Mains, Soup

Roasted red pepper soup with almond potato croquette

This soup is really easy to make and super tasty. The taste of peppers and almonds of course evoking Spain.

Ingredients for Roasted red pepper soup:
30 ml olive oil
25 g unsalted butter
1 banana shallot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
0.5 tsp smoked paprika
2 sprigs thyme, chopped
2 tbsp tomato purée
400 g roasted red peppers from a jar, drained
400 ml brown chicken stock
100 ml double cream, plus a bit extra for garnish
Salt (smoked salt preferable)
Extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Almond potato croquette:
1 litre sunflower oil (or other veg oil for deep frying)
1 kg of bake potatoes
500 g rock salt
2 tbsp flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
100 g plain white flour
100 g flaked almonds
2 large eggs, beaten

How to make Roasted red pepper soup with almond potato croquette:
For the red pepper soup; start with heating the oil in butter in a saute pan, add the shallots, garlic, smoked paprika and thyme and saute for a few minutes. Add the tomato purée and cook it out for a minute or so until it turns from red to brown. Add the peppers, stock and about 10 leaves of basil and cook for about 6 minutes. Add the cream and cook for a few more minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until silky smooth. Pass through a chinois and reserve until ready to plate.

For the croquettes; preheat the oven to 200C (non-fan), put the rock salt on a sheet pan and then put the potatoes on top. The salt helps draw out moisture making the final potatoes lighter.
Bake the potatoes in the oven for 90 minutes. When the potatoes are done, split them in half lengthwise while still hot, scoop out the hot flesh and pass through a tamis. Let cool down to room temperature.
Mix the parsley into the mashed potato, season with salt and pepper and then roll to little egg shapes.
Heat the oil for deep-frying in a saucepan to 180C.
Put the flour, beaten egg and almonds onto three separate plates. Roll the croquettes in the flour, then in the egg mixture and then in the flaked almonds.
Carefully lower the croquettes into the hot oil and deep fry for about 3 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove using a slotted metal spoon onto a plate lined with lots of kitchen paper.

When ready to plate carefully ladle the soup into warmed bowls, add a croquette to the bowl. Finish the soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a drizzle of cream and a few young small basil leaves.

Mains, Soup


It’s been really hot in London this week, so a perfect time to do the first proper recipe from “The French Laundry Cookbook” that I got last weekend. Gazpacho!

I made the balsamic glaze the day before making this and it was really easy, the only thing to keep in mind is to keep the heat very low. I used my diffuser which made it a lot easier but the glaze still started to bubble a bit after 2 hours on the hob so I had to move it to one half of the diffuser to keep the temperature. All in all the cooking of the glaze took about 2,5 hours. After the glaze was done I stored it in a little squeeze bottle in my cupboard.
This soup was truly amazing… bursting with flavours. First you got tomato and cucumber, then the heat from the cayenne and the onions and finally the sweetness from the balsamic glaze.
Perfect for a warm summer night in the beginning of July.
We enjoyed the soup with some bread sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil and then lightly toasted under the grill.
The wine was a kiwi Chardonnay that worked very well with the soup. Since the soup is quite powerful and spicy you need something like a buttery and big (think New World wines) Chardonnay with quite low acidity to match it.

Ingredients for the balsamic glaze:

500 ml balsamic vinegar (I used Aceto Balsamico Di Modena)

Preparing the balsamic glaze:

Heat the vinegar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until steam rises from the liquid. Place the saucepan on a heat diffuser and let the liquid reduce very slowly (it shouldn’t simmer) for 2 to 3 hours, until it has reduced and thickened to a syrupy glaze. There should be approximately 1/2 cup of glaze. Keep the glaze in a squeeze bottle at room temperature for garnishing: if the glaze is too thick, warm the bottle in hot water to loosen the glaze.

Ingredients for the gazpacho:

240 ml chopped red onions (about 1 medium sized red onion)
240 ml chopped green bell pepper (about 1,5 medium sized green pepper)
240 ml chopped English cucumber (about 1 cucumber)
240 ml chopped and peeled tomatoes (about 4 medium sized tomatoes)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2-3 cloves)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
60 ml tomato paste (I couldn’t find tomato paste so I around 2 tablespoons tomato pure instead)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
90 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
710 ml tomato juice (I used 750 ml because that’s what was in the bottle)
Sprig of thyme

Preparing the gazpacho:

1. Mix all the ingredients except the balsamic glaze together in a bowl or other container, cover, and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.

2. The next day, remove the thyme and blend all the ingredients in a blender until the gazpacho is smooth. You will have about 2 quarts. For a smoother texture, strain the soup to yield about 1 quart. Refrigerate the gazpacho until ready to serve.

To complete: Ladle the cold soup into bowls and squeeze dots of balsamic glaze over the top.

Mains, Soup

French onion soup

This is an excellent soup and very easy and quick to make. Enjoy it with a dry white wine with some acidity to counter the sweet savory flavor of the onions.

4 portions

500 g onion
2 – 3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp white flour
1 liter of water
2 cubes of chicken stock
100 ml dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 pinch of dried thyme
White pepper

White bread
Grated cheddar cheese
Some parmesan

Half the onions and then cut them into thin slices. Fry in a big pot with the butter until they are translucent and golden. Add the flour and stir.
Dissolve the stock into water and add to the pot with the herbs and spices. Boil for 15 minutes on medium heat. Add the wine and boil for another few minutes.

Cut some white bread into cubes and then fry in a little olive oil to create croutons. Let them dry in a piece of paper. You can add some herbs to the croutons if you want.

Pour up the soup into bowls, add croutons and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Add a bit of parmesan on top of the cheddar cheese. Put the bowls (make sure that they are ovenproof!) into the oven, about 250C, for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and a bit brown over the top of the soup.