinner. Something spicy, fresh and with noodles. Pho was calling to me.

Now this isn’t a real pho (a Vietnamese noodle soup), but my version made from what I had in the cupboard and what I felt like eating that night. Although it looks like there are a lot of flavours and ingredients, it really is very easy to make- there are only three steps. Simple as that. You can change it up, play around with different flavours and make it work for you. Have a go and let me know what yours turned out like.


A Kind of Pho

Skin and bones from 2 big chicken thighs
1 litre water
1 celery stalk- with leaves
1 onion
1 carrot
1 chilli
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp hossein sauce
1 chunk of ginger, skin on
4 cloves garlic

Flesh from the chicken thighs, finely sliced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
2 bok choy, halved
Noodles – I used soba because that is what we had, but wide glass noodles would be better

1 lime, quartered
Big handful of fresh coriander
Handful of mung beans
2 spring onions finely sliced
Fresh chilli, finely sliced
Half an onion, finely sliced and deep fried


First of all, you need to make your broth. Simply put all your broth ingredients in a big pot, bring to the boil and then simmer for about an hour. This should give plenty of time for all your ingredients to get together and create a flavoursome broth. Taste to make sure it is good, and add more of anything you think it needs. Strain and put back on the heat. Bring to the boil again and add the chicken, mushrooms, bok choy and noodles. These should only take five minutes to cook, so while this is happening, finely finely slice some onion and deep fry and salt it. This will make a deliciously salty and sweet element to top your soup with. Divide your soup into bowls and get garnishing. Or, lay the garnishes on the table and let people add what they want.

Happy weekend x


Mushroom Soup

I cannot wait for my cookbooks to arrive from New Zealand. You may call me old fashioned, but I love sitting with a pile of them, a cup of tea in hand, having a look through and getting inspired. Of course there is the internet, thousands of recipes at the click of a button, but it just isn’t the same. I told you I was old fashioned, and no I don’t own a kindle.

With winter showing up every evening, the last few days have made me feel like something warming for dinner. Something to savour when it is cold outside. So I went straight to Jamie Oliver’s website and looked at his soup recipes. A mushroom soup with mascarpone leapt out and I was inspired.

Mushroom Soup

1 onion
6 cloves garlic
Small handful of pried porcini mushrooms
Two handfuls of button mushrooms
Handful of thyme
1 litre chicken stock
1 Tbsp mascarpone
Zest of half a lemon (optional)

First of all, soak your porcini mushrooms in a little boiling water. Once they are feeling hydrated again, finely chop them, the onion, garlic and half of the button mushrooms. And I mean, really finely chop. This is how to make soup without a blender or whiz stick, so you have to do the work at the beginning. Slowly fry these in olive oil with the thyme leaves, salt and pepper. After about twenty minutes, add the water from the porcini mushrooms and the stock and simmer for another twenty minutes. When you have about ten minutes to go, add the mascarpone to the soup and roughly chop the remaining mushrooms. I fried these in some lemon zest for a bit of zing and added them to the bowls of soup at the end.

The result is an earthy and tasty soup that is rich in flavour, despite being this easy to make. Even better when mopped up with bread from The Mill.

We then went round the corner to a bar called Toronado, which has an absurd amount of beers on tap, so we could toast the moment our dear friends said “I do” back in Auckland. All our love to the two of you x


Springtime soup

I love finishing a weekend with something healthy and tasty to prepare you for the week ahead. This springtime soup was perfect- easy, quick and delicious. The beauty of it lies in its versatility, you can just use whatever is in season. Make it a denser wintery soup with the addition of root vegetables, or a earthy autumnal soup with mushrooms.



1 onion
1 fennel bulb
4 cloves of garlic
Zest of half a lemon
6 spears of asparagus cut into thirds
Handful of brussel sprouts halved
Half a Savoy cabbage finely sliced
1 handful of baby spinach
Fresh Italian parsley
Fresh basil
Chicken stock

Slowly fry the finely chopped fennel, lemon zest, garlic and onion in a good amount of olive oil. Once they have softened and are lovely and sweet, add the chicken stock, the asparagus, brussel sprouts, cabbage, spinach, herbs and simmer for about ten minutes. You don’t want to vegetables to be raw, but you also don’t want them mushy and boiled tasting. Aim for firm and youthful!

Serve with some grated parmesan, freshly ground black pepper and bread and butter. Health instantly restored after the weekend.