Tag: lemongrass

Thai Soup and Beef

Thai Soup

The past couple of days have brought a lot of snow, turning the world outside into a winter wonderland. Everything is covered by a soft white blanket, which is true magic to me! It looks different, sounds different and it even smells different. Two days ago I had time for a short walk so I went down the road to a tiny park that looks a bit like a secret garden. It’s my city hideaway as it seems to leave the noise and bustle outside as soon as you enter the iron gates. The trees and bushes were covered in snow and I had my camera with me, luckily, so I could take some of these wonderful impressions home with me and share them with you.

After walking for a while I started to feel cold and I got in the mood for a warm, spicy broth, a Thai soup. I have all sorts of broth in my freezer. Every few weeks I cook a few litres of  vegetable broth to use for soups and risottos, but I also have duck and pheasant broth in stock at the moment. When you have a strong broth you are already well on your way to a good soup. I warmed up the duck broth and added some lemongrass, ginger, fresh chili and coriander. I was really hungry, so I decided to throw in some pointed cabbage and some tiny meatballs mixed with the spices. The meatballs weren’t bigger than walnuts, after cooking in the soup for 5 minutes they were done, the cabbage needed even less. If you prefer the vegetarian version just leave out the meat, which is what I often do. Either way, this soup is a perfect treat for this cold season, you can be sure you will feel warm, strong and refreshed afterwards!

Thai Soup

Thai Soup with Meatballs

For 2 people as a main or for 4 people as a starter you need

broth 1500ml
pointed cabbage, sliced thinly, 250g / 9 ounces
ground beef 400g / 14 ounces
fresh ginger, thumb sized piece, 1/3 sliced thinly, 2/3 grated
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
coriander roots, ground in a mortar, 2-3
coriander leaves, a handful
fresh chili, sliced thinly, 1
lemongrass, peeled and cut into thin slices, 1
salt and black pepper

Mix the coriander roots, the grated ginger, the garlic and a generous amount of ground black pepper in a mortar and grind to a smooth paste. Mix the paste together with the beef, half of the coriander leaves (chopped) and a teaspoon of salt. Form little walnut sized balls with a teaspoon.

Season the broth with salt and pepper to taste, add the slices of ginger and lemongrass and bring to the boil. Cook the meatballs in the broth on medium heat for 4 minutes. Keep the lid closed. After 4 minutes, add the cabbage and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve in deep bowls topped with the chili slices and the rest of the coriander leaves.

Thai Soup

 

Thai Soup

 

Thai Soup

Mussels with Spices, Ginger, Lemongrass and Coriander

Mussels with Ginger, Lemon Grass + Coriander

Last summer I enjoyed a sumptuous dinner in a beautiful candle lit garden at an old villa surrounded by fragrant Stephanotis and Plumbago. The setting was just perfect and the food divine as always, cooked by my dear friend Vanessa. She treated us to the freshest seafood, prepared in inspiring variations. We started the dinner with mussels cooked with coriander, turmeric, cayenne and ginger in a wonderful broth made with coconut milk and lemon. I was never too fond of mussels until that night. I used to cook them with celery, carrots and onions in white wine which is nice but the exotic mixture of spices and herbs was something special and unexpected.

When I bought the mussels for our dinner I knew I would take Vanessa’s version and mix it with mine. I used white wine instead of coconut milk but adopted her mix of coriander, turmeric, cayenne and ginger. To this I added some lemongrass, garlic, spring onions and carrots. The velvety broth was a fantastic match for the mussels, very bold while not overpowering the fresh sea taste of the mussels. We finished all the mussels and soaked up every drop of the remaining broth with some Ciabatta bread.

Mussels with Ginger, Lemon Grass + Coriander

Mussels with Spices, Ginger, Lemongrass and Coriander

For 2 hungry people you need

mussels, rinsed, 1 kg / 2 pounds
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
spring onions, cut into slices, 2
carrot, cut into cubes, 1
ginger, grated, thumbnail size
lemongrass, cut into thin slices, a 7cm / 3″ piece
coriander seeds, ground, 1 teaspoon
turmeric, ground, 1/3 teaspoon
cayenne pepper, ground, 1/8 teaspoon
salt 1/2 teaspoon
white wine 250ml
lemon juice 1 tablespoon
oil for frying 2 tablespoons
fresh coriander, chopped, a handful

Heat the oil in a large pot and fry the ginger, lemongrass, garlic and vegetables for a couple minutes. Add the ground spices, mix and fry for another minute. Pour the wine and lemon juice into the pot and bring to the boil, season with salt. Add the mussels and mix with the liquid. Close with a lid and turn down the heat to the lowest temperature. Steam for 5 minutes or until the shells open. Take out the mussels which didn’t open, you should not eat them! Mix in the coriander leaves and serve on big plates.

Mussels with Ginger, Lemon Grass + Coriander