Monday, 27 February 2012

Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup

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I love sweetcorn in all forms! Grilled, steamed, in salads, in soups, popcorn and even straight out of the can! When I was much younger, I used to place a can of creamed corn in the fridge, opened it and eat it straight away. I know it's not the most sophisticated way of eating it but it tasted great! somewhat like ice cream!
One of my fave is the Chicken and Sweetcorn soup, one dish that is usually ordered when we dine out as a family. Being away from home, I seem to have forgotten about it until Lisa from My Lemony Kitchen posted it recently. I've no idea why I didn't think of making it earlier but am glad that I finally did! Initially, I wanted to follow strictly to Lisa's recipe but I couldn't find creamed corn anywhere!  I guess it should be sold in Chinatown but I didn't get a chance to drop by so I decided to come up with my own recipe. The husband loved it so it's a winner!
It's a rather long winded recipe and I decided to do everything from scratch, that being the stock and poaching the chicken, all on the same day. It was well worth the effort though! Feel free to use pre-prepared stock or left over chicken.  For a vegetarian version, just leave out the chicken and it'll taste great too!

Inspired by My Lemony Kitchen

Ingredients (Makes about 3 big bowls)
Stock & Chicken
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 spring onion/scallions, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, smashed
8 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 litre of water
3 chicken breasts or chicken thighs

1 can sweetcorn
50g frozen corn
2 eggs, whisked
3 tbsp corn flour mixed with 6 tbsp of water
Sesame Oil
White pepper
Sliced spring onions and chilli, to garnish(Optional)

Stock & Chicken
1) Place all stock ingredients except the chicken in pot and bring it to a boil.
2) Once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and  simmer for at least an hour. You may need to top up the water.
3) Add chicken to the stock, bring it to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for another 15 mins or until chicken is cooked. (Poaching the chicken in the stock adds even more flavour)
4) Once this is done, remove from the heat. Shred the chicken and set aside. Carefully pour the stock through a sieve and squeeze the day lights out of the vegetables. 

5) Pour the stock back into the pot, add canned and frozen corn and bring back to a boil.
6) Stir in the corn flour mixture.
7) Slowly pour in the egg whilst stirring the soup.
8) Lower the heat and simmer for another 1-2 mins until egg is cooked.
9) Season to taste
10) Place shredded chicken into the bowls, scoop soup into bowls, garnish with spring onions and chilli, drizzle some sesame oil and serve.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

More Street Art around East London

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One thing I really love about London is that there are always areas to explore. In some cases, there may even be new things popping in the same area. One location where this happens would be in and around Brick Lane. A couple of months back, we joined the Alternative London tour and saw London in a whole new light! Today, the sun was shining and made for a good day out so we decided to revisit the area as we wanted to look for new pieces of street art and the husband wanted to take some street photography. (Shameless promotion alert! :P) Here are some of his photos just in case you are interested to take a look. Yes, he takes much better photos than I do!!! :)

OK, now back to the street are some of the new ones we encountered today. Enjoy!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Quick Pea Soup

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After our cold morning walk in the beautiful snow, all I wanted when I got home was a bowl of warming soup. Luckily, I had some vegetable stock waiting for me in the freezer and there's always frozen peas in the freezer for days when we run out of vegetables and for days like this. Impromptu soup making! It would have been great if I had some fresh mint on hand but i really didn't want to go out in the cold again to buy some since my toes and fingertips had already thawed out. :P
What I really love about soup recipes is that one can take a basic soup recipe and just improvise with whatever you have at home. All you basically need is a good stock, some vegetables and to make it more exciting, add some herbs or spices and you are good to go!
Ingredients (Serves 2)
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
450g of frozen peas 
1 stalk of spring onions, chopped
500ml of Vegetable Stock
Olive Oil
Pine nuts, Extra Virgin Olive Oil to garnish (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1) Fully defrost the peas.The reason I do this is because I want to keep the cooking time of peas as short as possible to keep their bright green colour.
2) Heat up some olive oil in a heavy bottom pot. Add the onion and carrots. Cook over a gentle heat until the onions and carrots are soft (about 10 mins). Add the garlic and cook a further 2 mins.
3) Pour in the stock and bring to boil.
4) Add in the peas as well as the spring onions and bring back to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for a further 2 mins.
5) Use a hand blender or liquidiser, pulse until the soup is smooth.  Season to taste.
6) Divide into bowls, garnish with pine nuts. Drizzle with extra virgin oil oil and serve with some good bread.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Winter Wonderland 2012

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"Hello!" says the horsie! "Welcome to my Winter Wonderland!"

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Chokladbollar - No bake Swedish Chocolate balls

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Chokladbollar is a swedish delicacy, readily available in Sweden that's oh so easy to make at home. No baking is required so it's a great one to involve kids in. 
I first found out about these chewy, coconutty treats when Sasa, author of Singlish Swenglish, brought some homemade ones over when she visited way back in 2007. It was love at first bite and so I asked for the recipe. Back then, I don't bake at all so I was pretty happy about the 'no bake' aspect of the recipe! haha
Since I'm kinda like a coffee addict, the addition of coffee suits me perfectly and tones down the sweetness of the chocolate balls. Feel free to replace coffee if you are not into coffee. Cooled down hot chocolate or even some liquor would work too.
This would be perfect for the upcoming Valentine's Day too!

Ingredients: (Makes around 24 balls)
100g butter, room temperature 
60g soft brown sugar(use white castor sugar if you prefer it to be sweeter)
1/2 tbsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp cocoa powder 
120g oats
3 tbsp strong, cold coffee 
Desiccated coconut or Pearl Sugar or sprinkles or cocoa powder

Mix sugar, cocoa powder, oats, vanilla sugar and coffee in a bowl.
Using your hands, work the soft butter into the bowl until it's all nicely mixed.
Using your hands, start rolling balls approximately the size of meat balls (2 cm across or if you get bored, use your imagination!!)
Roll the balls in desiccated coconut or pearl sugar or sprinkles or cocoa powder , put them on a plate and leave them to cool in the fridge for an hour or so.

This post has been added to the #chocolatelove Blog Hop!!! Come join us by linking up any chocolate recipes from the month of Feb 2012.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Lake District - Derwentwater

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Time seem to just fly by and it's Feb already! Where did Jan go? It just turned much colder over here but I guess we are considered quite lucky as it's been a pretty mild winter until now. Though a little too cold for comfort, Feb means that it's almost the end of winter and Spring will be here soon!! What does one do when the the weather gets warmer and the days longer? Go on holidays!! Woohoo! It's time to start planning! I should really visit places I've yet to step foot in but there are some that I would really love to visit again. One of which is Derwentwater in the Lake District. Derwentwater is the name of the Lake that's easily accessible from the towns of Keswick and Borrowdale. 
It's surrounded by fells (mountains) of various difficulty and it can get quite crowded with hikers during the high season. When we were there, we conquered Catbells (451 meters) and Walla Crag (378 meters). Catbells was a little more difficult as hands were needed to make the climb, however, the views from the top was well worth the effort! Simply breathtaking!
Isn't it worth another trip? ;)

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