Tag Archives: soup

Mushroom soup

mushroom soup

Up till today, I think the Marche restaurant here has one of the best mushroom soup.
It’s rich, creamy and full of mushroomy flavors and we can taste mushroom bits in every spoonful.

It’s not exactly cheap. Probably sold at $6 for a small portion?
Well, considering this dish is quite a handful (anything that is not one pot and requires additional cooking methods is, to me), I think the price is ok.

The great thing about home cooking is that when zzz cooks it, I have a whole steaming hot pot of soup all to myself-just that its really too hot to have something so hot.


Vegetable stock:
1 bi-colour corn
1 carrot
2 stalks of celery
1 yellow onion
1 medium potato
mushroom stalks from below
coriander stalks

Mushroom soup:
1200 ml vegetable stock
600+ g mixed fresh mushrooms (i happen to use a mix of oyster, shitake, portobello and buna-shimeji)
30g mixed dried forest mushrooms
1 red onion
3 cloves garlic
juice of half a lemon
coriander leaves for garnish
truffle oil and lemon zest (optional)


Make the vegetable stock first. Roughly chop the veggies into a medium pot and add about 1500 ml of water. Bring to boil and allow to simmer for at least 45 mins. Meanwhile prepare the ingredients for the soup.

Briefly run the dried mushrooms under tap water and soak them with just enough freshly boiled water to cover. Wipe the fresh mushrooms clean and remove the stalks. Throw the stalks into the simmering stock. Roughly slice/tear the mushrooms (the small ones can be left whole). Finely chop the red onion and garlic.

In a large hot saucepan, add olive oil and half the mushrooms. Sauté at medium high heat for a few minutes, add the garlic and onions and the rest of the mushrooms. Continue to sauté, noting that the water in the mushroom should be cooked away. Add the dried mushrooms and reserve the soaking liquid. Add a dash of salt. Continue to sauté for another 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked perfectly (ermm, taste and trust your senses!). The mushrooms should not be wet nor burning dry.

Strain the vegetable stock. Pick up the potato chunks and add them into the pot of mushrooms. Add the soaking liquid and 800ml of the vegetable stock. Bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until no big chucks of mushrooms remains. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and check consistency. If soup is too thick add more stock gradually. Add lemon juice and bring to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Serve hot with coriander leaves, a dash of lemon zest and a few drops of truffle oil (optional).


If there ever is a HPC in future, these would definitely be on the menu. My favourites picks for lunch.

Pumpkin soup with garlic cream foam

Pumpkin soup with garlic cream foam

Roasted veggie sandwich

Roasted veggie sandwich

Portobello mushroom burger

Portobello mushroom burger

Reminiscing Paris – Again!

Entree: Carrot ginger coconut soup with croutons

Oven grilled sea-bass with baked sweet potatoes

Dessert: Lemon tart with grapefruit

zzz probably has posted a few posts earlier about Paris.

Europe is just so fairytale like in so many ways.

The streets (even the streetlights are quaint!), buildings that breathed the air of history, never ending museums to will the day away, the parks, the culture, the FOOD and the scenery. Every time we stepped into Europe its almost like stepping into another timezone. Not that the people wear medieval fashions, but everything works in a slightly differently clockwork that we urbanites tend to watch and soak it all in awe.

Well, as you probably can see, we kind of miss the holiday (who doesn’t for a holiday), and the most wonderful foods we had.

Like the carrot and the parsnip soup we had in this small cafe called Causes which serves almost everything (or maybe it is everything) organic, it even has this nice little grocery shop besides the restaurant. The whole grilled sea bass (perfectly filleted) and cod fish we had at Vin & Maree (their fish is quite different in texture, with a  firmer flesh i would say) and the yummy lemon tart to end of our meal there. The fulfilling crepes at Creperie de Josselin with homemade caramel sauce which combines to a wonderful mush to melt in your mouth. There were so many, simply looking at the photos will make one salivate.

Anyways, since we are back home and 13 hours away from Paris, the closest we could do to curb that craving is for zzz to whip up a Paris inspired dinner, just so to get a tinge of Paris in the fastest way possible.


Carrot ginger soup

Adapted from Joy the Baker

4 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
3-4 inches of young ginger, grated (more or less depending on how “gingy” u want!)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 liter of vegetable stock
2 Tablespoons of coconut cream (more or less to taste)

Heat a heavy bottom pot. Add olive oil and saute shallots, garlic and ginger. Add carrots and 750 ml of stock. Cook for 30 mins or until carrots are soft and tender. Blend until smooth. Add coconut cream. Taste and season lightly. Add remaining stock if necessary, adjusting to the desired consistency. Garnish with mint leaf, olive oil and mixed herbs/spices (i used black pepper, fleur de sel, dried oregano and cinnamon).

Oven grilled sea-bass

Preheat oven to 240 deg celcius. Make a marinate of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Marinate whole sea-bass. Change the oven setting to grill (top heating element only). Put the sea bass into the oven (i set it on a wire rack with a pan at the bottom to catch the dripping juices). Depending on size of the sea bass, grill for 20-40 mins, turning halfway. Once the skin is crisp, the fish should be cooked. If the skin refuses to crisp after the fish is cooked, so be it.. it’ll still be tasty!!

Lemon tart

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 dash of salt
60 g cold butter, cubed
half an egg yolk

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend till crumbly. Turn out into a bowl and work quickly with fingertips into a dough. Do not overwork. Press into tart tins. (Should be enough for 3-6 medium-small tins). Cover with cling film and rest in fridge for at least an hour, more if you can afford.

This tart needs a fully baked crust. Preheat the oven at 190 deg celcius. Line the face of the tart dough with Al foil and weigh it down with beans or pie weights. Blind bake in oven for 15 -20 mins. Remove the foil and beans/weights. Bake uncovered for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the crust is nice and slightly brown. Remove and cool.

Lemon curd filling:
3 eggs
120 ml lemon juice
3/4 cup raw sugar (or more depending on the sweetness of the lemon)
200 g butter, cubed

Whisk eggs, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and double boil for ~30 mins, whisking periodically, until the curd changes consistency.  Continue whisking and heating on the double boiler for a minute and remove from heat. add butter and whisk in until it disappears. Leave aside to cool to room temperature. Curd will continue to thicken as it cools.

Pour the curd over the tart and chill. Garnish with mint leaves and/or fresh fruits if desired.

Pasta e Fagioli

= Pasta e Fagioli

 Comfort food at its best 🙂
Ingredients (did not measure, use more or less according to personal liking)
borlortti beans freshly released from their pods
san marzano tomatoes
cloves of garlic, crushed, skin-on
carrot, diced
celery, diced
onion, diced
garlic, finely chopped
vegetable stock
whole wheat spaghetti, broken into 1 in pieces
shredded parmesan
  • In a baking dish, pack tomatoes with garlic cloves and basil and drizzle with olive oil. Season and bake in a low heat oven (less than 150 deg C) for a few hours.
  • Heat olive oil in casserole, add in succession with a minute or two in between, onions, carrot, garlic and celery. Add borlortti beans. 
  • Add a ladle of vegetable stock. Remove the skins of the roasted tomatoes and add to the casserole. Add a clove of the roasted garlic and reserve the rest. Pour in vegetable stock, boil and simmer for 20 mins or till beans are just tender.
  • Blend half the soup.
  • Boil water in another saucepan and cook pasta till just before al-dente. Drain and add to the soup. Add parsley, taste, season and add additional stock if neccessary (as pasta will continue to absorb water as it cooks further).
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley and shredded parmesan.

Lazy Saturday


The term ‘lazy weekends’ seldom apply to us and when we actually had what seemed like a ‘lazy Saturday afternoon’ yesterday (that’s after the housework of sweeping, mopping, cleaning etc are done), we were quite clueless on what we could do.

Staying home is a good idea (think weekend town crowd + F1 everyone else  is everywhere crowd) and cooking lunch seemed a start. I was quite keen to finish off the food had been stored in the kitchen cabinets,  so, zzz did some grocery shopping and whipped us a meal of koka instant mee with vegetable stock and bonito fish flakes, plenty of vegetables, mushrooms and boiled pork.

Ah. comfort food. Never-mind the health quotient. A piping hot bowl of soup always guarantee a  smile…and a *burp.


steamed white pomfret

Stir fried dou miao

Poached chicken with warm ginger sauce

Some friends I know tell me a Chinese would need rice for every meal.

I am not that extreme, but I do like Chinese meals.  The concept of communal dinning, with a bowl of plump fluffy rice, plate heaped with stir fried greens and whole steamed fish, together with family or friends sounds like the best thing that could happen in a day.

zzz hardly prepares Chinese food for meals. Probably because there are many 高手s around and its much better to leave it done by the experts.

But zzz did decide to venture into Chinese cooking last Sunday. Since my mum bought 2 pomfrets for steaming. it would be strange to have them done western style.

The result? Not a bad attempt at cooking a meal of 家常便饭 ( a simple home cooked meal). Well done!!

Eat. Healthy.

Dinner @862 has recently taken on a Japanese twist. All because zzz borrowed a book from NLB (yes, our national library IS ONE OF THE BEST!!) by Kimiko Barber titled “Japanese Pure and Simple”.

Japanese food/cuisine (if you like) has this simple allure with the quest for perfection, balance of food with beauty, and all that invisible zen around, its really hard to not like it. In any case, Japanese fare has always been enjoyed everywhere. The sushi chains, ramen shops, new modern Japanese cafes (now what’s that?!) –  all the too-commercial restaurants that have sprouted everywhere are sure evidence.

For us, there are only a handful of shops  we will  gladly choose for a Japanese meal – among them are Nansuttei or Ikoi. I didn’t used to be or meant to be picky, that only happened when we got repeatedly disappointed by the franchise shops which decided cost efficiency is more important than quality.

Anyways.  Here are 2 recipes which zzz tried over the past weeks. They look pretty easy, obviously, i only ate, so i wouldn’t know more. There were more, but i just got too hungry to snap snap – bad bad me.

Number one dashi stock

1 postcard-sized piece of konbu (kelp seaweed)

1 ltr of water

20 dried bonito flakes (roughly a handful)

Soak the konbu in the measured water in a saucepan for at least 30 mins (ideally 1 hr) before placing it over a moderate heat. If you have not had enough time to siak the konbu, lower the heat to low/moderate to allow more time for the konbu to infuse the water/

Take out the konbu when it begins to float and a few small bubbles start to appear. Pour in a ladle of cold water followed by the bonito flakes. Turn up the heat slightly and cook until the liquid returns to boil, but do not let it come to a full boil; turn off the heat. Let the bonito flakes settle to the bottom and strain the dashi through a fine sieve lined with a piece of kitchen paper.

Grilled asparagus in dashi

20 asparagus spears

2 tbsps vegetable oil

100 ml dashi stock

50ml soy sauce

25ml mirin

An asparagus spear has a natural breaking point when you bend it, so break the spears with you hands and discard the hard lower parts. brush each spear with vegetable oil and frill for 10 mins., turning them over to cook evenly. meanwhile, mix the dashi stock, soy sauce and mirin in a flat-based dish. Transfer the cooked asparagus spears to the dish while they are hot to let them absorb the flavors fof the dashi mixture and serve.

Hokkaido salmon and potato miso soup

150 gm salmon fillet


150g potatoes, peeled

100g carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks

150g cabbage, roughly cut

150g leeks, chopped diagionally

1 tsp grated garlic

1.2 ltrs dashi stock

2-3 heaped tbsps medium colored miso paste

2 spring onions, chopped diagionally

Cut the salmon fillet into bite-sized chunks, sprinkle with salt and set aside

Chop the potatoes into bite-sized chunks and soak in water while you prepare the other vegetables. Drain the potatoes. Put the salmon and all vegetables in a saucepan with the dashi stock and bring to boil over a moderate heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20mins, spooning off any scum that floats to the surface

Put the miso paste in a small bowl and add a ladle of soup to dilute. Add the miso mixture to the soup and stir to blend, Adjust the seasoning with salt if necessary. Let the soup return to the boil and add the chopped spring onions. Turn off the heat and serve in warmed soup dishes.

If the rice above looks like a little brown. It is. That’s because we used brown rice. OK, so its not Japanese, but we figured its the taste and essence that counts!!