Roasted Tomato Soup

Soup Club has been something the junior school (Year 1 to 4) at my workplace came up with in the last few weeks of last semester. The teachers of each year level will cook lunch for all the teachers of the junior school on one of the days in that week, and we rotate weekly. Absolutely loving the whole idea! Been trying all kinds of different soups and every one that I had was yummy! Sometimes, the teachers ventured out of soups, and got creative! We even had chilli con carne and curry lentils! Really well fed at my work place. haha

I was part of the year 1 team, and on our first rotation, I made cream of mushroom soup! So glad they all enjoyed it. Always get very nervous cooking for a bigger group of people. Plus I always cook too much! haha The mr and I would end up having soup for the next few days. Whoops! But more is better than less ya? hehe So it was the Year 1s turn again yesterday, and I decided to try something new. Brave, I know! haha I flipped through my recipe books and one of the soup recipes from the Delicious: Simply the best cook book, which I scored at Aldi for $12! hehe

The part that really caught my eye is the addition of asian flavours to this soup. It’s no ordinary roasted tomato soup, the addition of coconut milk, fish sauce, ginger and coriander makes it almost like drinking a less spicy and creamier version of the laksa gravy! Mmmm. AMAZING!

As much as I love the asian influence in this recipe, I have to admit I was a little worried as to how my colleagues will react to the taste. But thankfully, it turned out well and everyone was asking for the recipe! Yay! (: Totally made my day! Oh yes, and did I tell you I’ve never seen and cooked with that many tomatoes in my life because I doubled the recipe below. haha

Roasted Tomato Soup (Adapted from Delicious: Simply the best)

1.5kg tomatoes, quartered (any type you like)

2 onions, quartered

2 capsicum, thickly sliced

Salt & pepper, to season

3 tsp dried basil

1/4 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves

2 tsp finely grated ginger

400ml coconut milk

700ml vegetable stock

1 tbs tomato paste

1 small bunch of coriander, leaves and steam finely chopped (extra to serve)

1 tbs brown sugar

2 tbs fish sauce

Natural Greek yogurt (to serve)

Steps :

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a baking tray with foil. Place the tomatoes, capsicums and onions on the baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and dried basil. Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until the vegetables are very soft and lightly charred.

2) Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the garlic and ginger until fragrant (1-2 mins), do be careful not to burn the garlic as it will have a bitter after taste.

3) Add the tomato paste, coconut milk and stock and simmer for 10 mins. Add the sugar, fish sauce, chopped coriander and the roasted tomato, capsicum and onion, plus any of the cooking juices in the baking tray. Simmer for a further 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly.

4) Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend, in batches, until smooth. Serve the soup, garnished with coriander leaves and a dollop of yogurt. Serve with bread or roti.

Enjoy!

PS : This is one soup that is not too heavy but full of flavour! Perfect for a cold winter night! Do give it a try and let me know what you think! (: So dear readers, what is your favourite kind of soup? Would love to know!

Corn & Okra Fritters with Smoked Salmon

Corn fritters. Who doesn’t like them? Whenever I go for brunch, I will first look out for corn fritters on the menu and if there isn’t any then I will venture out to try something else! That’s how much I like corn fritters. Nothing better than having something crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with corn kernels bursting in your mouth with every bite! mmmm.

Corn fritters at Replete Providore sparked my obsession with fritters (:

The best corn fritters I had was at Replete Providore in Hawthorn and I couldn’t get enough of it after that! I can proudly say Replete Providore sparked my addiction to corn fritters (yes, it was THAT good!)! They serve theirs with bacon, sour cream and tomato-chilli relish which was sweet and tangy which I love!

But cause I made these on a Friday, and it’s meatless Friday. I had to use something else besides bacon. So opening the drawers in the fridge, I found my last packet of smoked salmon! The first was used to make the tomato and cream smoked salmon pasta a week ago! *PHEW* Lucky I had a packet left, as I was sure the saltiness of the smoked salmon would be perfect with these fritters!

 Instead of layering it with sour cream and the tomato-chilli relish, I thought I made it less sinful (just a tad bit) by mixing plain greek yogurt with the aubergine (eggplant) and chilli pickle I bought from a little store at Mount Dandenong a while back.

