Recipe: Lobster soup with toast

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For New Year’s Eve my assignment was to make a lobster soup with sherry, so that’s what I set out to do. But as I needed lobster shell for the stock I thought it best to incorporate the lobster meat as well and did so by serving a delicious lobster toast (on butter-fried bread!) along side it. So yummy!

Obviously one can make the soup sans toast the day after a lobster feast or freeze the shells and use them another day. Same goes for prawn shells; you find a great recipe for prawn soup here.

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Lobster soup, serves 8

4 cooked lobsters

2 carrots

1 onion with skin on 

1 fennel or celery 

a bunch dill stalks

1 tsp fennel seeds

300 ml double cream 

50 ml dry sherry

approx 2 tbsp maizena or corn starch to thicken the soup

concentrated lobster stock (to taste)

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1 tbsp butter

a splash of sherry

2 shallots, finely chopped 

1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped 

Remove the lobster meat from the shells and set aside. Chop the shells very coarsley (it’s only so they fit better in the pan later). Place the shell in a large cooking tray with a little oil. Also add large pieces of carrot, onion and celery/fennel. Roast for approx 20 minutes on 180/200C. Transfer the shells and vegetables to a large saucepan with a lid. Add plenty of water (3 litres) and bring to the boil. Add dill stalks and fennel seeds. Place the lid askew and cook for 30-45 minutes.

Sieve the stock and reduce (high heat, no lid) until approx 1 litre remains. Add salt and pepper and taste. Add some concentrated lobster stock if needed. Add the sherry to a clean non-stick pan and let it bubble for a minute. Add the stock and cream and let it thicken. Add the maizena/corn starch to thicken the soup further. Sieve if you see any lumps. Season to taste with concentrate, salt, pepper and sherry. 

From the lobster meat I used approx 1/4 of the meat, the smallest pieces, to place in the soup bowls. Melt the butter in a pan and add the chopped shallots. After a minute add the lobster meat and add the sherry. Add salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and add the dill. Divide between the bowls and pour in the soup. 

Lobster toast, serves 8

6 slices white bread

2 tbsp butter

remaining lobster meat from the 4 lobsters

1 batch homemade mayonnaise

1 tsp dijon

1 bunch, finely chopped

1 pinch cayenne pepper

salt, pepper

Chop the lobster meat (not too finely). Add 4 tbsp mayonnaise to a bowl and mix in the meat. Add more mayo if needed. Add mustard, dill and cayenne after taste. Season. Place cold until serving. 

Remove the crusts on the bread and cut into two diagonally. Fry the slices golden brown on both sides in butter on medium-low heat. Divide the lobster mayonnaise between the toasts and serve with the soup. 

Malmo: Bibimbap at Namu

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There were plenty of lunches, fika and dinners with friends and family when I was back home in Sweden for Christmas and one day I got to try the fairly new Korean restaurant Namu for lunch with my friend Helena and her baby.

It was still pretty quiet in town this third day of the year but an early quiet lunch was perfect with a baby present.

The lunch menu at Namu was short but nice and consisted of three dishes; bibimbap with either beef bulgogi or tofu or a Korean wok. We both decided on the first option and very much enjoyed it!

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I had mine without kimchi and kale as my stomach can’t handle it, but it was still really nice. The creamy 63 degree egg made it feel rather luxurious for a weekday lunch and the flavour of the bulgogi was spot on. We also got a bowl of soup on arrival and coffee or tea is complementary for lunch. Can’t wait to try their dinner menu next time I’m in Malmö.

Namu, Landbygatan 5, 211 34 Malmö, Sweden

Recipe: udon noodles with spinach and poached egg

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This simple and very comforting dish (funny how foods not involving melted cheese can be comforting, but they can!) I found in Vogue of all places, i.e. not where I usually get my food inspiration from, but it’s nice they write about food as well as fashion.

The only slightly daunting part of this meal is poaching eggs, but if you have the freshest of eggs and a slotted spoon you’re halfway there. Further instructions here.

Udon noodles with spinach and poached egg, serves 1

1 portion udon noodles, cooked according to the instructions on the packet 

2 handfuls fresh spinach

200-300 ml vegetable or chicken stock

1 poached egg 

Heat up the stock. Blanch the spinach in boiling water and squeeze it dry. Pour the stock into a bowl. Add noodles and spinach and lastly the poached egg. Sprinkle with chilli flakes or Aleppo pepper. 

Kale soup with pork quenelles

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This, dear fellow foodies, is old-fashioned Swedish peasant food. In a good way. Perfect for this cold time of year this soup is warming and nourishing and so are the pork quenelles, which are basically meatballs cooked in stock instead of pan-fried.

Please note that the quenelles takes longer to make than the soup, so do start with these. If you think the quenelles are strange or you don’t eat meat, garnish your soup with medium-boiled eggs instead. Cut them in half and put them in the soup – it’s also delicious and another common way to eat the soup.

