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Green curry and broccoli soup

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

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp green curry paste
  • one large broccoli, divided into small florets
  • 800 ml vegetable stock
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 limes
  • a handful fresh coriander
Method
  • 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

Ingredients
  • a handful broccoli florets
  • one tbsp coconut oil
  • one tbsp soy sauce
  • one tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
Method
  • 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

Ingredients
  • 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
Method
  • Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a paste.

Mulled white wine

December is a perfect month to enjoy all kinds of hot, delicious, warming drinks. Mulled wine is a winter classic! Usually prepared with red wine, it tastes equally great with white chardonnay or riesling. With an addition of cinnamon, rosemary and oranges, it tastes like winter. Have fun warming up!

Recipe: Mulled white wine

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 500 ml dry white wine
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • a few branches of rosemary
  • one tbsp brown sugar
Method
  • Slice one orange and squeeze the other one..
  • Place cinnamon sticks, rosemary and orange slices in a pot.
  • Add sugar and white wine.
  • Bring to simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add wine and reduce the heat to low. Heat the wine, but do not bring to boil.
  • Serve immediately.

Christmas cookies

It seems to be the first Christmas post in the history of this blog! I guess it's fair to say that I'm not crazy about Christmas. However, this year I felt a strange need to make edible Christmas tree decorations. The cookies are simple, easy and fun to make. And even the biggest Grinch would admit that they're adorable.

Recipe: Christmas cookies

Makes about 15 cookies
Ingredients
  • 75 g butter
  • 150 g flour
  • 50 g powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
Method
  • Sieve the flour and combine with sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Combine with butter.
  • Add an egg and mix to a firm dough.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut cookies (I used a star-shaped cookie cutter).
  • If you want to hang your cookies on a Christmas tree, make a small hole in a top of each one.
  • Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes and let cool.

Recipe: Orange icing

Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • Extra: a few branches of rosemary
Method
  • Whisk sugar and orange juice to make thick icing.
  • Using a bruch, cover each cookie with icing and top with some fresh rosemary.
  • When the icing is set, thread ribbon or cord through the holes and hang on your tree.

Hot lemonade

Warming hot lemonade, perfect for cold evenings and rainy afternoons. And let's face it - ther's no avoiding those. Luckily we have the lemonade. Great on its own or, to make it even more warming, with a drop of rhum.

Recipe: Hot lemonade

Serves:
Ingredients
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tangerines
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 7-8 cardamom pods
  • 400 ml water
  • Optional: 40 ml rhum
Method
  • Slice half of an orange and squeeze juice from the other half.
  • Slice one lemon and one tangerine and squeeze juice from remaining two.
  • Place citrus slices and juice in a pot with spices and water.
  • Bring to boil and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add rhum, if using.
  • Transfer to two mugs and serve hot.

Vegan ramen

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

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 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
  • one carrot
  • 100 g fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried and soaked)
  • one green chilli pepper
  • a few branches of fresh mint
Method
  • 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

Ingredients
  • 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
Method
  • 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.
  • Strain the broth through a colander.
  • Season with soy sauce, fish sauce and miso paste.
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