Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

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When I was in my twenties I had a love affair with Thai food. I fell head over heels for the delicate balance of flavours. Not just eating Thai food- I loved to cook it. I would visit our pokey little Asian grocery, over powered by strange smells and fascinated by all the bottles and jars. I’d load up with unreasonably cheap meat, herbs and veg, dreaming of the culinary creations to come.

I don’t make Thai nearly as often these days. Some might argue that kids can eat bold flavours and spices, and I don’t disagree with them. I’ve just been very slow to offer them to my already quite fussy kiddos. Perhaps Thai food will unlock the secret to their taste buds!

Our family dinner table sees a lot of meat and three veg, casseroles, pastas…. meat and three veg. Did I say that already? I do look forward to Friday nights though. For some reason I always seem to need a special meal on a Friday night. Something that says “Hello Weekend! Pleased to see you!”. It might be homemade gourmet pizzas or a rich pasta dish that we enjoy with a glass of wine (not the kids, obvs!). Lately, though, I’ve been firing up my wok and getting back to that fresh, hot, spicy, sour, sweet and delicate Thai flavour.

Last week I made these spicy chicken noodles and they really hit the spot. I love a big bowl of steaming noodles with a kick to them. This week I reinvented an old favourite. Years ago I used to make a rich, creamy Tom Ka Gai (Thai Chicken Soup) almost weekly. It was slightly sour at the back of the throat with a big punch of lime. Delish! I wanted to find that flavour again but ease up on the creaminess while bulking up the veg content. This is what I came up with.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

500g chicken breast
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2cm knob of ginger, crushed
1 stalk of lemongrass, bashed but left whole
5 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 small red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
2 bok choy, thinly sliced
5 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 large red chillies, thinly sliced (optional)
1.25 litres of chicken stock
270ml coconut milk
4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon palm sugar
the juice and zest from 1 lime
fresh coriander leaves

Method:

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Fry off the garlic and ginger until fragrant, then add in the lemongrass, lime leaves and vegetables and cook until just starting to soften.
  • Pour in the stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce and palm sugar and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Throw in the chicken breasts and simmer until just cooked through, approximately 15 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts.
  • Add in the lime juice and zest, taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Remove the chicken breasts, shred the meat and return it to the pot.
    Serve with fresh coriander leaves.
  • This soup is packed full of flavour, but is still mild enough to offer to kids. The two chillies I used had hardly any heat, however if you’re concerned about the chilli just leave it out.

    What kind of food do you love to cook? Or do you prefer to dial for your food?

Asian Noodle Soup with Dumplings

Down here is little Adelaide it’s pouring rain outside right now and the weekend ahead looks like more of the same. I see a bowl (or two) of this nourishing, soul warming Asian Noodle Soup with Dumplings in my very near future.

It all started with a recipe by one of my fav ladies, the lovely Beth. She’s a TV star now, did you know? Beth is often posting delicious recipes and I’m often trying them out in my kitchen, with much success. When I saw this home made cuppa soup I had to give it a go… and then give it a twist. Of course my twist involved making it bigger and adding lots of carbs (piggy, piggy me!).

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10 Minute Winter Warmer - Asian Noodle Soup with Dumplings

Apologies for the average pic – mobile phone photos are the go for me lately, usually with a baby juggled in the other arm! I’ll try to get another pic next time I make this. Which WILL be soon.

Asian Noodle Soup with Dumplings

You’ll need:

  • 4 cups stock
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 grated cloves of garlic
  • 1 grated knob of ginger
  • 1 chilli, sliced
  • 200g packet of frozen dumplings of your choice
  • 150g dried noodles

Easy peasy method:

Throw everything except the noodles and dumplings into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add in the noodles and dumplings according to packet directions (my noodles and dumplings both took 8 minutes, so I whacked them in together). Serve in big bowls and stuff your face.

You can easily adjust the ginger, garlic and chilli to your liking – I love the spice to be just enough to make my lips tingly. If you were so inclined you could also throw in whatever veg you’ve got around the place. Or perhaps shred in some leftover chicken and tip in a tin of corn for an easy chicken and corn soup.

Thanks to Beth for the inspiration for this nosh up.

Pea and Basil Soup

Pea and Basil Soup | Octavia and Vicky

I am becoming obsessed with soup. Here is why:

  • The weather is growing cooler and soup warms me up.
  • Soup is healthy – I jam pack it with vegetables and protein.
  • Soup can be ‘eaten’ with one hand when it is served in a mug – very important when you have only one free hand (if that!).
  • Soup can be made in bulk and frozen for quick, last minute meals.

My very favourite soup of the moment is Pea and Basil Soup. I first made this many years ago after being inspired by one of my kitchen heroes, Nigella Lawson. It’s not really even a recipe, really, but I’ll attempt to direct you with some instructions any way.

Pea and Basil Soup | Octavia and Vicky

Nigella Inspired Pea and Basil Soup

  • 1 clove of crushed garlic (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 4 cups frozen peas
  • 4 cups stock (I used vegetable stock made from stock powder)
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil, shredded

1. Heat oil in a saucepan and lightly saute garlic until fragrant.

2. Add peas and stock to the saucepan and heat until boiling. Cook peas until tender.

3. Remove from the heat and throw in the basil. Blitz the soup with your weapon of choice. I use a stick blender.

4. Serve with plenty of freshly grated parmesan and ground black pepper.

This soup takes about ten minutes to make from whoa to go and is seriously addictive. It also makes me feel so very virtuous with it’s vibrant greens.

