Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thai Sweet Potato Soup

The weather isn't really quite cool enough for soup yet, but I'm tired of the heat and am looking forward to winter food.

Winter is the time where we use the slow cooker that teases all day with it's aromas of something delicious. Or the quick and tasty soups whipped up in no time in the Thermomix.

Tonight's is one of the latter, a fast and delicious soup with flavours from Thailand. Although I'm unable to buy fresh lemongrass, coriander or lime leaves, those essences of Thai food, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

I always keep those tubes of Gourmet Garden Herb Pastes in my fridge. Basil, Coriander, Chilli, Lemongrass, even Parsley (for when my parsley has gone to seed in the garden) all mean I have my favourite flavours at my fingertips. My other trick is to buy the fresh Kaffir lime leaves when you see them and throw them in the freezer. They freeze dry and you can use them as you would dried bay leaves.

I was planning on making a plain pumpkin soup for tea tonight, but changed my mind when I spied a large sweet potato in the local store and that was it. I made this in the Thermomix. If you don't have a Thermomix, then make it on the stove, but it will take a lot longer and you'll need a stick blender to process it at the end.

Thai Sweet Potato Soup

1 onion, peeled and quartered
a little oil
800g sweet potato, peeled and chopped into large pieces
1 Tbsp coriander paste
1/4 Tsp Chilli Paste (or to taste)
1 Tbsp Lemongrass Paste
2 tsp Basil Paste
1 litre water
2 tsp chicken stock powder
3 Tbsp Fish sauce
two or three Kaffir Lime Leaves
1 small can coconut milk

Place onion into TM bowl and chop a few seconds. speed 5. Add oil and saute for 3 minutes, Varoma, speed 1. Add all the pastes and saute for a further minute on Varoma.
Add sweet potato and saute for 2 minutes, Varoma, speed 1.
Add water, stock powder, sauce and lime leaves and cook 18 minutes, Varoma, speed 1. Place the basket on top to prevent any overflow. Remove lime leaves.
Add coconut milk and place MC on top. Blend by slowly increasing speed up to 8 or 9 for a few seconds, holding MC in place.

Pour into bowls and squirt a dob of Coriander Paste into soup. Swirl with a toothpick or skewer.

Add more water if soup is too thick.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to Poach an Egg

Poached Eggs Hollandaise or Florentine has to be my all time favourite breakfasts. I make it at home frequently and it's the breakfast of choice if I'm lucky enough to be eating out.

I've pretty much got the knack of poaching an egg, but sometimes I have disasters, with the egg sticking to the bottom of the pan or just falling to bits.

I recently posted on my Bush Gourmand FaceBook Page a foolproof method for the perfect poached egg. Here's the link if you missed it.Video: How to Poach Eggs

I made poached eggs for breakfast this morning and tried this method and it did work. The eggs I had were from the local store and were very fresh, so not much dripped through the sieve. Using the sieve to roll the eggs into the water worked really well in keeping the egg nice and oval shaped. I did put a bit of vinegar in the water, just to be on the safe side.

 As you can see in the picture, there was very little floating egg white in the pan. I rolled the egg around gently to keep the nice oval shape.

Served with Hollandaise made in the Thermomix, wilted spinach,smoked salmon and homemade bread. Delicious! I won't need lunch now.

Another thing I did learn from the video that I didn't know is that you can poach a number of eggs and place them in a bowl of cold water in the fridge for up to three days!

Here's my Hollandaise recipe. It's made in the Thermomix, but you can make it with a stick blender. It won't be quite as light and fluffy.

Hollandaise Sauce

2 egg yolks
1 tsp dijon mustard
juice of half to one lemon, depending how tangy you like it.
90g butter
white pepper

Place butterfly on blade and add yolks, mustard and juice to bowl. Blend on speed 2 for a few seconds.
Add butter, soft if possible, and programme 3 minutes, 90, speed 3.

Leftovers can be placed in the fridge and heated gently in a ceramic or glass dish over simmering water, stirring constantly. Or, use in place of mayo on a tuna sandwich.

This also makes a great sauce for fish. Add the grated lemon rind too.

Enjoy egg poaching,