Friday, 30 July 2010

Roasted red pepper and tomato soup

I love soups and eat them a lot for dinner and lunch all year round. More filling soups like Moroccan lentil soups or classics like bouef bourguignon during the winter, and lighter soups like gazpacho or creme ninon during the summer.

One of my favourites is this soup with roasted peppers and tomatoes. I eat it both summer and winter, but it's particularly good this time of year when it's easy to buy beautifully ripe tomatoes. This soup can also be used as a pasta sauce, accompaniment to barbecued meat or fish. Only difference is that you would not add any additional water or broth at the last step to keep a thicker consistency. Actually this soup/sauce is so good that as I'm writing this I'm contemplating raiding the fridge of some of the leftovers and eat it as a dip with a couple of slices of crusty baguette. Did I mention it's also nice cold and can be eaten as a gazpacho? So go on, do make this soup, you will not regret it!

Roasted red pepper and tomato soup (4 portions)
4-6 large red peppers (I used 4 of the longer pointed red peppers, otherwise I would've used 6 of the 'normal' ones)
12 large ripe tomatoes
1 red chili
1 yellow onion
1 handful of basil
6 garlic cloves
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
olive oil
chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsb roasted pine kernels

Halve and deseed the peppers. Add to a ovenproof dish with the skin side facing upwards and drizzle with olive oil. Roast at 200-250C until the skin is bubbly and black. Take out from the oven and cover with kitchen towel or transfer to a plastic bag. Covering up the peppers will help with removing the skins. Let cool down.

Quarter the tomatoes, add to a large ovenproof dish with the cut side up. Peel the garlic cloves and add to the dish. Slice the onion, finely chop the chili and basil, sprinkle over the tomatoes. Sprinkle over salt and sugar. Drizzle over vinegar and olive oil. Roast in the oven at 150-200C for around 30-60 min. You want the tomatoes to turn mushy. They will release a lot of juices, let these reduce down to about 1/2 the volume.

Peel of the skins from the roasted peppers, and blend the peppers with the roasted tomatoes. Add 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and one cube of chicken stock. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. It will be quite thick in consistency, ideal to use for a sauce, but dilute with boiling water to the consistency you like for a soup.

Pour the soup into bowls, and serve with sour cream and sprinkle over roasted pine kernels.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Salmon with pak choi and noodles

This is another Asian-influenced recipe. I love Asian food and if I had to choose to only eat food from one continent, that would be my choice I think. Korean bulgogi and kimchi, sushi, Thai green papaya salads, Vietnamese pho, Philippine kinilaw, malay laksa soup and roti canai, Singaporean chili crab, dim sum, mmmmm...... To be honest I love most food. I'm Swedish so I do enjoy a lot of Swedish specialities and I cook some of these dishes on a regular basis, so they will for sure also make an appearance here on the blog.

One of the things I love about Asian food is that a lot of it is very quick to do and rely on fresh vegetables. One of my favourite Asian vegetables is pak choi. For a master class in how to cook it to perfection, I recommend one of my favourite food blogs in English, Steamy Kitchen,

Salmon with pak choi and noodles (2 portions)
2 salmon steaks a' 150 g
1 packet of egg noodles (I use one of the standard instant ramen noodles ones)
4 heads of pak choi
1/2 dl light soy sauce
1/2 tsp honey
1 pressed garlic clove
1 tsp sambal oelek or chili paste, or a finely chopped fresh chili
1 lime, the grated peel
1 tbs miso paste
For the vegetables and noodles:
1 tbs neutral oil
1 tsp hot water
3 finely chopped/grated garlic cloves
1 finally chopped red chili
1 cm fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs miso paste
1 tbs roasted sesame seeds
light soy sauce
lime wedges

Mix the marinade, and marinate the salmon steaks for 30 min in room temperature. While the salmon is marinating, roast the sesame seeds in a dry pan, trim the edges of the pak choi, and chop/grate chili, garlic and ginger.

Fry the salmon steaks in a hot frying or griddle plan for a couple of minutes on each side. Cover and put to the side.

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package, drain and cover.

Add a tbs of neutral cooking oil to a cold wok or frying pan. Add the chili, garlic and ginger to the wok and fry on medium heat. You want to infuse the oil without burning the garlic, which can easily taste bitter if it's fried to long. Add the pak choi to the wok/pan and toss with the oil, add 1 tbs with boiling water (the steam will help cook the pak choi without burning the garlic). Take the wok of the stove and add the noodles to the pan, add the miso paste, toss with the pak choi, drizzle over a little sesame oil (don't use a lot, it's got quite a strong taste) and soy sauce to taste.

Plate up the noodles, add the salmon, and sprinkle over the roasted sesame seeds. Serve with lime wedges.

Asian steak salad with strawberries

I've been thinking about starting a food blog for ages. Once I took the descision to do it, I started to obsess about what should be the first recipe. I wanted something with a wow factor, something that would stand out. I cooked a lot during the last weeks, but either something went wrong, or I forgot to take a picture of a delicious dinner.

In the end I just decided to go with one of my lunch boxes. I usually bring in my own lunch to work, that way I get something I like, and that is reasonable healthy. Now during the summer I tend to do a lot of salads. I love fruit and berries, but normally I prefer them on their own and I don't really like it in food. If you want to hear me rant, you just need to get me started on the subject of warm bananas in food, or raisins in general.

Anyhow, I digress. This is an Asian-influenced salad where the hot spiciness from red chillies and sour lime meet the sweetness of melon and strawberries. This would work equally well with mango. I've used steak, but this salad would be very nice also with chicken or seafood. Instead of chopped peanuts on top, roasted sesame seeds or cashew nuts would be lovely as well. The measures are not exact, I'm quite an impulsive cook and never follow recipes to the letter. Taste everything until it tastes nice for you!

Oh, and sorry about the poor picture quality. My camera is not working at the moment so I have to use my iPhone.

Asian steak salad with strawberries (2-3 portions)
2 rump steaks a' 150g
1 tsp sambal oelek
1 dl light soy sauce
1 tsp honey
2 garlic cloves
2 cm fresh ginger
1 stalk of lemon grass
1 lime
1 head of romaine salad
baby spinach
100 g mange tout
3 spring onions
fresh herbs: finely chopped basil, coriander and mint
1/2 galia or cantaloupe melon
150-200 g strawberries
juice from 1-2 limes
1 garlic clove, grated, finely chopped or pressed
1 finely chopped red chili
1/2 tsp fish sauce or light soy
a couple of drops of sesame oil
1/2 tsp honey
(salt and pepper to taste)
2 tbs chopped salted peanuts

Grate garlic, ginger and the lime peel. Mix with soy sauce, juice from the limes, honey, finely chopped lemon grass and sambal oelek (can be substituted with freshly chopped chili or chili paste). Marinate the steaks in the mixture for at least 30 min in room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

While the steaks are marinating, quarter the strawberries, chop the melon into cubes (1-2 cm in size), chops the mange touts, and finely chop the spring onions and herbs. Tear the salad and spinach, and mix with the other vegetables, herbs and fruit. Make the dressing and dress the salad, and chop the peanuts.

Heat up a griddle or frying pan, and fry the steaks a couple of minutes on each side, and then let them rest before slicing in thin sections.

Plate up the salad, add a couple of slices of beef, drizzle over some of the meat juices, and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts.

Welcome in for a bite

I love to cook, eat and talk about food. For me, food is not just an energy source but a passion. I cook a lot, and I also read lots of blogs about food. I've finally decided to take the step to start writing my own blog about the food I love. As I also love music, I might now and again throw in music suggestions as well.

Smaklig måltid (bon appetite in Swedish)!