Trying out Recipes: Butternut Squash & Cauliflower Soup, Pea & Zucchini Soup and Coconut Chicken

I am in a soup mood recently so I tried two out from the wonderful Cancelle et Vanille, who is a great gluten free blogger that i have linked in this blog in the past. I also tried a coconut Chicken based on a Jamie Oliver recipe

Pea, zucchini and watercress soup flavored with coriander and lemon

The Recipe Picture

My Attempt

The Recipe 

(serves 4)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 medium leek, white and tender green parts diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 medium zucchinis, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cups (500 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (125 g) shelled peas
  • 1 cup (30 g) watercress, tough stems removed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt
  • Mint, to garnish

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil. Add the celery, leek and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the ground coriander.

Add the vegetable broth, cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the peas and watercress and cook for another 3 minutes. Season with salt and lemon juice. Puree the soup in a blender.

Serve with yogurt, torn mint leaves, black pepper and watercress leaves.

My Take

  • for the presentation aspect of the soup, It’s a shame that we don’t get really nice watercrest here, it’s kind of small leaves and muddled so it doesnt look quite as pretty on top of the soup, however the flavor it imparts is still good.
  • Also if you are doing this recipe in the spanish speaking world like me: watercrest = berro.
  • Peas here in colombia are much harder than in the US so 3 minutes after the peas go in to blend is too little a time. We left it cooking approximately 15 minutes. Next time I’m just going to put them in at the same time as the zuchini.
  • By mistake I added carrots, but I really liked the kick it gave the soup
  • I used frozen vegetable stock from the last time I cooked soup. Being Gluten Free I really cant use the vegetable stock tablets that they sell here and my US gluten free ones ran out. So what do I do? Last time I made soup I did a huge bowl of vegetable stock (with leeks, celery, onion and carrot). What was left I froze it in ziplocks and for this recipe I reused one of my ziplocks. This is a great way to have healthier ingredients but without wasting too much time
  • The soup turned out great – good flavor and very comforting on a cold day!

Butternut Squash and Orange Cauliflower Soup

The Original Recipe Picture

My  Pictures

..of the process

..of the finished product

The Recipe

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, washed, quartered and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 carrots, medium dice
  • 1 orange cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash, peel and medium diced
  • 1 qt chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • purple basil oil, optional
  • parmesan and herb crackers

In a large stock pot, sauté the leek, garlic and carrots with the olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and butternut squash and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the stock, water and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for about 25 minutes until tender.

Puree the soup with a blender. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with a drizzle of purple basil oil, toasted pumpkin seeds and micro greens. Accompany the soup with the parmesan and herb crackers topped with some greens and goat cheese.

My Take

  • The decoration was lacking as I didn’t find purple basil oil nor did I have pumpkin seeds
  • There are no orange cauliflowers here, so I used the traditional white ones, but the flavor was good anyways and the color of the soup didn’t suffer as the butternut squash and the carrots are strong enough to impart the color
  • Flavor wise it was delicious. it is a very tick and filling soup and one I will do again soon!

Chicken in Coconut Milk

The Original Recipe Picture

Picture of My Attempt

The Recipe

Serves 4-6

  • 1 3lb whole chicken
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil or olive oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole pieces star anise
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 large lemon, cut into eighths
  • lemongrass, white part, 5″ chopped into 1/4″ pieces
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 16-oz can coconut milk
  • 3 cups spinach leaves
  • 2 green onions, chopped into 1/4″ pieces

Rinse and dry chicken, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Put in refrigerator for up to 24 hours, or set aside while you prepare remaining ingredients if you’re going to cook it right away.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

You’ll need a covered pot that will hold the chicken close, such as a Dutch Oven. Melt the butter over medium heat, then add the oil. Put in the chicken, breast side up and let it sizzle for about 30 second. Carefully flip the bird and cook the other side, another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and remove the fat in the pot.

Put your chicken back in the pot with the cinnamon stick, star anise, a handful chopped cilantro stems (about 1/2 cup), lemon, lemongrass, garlic and coconut milk and cook in the preheated oven for 60-90 minutes (depending on size), basting the sauce over the top of the bird every 20 minutes or so. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165° F.

Remove chicken and put on a plate. Pull out cinnamon stick, and any other solids you do not want to serve with the chicken. Put sauce back on the stovetop, add the spinach and heat over medium flame just until wilted.

Carve chicken and serve each piece over rice with sauce spooned over the top. Garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro leaves.

My Take

  • finding a whole chicken was hard so I decided to do it with legs and thighs only. additionally finding lemongrass in colombia is a pain so I decided to use five spice to give it more kick instead. although it came out super aromatic, I do believe the lemongrass was needed as it would have cut the sweetness and made the flavors less one note (I also have to accept I forgot about the lemon, so that would have helped too!)
  • It came out great tasting, but appearances wise, it was just not pretty – the smell though – to die for!

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