What’s your favourite soup? 

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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Winter Minestrone with Cheesy Scones

winter minestrone and cheesy scones

I have been sick lately – just your boring, run of the mill sick. Cough, cold, sore throat, achey body. Boring. I finally went to the docs and got prescribed some medicine, but what I really felt like was a natural boost. I found myself on the door step of Nourished Kitchen (thanks to the heads up from Sarah Wilson in her new I Quit Sugar Cookbook) and this perfect cold and flu antidote – Winter Vegetable Minestrone.

I tweaked the recipe a tiny bit. If you’re looking for the cleaner, greener, gluten free version, then go to the original. My version is the ‘Mummy is sick and needs soup today” kind. Of course I needed cheesy scones on the side too…

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 cup macaroni noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons rice bran oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 3 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 handfuls green beans, diced
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 box frozen chopped spinach portions
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to serve
  1. Boil the pasta until tender, and set aside.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a saucepan over a medium-high flame until melted and sizzling. Add frozen chopped onion and fry until fragrant and translucent. Add minced garlic, chopped carrots, chopped celery, cubed butternut squash and diced green beans frying with the onion until fragrant.Stir the dried Italian herbs into the mixture of vegetables.
  3. Pour 2 cups of stock into the pot, taking care to scrape the pot with a spatula to dislodge any flavourful bits of vegetables. Stir in crushed tomatoes and frozen spinach portions. Simmer the broth for thirty minutes or so.
  4. Stir in the cannellini beans and cooked pasta. Generously season the soup with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover and allow it to sit for approximately five to ten minutes, allowing the flavours to meld. Serve with parmesan cheese and cheesy scones.

Cheesey Scones

I literally threw these together, barely measuring. You can’t go wrong!

  • 3 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 45g butter
  • 80g grated cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup softened butter and extra grated cheese for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in butter and stir in cheese.
  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, then mix to a soft dough. Add milk if it is not soft enough. Place on a floured surface and kneed lightly.
  4. Pat dough out to approx 2cm thickness. Cut into rounds using a floured cutter (or the nearest small glass).
  5. Spread the softened butter on top of the scones and sprinkle with extra grated cheese.
  6. Place the scones on baking paper on an oven tray and bake in the oven for approximately 15 – 20 minutes, or until tops are golden.

Serve up your soup in the most retro serving dish you can find – I used the very same bowl that my mum used to serve us minestrone when I was a kid. It made this soup that much more comforting.

What do you like to feed yourself when you’re sick?

Easy Coconut Pumpkin Soup with Chilli

easy coconut pumpkin soup with chilli

I recently went to a cafe for a working lunch with My Awesome Co-teacher, and I was craving soup. Lucky for me their special was “Pumpkin, Leek and Chilli Soup”. Yum, right? Mmmmm, yeah, it was ok. But it was more like pumpkin soup with a blob of sweet chilli sauce thrown in at the end. Meh.

I decided that I would make my own version of this soup, and I have to say I was pretty impressed with my efforts. This soup is SOOO CREAMY without the use of cream, very thick and uber tasty. The kick from the chilli really does it for me, but if you’re not a chilli fan you can skip that bit.

This is a very simple to make soup. As long as you have some common sense. Read on…

Easy Coconut Pumpkin Soup with Chilli
(go ahead and ignore the blue text if you are toddler free)

makes approx 4 large serves or 6 small serves

1 small-medium butternut pumpkin, skin and seeds removed, chopped into large chunks
2 tablespoons of oil for roasting (I used coconut oil)
1 leek, rinsed and sliced thinly
1 tablespoon of oil for frying (I used rice bran oil)
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup vegetable stock
dried chilli flakes (or use fresh chillies) ~ if you’re not a chilli fan just leave it out
optional: freshly chopped coriander leaves for serving
1 toddler
common sense (sadly, I forgot this ingredient)

1. Remember the last time that you cooked with the toddler “helping” and choose to set them up with something entertaining and educational this time. I used ABC Kids.

2. Roast the pumpkin in coconut oil until golden and tender (20 – 30 minutes at 220 degrees).

3. Pop out to the bakery for some fresh bread to have with your soup, it’ll only take 20 minutes.

4. Realise (again) that nothing takes twenty minutes with a toddler, as you ask her patiently to please hurry-up-and-get-in-the-car-no-you-can’t-have-a-chocolate-frog-don’t-pick-up-that-dirty…-OH!-Gross!-come-here-let-me-wash-your-hands-HURRYUPANDGETINTHECAR!!

5. Promise yourself never to ‘pop out to the shops’ mid-cook again. What were you thinking?

6. Resume the entertaining and educational activity (see step 1).

7. When your pumpkin is nearly ready, fry the leeks until translucent.

8. Combine all ingredients except chilli and simmer until warmed through.

9. Add chilli to taste.

10. Serve sprinkled with chopped coriander and season with salt and pepper to taste. Or use Italian parsley because you’ve run out of coriander and you want the photos to look pretty. For your blog. You geek!

11. Resume regular parenting programming. Lucky for us, it was nap time!

Have you eaten a delicious soup lately? Or perhaps you made one? Do tell!