Tag Archive for 'ginger'

Kicking Carrot Soup

I am back, albeit only for 2 posts, before I am heading on a 4 week holiday to 4 countries. Crazy I know, but hopefully this way we’ll be able to catch up with as many relatives and friends as possible plus see some beautiful sites and eat delicious food all at once.

Since I am still in my pyjamas in the midst of the pre-holiday packing chaos,  I’ll make this short and just share a couple of recipes from my recent cooking classes. The carrot soup is simple and tasty. It gets it’s kick from the ginger and a hint of citrus from freshly squeezed orange juice. The color is magnificent and makes this soup quite appealing to small children.  

I’ll take lots of pictures on our vacation and will share some of our adventures when we get back in a month. Be well and enjoy the summer or winter, depending which side of the planet you’re on.

Continue reading ‘Kicking Carrot Soup’

Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles

Ever since eating at Wagamama in London in the mid-90s, I love soba noodles. The texture and hint of buckwheat make them perfect in soups and stir-fries. Ideally I’d buy the 100% buckwheat ones, but being prized around AU$10 (US$ 8) for 250g, I gladly stick to the ones containing mainly whole wheat and only a small amount of buckwheat. They’re not gluten-free and will therefore not be perfect for everyone, but for now and for us, they’ll do.

Almost any vegetables in any quantities and combination work well in this dish, so whatever you like and is in season is good. It’s a great way to get rid of bits and pieces stuck to the bottom of you fridge. If I use pumpkin, I usually peel and dice it, toss it in oil and roast for 20 minutes or until tender. I then add it to the remaining vegetables just before serving; this way the pumpkin won’t turn to mush. I do the same with the tofu, cutting it into small cubes, seasoning it with toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper, before spreading it out on a roasting pan and baking it for 15 minutes. When slightly browned and firmed up, I add it to the other vegetables. I like to add a little vegetable broth or miso for extra slurpiness and dulse flakes for their nutritional value, but neither is essential.

As you’ll notice below, I use natural and toasted sesame oil. The toasted one has a strong taste and I like to use it as a seasoning rather than for frying. If you want to buy only one of the two, by the natural one, you can use it for most asian-inspired dishes. If you have neither at hand, canola or peanut oil work as well.

If I have home made vegetable or chicken stock at hand, I frequently turn this dish into a soup. I first put the cooked noodles in individual bowls, top them with vegetables and tofu, pour some broth over it and sprinkle with coriander. Yum!

Serves 6


1 1/2 9.5 oz packages Soba noodles

1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped

3 medium cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 small broccoli, cut into florets

1/3 cauliflower, cut into florets

2 small zucchini, cut lengthwise and the into 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) half moons

2 carrots, peeled and cut into dice

2 hand fulls snow peas, trimmed and cut in half

1 punnet mushrooms, trimmed and halved or quartered

1/4 pumpkin, peeled and diced

2 packages firm tofu, drained

1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves and thin stems only, chopped

4 spring onions, cut into small rings

1 tablespoon dulse flakes

1-2 cups vegetable or miso broth

low-sodium soy sauce

sesame oil, natural and toasted

sea salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 180 C (350F). Toss pumpkin pieces with natural sesame oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on baking tray and roast until done (approx 20 min). Cut tofu into 1 cm (1/2″) dice, toss with toasted sesame oil, a few glugs of soy sauce, salt and pepper and bake in oven for 15 minutes until lightly browned and crisp on the outside.

While pumpkin and tofu are baking, heat water in large pasta pot to cook soba noodles. Try and time it so that your noodles are ready approximately at the same time as your vegetables. The noodles only need a couple of minutes to cook (100% soba noodles need a little longer) and stick together quite vehemently if you drain them and leave them sitting in the pot. I add a bit of broth and sesame oil to the noodles as soon as they are done and divide them into large bowls as quickly as possible.

While your noodle water is getting ready, heat up vegetable broth or water for miso.

At the same time, heat 2 tablespoons of natural sesame oil (canola works as well) in a deep fry pan or wok, add ginger and garlic and fry for about a minute. Be careful it will burn quickly. Add remaining vegetables and fry, stirring frequently, until vegetables are done, but still have a nice bite to them. You can add a bit of water to the vegetables, if they don’t release enough moisture. When the texture is just right for you, add roast pumpkin, tofu, spring onions and dulse flakes, season with salt and pepper and mix gently. Pour some broth over it, carefully not turning it into soup (unless that’s what you’re going for, see above), and garnish with chopped coriander.