I was going to start with how I got up before sunrise and forced my way through the woods to come back carrying a basket full of beautiful mushrooms. Sadly, my mum didn’t allow me go to the forest by myself. Instead I went to go to the local market and bought mushroom from people whose parents are a bit less protective. To answer your questions: yes, I'm turning 30 in three months. No, I don’t live with my mother anymore.
I’ll just leave you with this chanterelle soup recipe. It tastes the same regardless of whether you bought the mushroom of picked them up yourself.
Recipe: Wild Chanterelle Soup
500 g chanterelles
350 g potatoes
1 l homemade vegetable stock*
1 onion, diced
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 thyme sprigs
1 tbsp coconut oil
a handful chopped parsley, to serve
a pinch freshly ground black pepper, to serve
*To make the stock, place washed and peeled vegetables (2 carrots, parsnip, celeriac and leek) in a large pot. Top with 2 l of cold water and bring to boil. Add a pinch of salt, 2 bay leaves, 2 allspice and juniper berries, a few peppercorns and 2-3 dried mushrooms. Reduce the heat and to low and cook, partly covered for 1 1/2 hour.
Clean and dry the mushroom. Cut the large ones in halves.
Peel and dice the potatoes very finely.
Heat the coconut in a pot.
Add onion and fry over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chanterelles, increase the heat and fry, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes.
Add potatoes and continue cooking, stirring, for another minutes.
Add vegetable stock and thyme, bring to boil.
Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Season with lemon juice.
Serves with chopped parsley and freshly ground pepper.
I enjoy hearty dishes in the first cold days of winter, but comes January, I start craving something lighter. This is my perfect January soup: bit spicy, warming and fully comforting, but light and green at the same time.
When you look at the recipe, it might seem like a lot of work, but it's not. The recipe is super easy and putting everything together will take a maxiumum of half an hour and that includes making the curry paste and crispy broccoli topping. And you can always use a good store-bought green curry paste and limit the toppings to fresh coriander and sesame seeds.
Recipe: Green curry broccoli soup
3 tbsp green curry paste
one large broccoli, divided into small florets
800 ml vegetable stock
400 ml coconut milk
a handful fresh coriander
Heat a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
Add broccoli florets and cook, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes.
Slowly add the stock and coconut milk, combine, cover and bring to boil.
Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are tender - 5-10 minutes .
Before serving, blend or process until smooth.
Season with lime juice.
Top each serving with fresh cilantro and crispy broccoli florets.
Recipe: Crispy broccoli florets
a handful broccoli florets
one tbsp coconut oil
one tbsp soy sauce
one tsp honey
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Heat coconut oil in a small pan, add broccoli and fry for one minute.
Add soy sauce combined with honey and continue cooking, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
Add sesame seeds and combine.
Recipe: Green curry paste
5 medium green chilies, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
a bunch fresh cilantro
2 lemongrass stalks, chopped
2 limes, juice and zest
one tbsp coriander seeds
one tsp ground cumin
one tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp soy sauce
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a paste.
Is there anything better than a bowl of steaming soup on a cold evening? The only thing I can think of is a long sauna session. But I have always thought that eating Asian soups is a bit similar to visiting sauna, so ramen remains my first choice for rainy days. Also, I have bowls and pots at home, but I don't have a sauna.
Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish, containing Chinese-style wheat noodles, broth and various toppings. It's been extremely popular with foodies all over the world for the last few years. You can easily enjoy a great ramen in New York, London or Warsaw.
There are numerous version of the dish, starting with nearly every region in Japan taking pride in its own variation. My recipe is simple and vegan - with fried tofu, shiitake mushrooom and green chillies.
Recipe: Vegan ramen
1 l oriental broth (recipe below)
200 g ramen noodles
200 g firm tofu, pressed
tbsp soy sauce
tbsp runny honey
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
100 g fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried and soaked)
one green chilli pepper
a few branches of fresh mint
Cut the tofu into thick slices.
Whisk soy sauce with honey and chilli flakes.
Cover each tofu slice in the marinade and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
Pan-fry tofu slices, about 1 minute per side.
Peel and julienne the carrot.
Slice green chilli.
Prepare the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
Cut larger mushrooms into smaller pieces.
Pan-fry for a few minutes.
Divide noodles between two bowls.
Top with hot broth.
Add fried tofu and shiitakes, carrot, chilli and mint.
Recipe: Oriental broth
3-4 carrots, peeled
2-3 parsnips, peeled
1/2 celery root, peeled
one leek, sliced
2 l water
5-6 slices of peeled ginger
one green chilli pepper
a few branches of fresh coriander
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp miso paste
Place all the vegetables, ginger, chilli and coriander in a large pot
Top with cold water and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Delicious, aromatic and wonderfully warming, Vietnamese pho soup is a perfect remedy for a spring cold and a bad mood. As you can probably imagine, there are numerous variations and regional modifications of the recipe. The one I propose is my way of quickly making a satisfying bowl of soup.
I’ve made mine with shrimp, but you could use thin slices of beef instead. If you want your version to be vegan, go for cubed tofu. You can substitute mint and cilantro with your favourite fresh herbs and spice things up with Sriracha sauce.
It is consumed at any time of day in the North of Vietnam, whereas Southern Vietnamese usually serve it in the morning. It might seem weird to have a bowl of soup for breakfast, but trust me - it really is the best way to start your day. Especially on Mondays.
Recipe: Pho soup
4 cups homemade vegetable stock
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
one piece (ok. 5 cm) ginger
one green chili
2 garlic cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 anise stars
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cardamom pods
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
To serve: rice noodles, raw shrimp, green chili, lime, fresh mint and cilantro
Char the onion and ginger over an open flame.
In a large pot, dry-roast cloves, cinnamon, anise, coriander and cardamom.
Add onion, ginger, chili and stock.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer, covered, for about an hour.
Season with sugar, soy sauce and lime juice.
In each bowl, place some noodles, shrimp, sliced green chillies, lime wedges, fresh mint and cilantro.