Kale soup, serves 4

Adapted from Hannu Sarenström’s recipe in the book Vinterkalas.

ca 375 g chopped fresh kale

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp plain flour

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

100 ml cream

salt, black pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, stir in the flour and add the stock little by little while stirring. Add the kale and let simmer for 10 minutes. Mix with a stick  blender and add the cream. Bring to the boil and season to taste. 

Pork quenelles, serves 4-6

500 g pork mince

1 egg

100 ml breadcrumbs

1-2 tbsp water

salt, white pepper

1 onion, finely chopped

1,5 litre chicken stock (from a cube is fine)

Break the egg into a bowl and stir in breadcrumbs. Add salt (more than you think) and white pepper. Let the mixture swell for a few minutes. If the mixture is thick add 1-2 tbsp water to loosen it. Stir in the chopped onions and the mince. Mix well and roll the mince into 2 cm thick balls. Rinse your hands in between rolling to make it easier. 

Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and let it simmer. Add the quenelles and let them simmer for approx 15 minutes (check with a knife that they’re cooked through, i.e. not pink in the middle). Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the soup bowls. Fill up with kale soup and serve. 

Sweet potato and lemongrass soup

With the big freeze hitting London, all I want to eat it food that warms you through. This soup is definitely warming, filling and of course – tasty.

The slight ‘exotic’ combination of sweet potato and lemongrass really works and it is a nice alternative for a mid-week meal.

The vegetable puré itself is velvety and thick enough without the addition of dairy product, however I think a dollop of creme fraiche while serving adds another flavour, and it cuts through the lemongrass nicely.

(To make this vegan, use vegetable stock and omit the creme fraiche.)

Sweet potato and lemongrass soup, serves 2

2 sweet potatoes

1 lemongrass

1 tbsp olive oil

400 ml chicken or vegetable stock

salt, black pepper

To serve: a dollop of creme fraiche and a drizzle of olive oil

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into even-sized pieces. Cut the lemongrass in half lengthways and then across so you have four pieces. Heat up the oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the lemongrass and sweet potato and stir for a few minutes to enhance the flavours. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Then cook with the lid halfway on for about 15 minuter or until the vegetables are soft. Remove the two thickest pieces of lemongrass then puré the everything into a thick soup consistency. Add more stock or hot water until it has the thickness you want. Bring to the boil again and season. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a drizzle of a flavoursome oil. 

Cream of corn soup topped with crispy chorizo, grated cheddar and spring onions

The soup season will soon give way for the salad season, but before it is completely over I would like to serve you this delicious soup.

It is a pretty straightforward cream of corn soup, but topped with lovely crispy chorizo, grated cheddar and salad onions. It is the ultimate soup topping for this particular soup and for some reason I picture a cowboy making this in his battered metal saucepan over an open fire. I don’t know why this image pops up but it might have to do with the slight texmex-vibe the combination gives off. To make this connection even more visible, try serving it with tortilla wedges fried crispy in butter. Delicious!

Cream of corn soup topped with crispy chorizo, grated cheddar and spring onions, serves 2

1 can (400 g) tinne sweet corn

200 ml water

1 tsp concentrated vegetable stock

75 ml cream

salt, white pepper

a dash of sherry vinegar

Topping:

1/4 chorizo, roughly chopped up

2 salad onions, chopped

2 tbsp grated cheddar

To serve:

1 wheat tortilla, cut into six triangles/wedges

1 tbsp butter for frying

Rinse the sweetcorn and drain. Place in a saucepan and add the water and stock. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Fry the tortilla pieces golden brown in the butter. Drain on kitchen towel. Fry the chorizo pieces in the same frying pan. Drain on separate kitchen towel.

Mix the corn with the water until smooth. Pour it back into the pan. Add the cream and vinegar. Bring to the boil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into bowls and top with grated cheese, chorizo and spring onions. Serve with the fried bread.

Warming chicken soup with beans and mushrooms

I like to eat soup at least once a week when it is cold outside, but mostly I stick to smooth soups, but it is about time I venture into different soups as well.

This chicken soup is perfect to use up leftover chicken and very tasty, warming and filling. I added some sambal oelek for heat and flavour, and although I made this with homemade chicken stock it works just as well with a stock cube or concentrate.

Chicken soup with beans and mushrooms, serves 3

1 carrot

1/2 onion

2 celery sticks

1 tbsp mild olive oil

500 ml chicken stock, homemade if possible

400 g tinned plum tomatoes or tomato chunks

400 g tinned borlotti beans

2 tsp sambal oelek

1 garlic clove

3 tbsp cream

1 tbsp maizena

7 sliced, fried button mushrooms

1/4 chicken, cooked and the meat shredded

salt, white pepper

To serve: grated parmesan

Peel the carot, rince the celery and peel the onion. Place it all into a food processor and mix. Heat up the olive oil in a 3 litre sacue pan. Add the minced vegetables and fry for a minute or so. Add the stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Stir occassionally. Rinse the beans and add them to the pot. Bring to the boil again and cook for a few minutes. Add sambal oelek and garlic, then cream and maizena. Then add the fried mushrooms and the chicken meat. Let it all heat up. Serve with grated parmesan.