Best Soup Ever (so far)

First of all,  sorry about two soup posts in a row. But since it’s the beginning of a new and promising year, many of our dear readers are on a soup diet, right? Just kidding.

It is hard to believe but the best meals we have recently had in restaurants have been soups. Remember the divine parsnip soup which we managed to remake at home? Now we have a similar story to tell, except that the soup in question is even better.

We ate lovely pumpkin and butter soup in a newly opened restaurant in Helsinki just before Christmas. The soup was garnished with a tiny bit of goose liver. It was perfection. I don’t know whether we are really experimental or we just don’t want to pay much for a soup (it could be mostly water anyway!) but we decided immediately to try it at home. Our first try didn’t succeed. The texture was wrong and the taste just was not close enough.

After extensive googling, we managed to find an interesting pumpkin soup recipe, which sounded like it could taste like the one we were after. It is so hard to stick to a recipe! So, here it is:

  • 1,2 kg butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 dl water
  • 1/2 chicken stock cube
  • 1 3/4 dl double cream
  • salt and pepper
  • some butter

Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius. Split the squash lenghtways and place it on an baking tray with the onion and the garlic cloves and put them into the hot oven. Don’t peel them. Remove the garlic cloves after 10 minutes and let the other vegetables cook for total 50 minutes.

Take them out of the oven and when they are cool enough to handle, peel the onion and garlic cloves. Use a spoon to scoop out the squash flesh. Put them into a pan with water and the chicken stock.

Bring to boil and then add grated lemon peel (of half a lemon), honey, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and use a hand blender to blend everything. Add the double cream and bring the soup to boil once again. Season with a little bit of lemon juice.

Since we ate a pumpkin and butter soup in the restaurant and the recipe contained no butter, I put a small pat of butter on the surface of the soup. Voilà!

The soup tasted even better than in the restaurant. I think the secret is the roasting of the veggies. It takes time but it’s worth it. And you can do whatever you like while the veggies are in the oven!

Luscious Lentils in a Soup

On winter days like this when you have taken a long walk it is almost mandatory to eat delicious hot soup. That’s what we did today. Except in a reverse order. And we eat the delicious hot soup even without the long walk. It is so easy to make: you need only a handful of ingredients. And it’s also very filling and high in protein. It’s a lentil soup and once again the recipe is of Turkish origin.

The soup just refuses to look good in pictures but lets focus on the recipe:

Lentil soup

  • 1,5 l water
  • 1 dl rice
  • 170g red lentils (ready-to-use)
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 0,75 dl plain flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 dl water
  • salt, pepper, chilli, mint

Rince the rice in cold water (or let it soak for 30 minutes and then rinse). Bring 1,5 l of water to a boil in a large pan and add the rice and beef stock cube. Cook for 5 minutes. Rinse the lentils and cook for another 5 minutes.

Melt the butter and stir in flour, approximately 0,75 dl, in another smaller pan over a low heat. Add the tomato purée, salt, pepper, chilli (powder) and 2 dl water. Mix well. Mint goes well with this soup so if you like it, add it as well. Pour the tomato mixture into the lentil soup and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes over a low heat. Done!

The soup might seem a bit modest and simple but you’ll be surprised how good it is. Often the simplest foods are the best ones. The recipe yields three to four helpings. If you refrigerate the soup, it’s best to add some water and seasoning to it when heating it again; it gets very thick in the fridge.

Beeping Eggs

Today’s post is about boiling eggs. Sounds boring, right? Would you believe if I said that nowadays it’s very funny? Just take a look at the picture:

With the regular egg there is a beep egg in the pan. It it a perfect tool for us who forget to take time when boiling eggs. You just place it in the boiling water with the eggs and then you can just relax and wait the egg to beep.

Well, it doesn’t beep -it sings! If you want soft-boiled eggs, just wait until you hear “Killing me softly”. The eggs are medium-boiled when it plays “I wish I was a hen”, and the tune of the hard-boiled oned is “Carmina Burana”.

The beep egg plays each song a couple of time so you don’t have to run to the pan immediately when you hear the tune.

Great Christmas Dessert : Healthy Kitchen

This year, we won’t cook or bake any Christmas foods at kitchen. However, it doesn’t mean that we don’t eat any Christmas food. We tend to be different in many ways and we eat rice porridge, which is strongly associated with Christmas, all year round.

It is a great breakfast as well as an evening snack. Yesterday, we made a dessert version of rice porridge. In case you don’t have any idea what to serve as a dessert on Christmas, here is a great recipe for you:

  • 2 dl rice
  • 2 dl water
  • 8 dl milk
  • pinch of salt

First, cook the porridge. Put the rice and the water into a pan and bring to a boil stirring occasionally. When the rice has absorbed the water, lower the heat and add the milk.

Put a lid on the pan and cook for approximately 40 minutes or until ready. Remember to stir the porridge every now and then. Let the porridge to cool completely. You can make it for example a day before.

  • 2 dl double cream
  • 0,5 dl caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 0,5-1 dl crushed almonds

Whip the cream fluffy. In a large bowl, combine the cold porridge with the rest of the ingredients and the whipped cream. Sprinkle some crushed almonds on top and serve with warm raspberries or jam.

This is originally called Victoria’s rice or something and there is also a jelly version of it which includes gelatin. I don’t think the gealtine is necessary because the consistency of this version is also very solid. But who on earth is this Victoria?