It was perfect! Creamy-sourish-spicy and added just a little touch of sweetness with some sweet chilli sauce as garnish.

These fritters were crispy and I added cheese to it so it was cheesy in the center. Everything you would want in your breakfast. The addition of okra was surprisingly good because it added an extra crunch. Just love different textures in my dishes! hehe So if you’re a corn fritter lover like me and wanna try whipping this up, here is the recipe! (: I’m very sure you will love it! Cos the mr and I both did!

Corn & Okra Fritters with Smoked Salmon (makes 5 relatively large fritters, serves 2)

 12 pieces of okra, sliced

1/2 cup of corn kernels, roasted in the oven and cooled down

1/2 cup + 2 tbs plain flour

1/2 cup chredded tasty cheese

4 mini bocconcini, sliced thinly

2 tbs grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup whole milk

1 egg

freshly ground black pepper, to season

fresh coriander, for garnish

2 tbs sweet chilli sauce, for garnish (1 tbs for each stack)

vegetable oil, for frying

aubergine & chilli pickle yogurt dressing (optional, recipe to follow)

100g smoked salmon

Steps :

1) Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat while preparing the fritter batter.

2) In a large mixing bowl, combined the okra, corn kernels, the cheeses, salt and pepper and mix it well. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon/spatula. Add the milk and egg and mix until there are no dry flour left in the bowl.

3) Once the oil is hot enough (test this by dropping a little of the batter into the oil, it should bubble vigorously), drop 2 heap tablespoons of batter into the oil and flatten it with a wooden spoon. Make sure it’s not too thick, or else the middle might be raw after being pan-fried.

4) Fry the batter one at a time, or at most 2. Fry each side for 2-3 minutes or until each side is a beautiful golden brown. Remove and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

5) Serve with alternate layers of fritters, yogurt dressing and smoked salmon in a stack and top with a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce for each stack and fresh coriander. Make sure you serve the fritters warm/hot!

Aubergine & Chilli Pickle Yogurt Dressing

2-3 heap tbs of aubergine & chilli pickle (or any relish you have in your pantry)

4-5 tbs plain greek yogurt

Step :

Just mix the pickled relish and the greek yogurt together till well combined. Chill in the fridge till ready to be used!

oh yes, if you don’t have the aubergine and chilli pickle, you can use any relish you want and use plain greek yogurt or sour cream instead! The beauty of making your own breakkie at home – use what you have at home and let your creativity run wild!

Enjoy! (:

Stir Fried Okra (Lady’s Finger)

I never really liked okra when I was young. The only memory I had of okra of is using it during Arts and Craft lessona at school. Have you done those vegetable prints before when you were little? We use to do heaps! And using okra was very popular as it makes pretty flower prints!

(image credit to http://bkids.typepad.com)

So I never really knew how it tasted! Also, the slimy texture on the inside kinda puts me off as well. Always thought it was kinda gross. haha My brother still thinks it’s gross! But he was never a fan of slimy or soft textured food. The first time I had it was in the fish head curry my mum cooked and I loved it! But I didn’t know if I liked it cause of the curry gravy that made it yummy! So mum sitr fried it during dinner one night and I absolutely loved it!

This is my mum’s version of the stir fried okra! Mine looks a little different. haha Hers is still a little crunchier and is less gooey. I think my wok wasn’t hot enough! :O But nonetheless, it was still yummy and the taste was quite similar! So I was really happy with my first attempt of cooking it!

I guess there are many ways you can slice your okra. I prefer mine thin and cut at an angle. But even if you cut it round, it would look nice too! Just that when it’s slightly thicker, might take a longer time to soften. So do take note!

Also, I am really lucky that my dearest mum made me a huge bottle of her own sambal chilli. But if you don’t have sambal in your fridge, just slice up a large chilli thinly and it would work too!

So here’s the recipe for my version of the stir fried okra. I decided to put it in a recipe card for a change! What do you think?

Have this dish with a hot bowl of rice! *slurps* ENJOY! (: