Easiest soup ever

When I come home from uni or work in the middle of winter, or even just a cold, rainy day, one of the most comforting things to find is a saucepan simmering with steaming, nutritious soup. The soups my mum makes are more broths under the English definition but I prefer them like that – no cream, no milk, no mush that was apparently once vegetables.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all kinds of soup – pumpkin, tomato, potato, minestrone, chicken etc, etc – but I love even more the lightness of Chinese soups. One of my favourites is sweet corn soup. No chicken, just sweet corn. In fact, my mum doesn’t even make it using stock and yes, that can be a bit bland compared to one made with a good stock, but I love it nonetheless.

I’ve made my own variation before but the most recent attempt has been my favourite so far. It┬áreally all comes down to the stock. Unfortunately, I can’t say I made my own stock this time so I guess I can’t credit the success to myself entirely. I wanted to use a vegetarian stock but literally had nothing in the fridge to make it with, except a couple of carrots and some old stems of celery, so I just used store-bought stock, which I think is perfectly fine.

I used 400ml of Campbell’s vegetarian stock, heated it up with a can of creamy sweetcorn after very gently frying some crushed/finely diced (or chopped, whatever!) garlic and ginger in the saucepan. Once that boils, you just simmer everything for about 10 minutes and then lightly beat an egg and dribble that into the soup so it forms long, wispy strands. If you want to add sesame oil, add that at the very end before serving. The same goes for spring onions and/or coriander.

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

This has got to be one of the easiest soups to make and for me, it beats the time and process required to make other vegetable soups (don’t get me started on my attempt at pumpkin soup), plus it tastes fantastic too. It’s also really easy to add some chicken or even ham to the pot. Finally, this soup has never been something I’ve had just on its own but always as an accompaniment to a larger meal because it’s so light.

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

Advertisements

As much as I really want to study shorthand…

There’s about a week and a half before semester two starts again and I have a lot of shorthand to study (read: have to, but would prefer not to). At the same time, I’m trying to use my time off to get more cooking in before everything starts getting hectic again and I had a peculiar inkling this morning to try out hollandaise sauce. Peculiar because I neither like nor have had good experiences with hollandaise.

The first time I had eggs benedict was two Christmases ago when I was in Perth with Andrew and his family. We had breakfast at one of the Dome cafes, which to be fair aren’t bad. The hollandaise sauce, though, made me feel like throwing up – it was really thick, had little flavour to it and it was everywhere. A couple of others got the same dish and said it was a bit heavy but was okay. From then on I have stubbornly refused to order anything with hollandaise sauce in it whenever I go out to have breakfast or brunch.

Andrew, though, is somewhat of an egg connoisseur and has had eggs benedict many times. Apparently this cafe in Auckland’s Mission Bay makes the best eggs benedict he’s had so far ­čśë

Knowing this, I wanted to start practising my hollandaise sauce making so that I can one day get it right and we can just make it ourselves. My trusty recipe book had instructions for hollandaise but I looked online and found this recipe, which I ended up following.

I rejigged the measurements because I didn’t need a whole cup of the sauce. I ended up using only one egg yolk, about 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of melted butter and pinches of salt, pepper and paprika.

The yolk didn’t scramble – woohoo! But it also didn’t really taste great, in fact I almost couldn’t taste it at all, which I’m almost 100% sure is because of how I adjusted the measurements of the other ingredients.

The poached egg, on the other hand, turned out perfect so I’m pretty satisfied with my breakfast this morning even if the sauce was a bit of a non-event. It’s not complicated so I’m keen to try it out again soon!

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

Photos of food and such

I’m one of those weird and annoying people who loves to take several photos of their food from as many different angles as possible before finally eating it – I blog about food so what do you expect?? People like me get mocked and ridiculed everywhere in society for this behaviour and I’m sure someone, somewhere has written about how this is evidence of some sort of personality disorder/evidence of narcissism (aren’t we all a little bit narcissistic?). But, I don’t actually care because I love it: I love food, I love taking photos of food and I love showing it all off.

I call these photos: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Because, well, they are ­čÖé

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

Some sort of egg thing. Pretty much started with fried eggs but decided I didn’t want fried eggs anymore so scrambled them up instead.

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

One of my absolute favourite things to eat: udon noodle soup. It’s incredibly easy to make as well. Water, stock, noodles, soy bean paste, spring onions, done. If you really wanted to make it fancy you could even cook up some tofu and chuck that in there too.

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

Teriyaki beef strips and capsicum. Yeah, I like Japanese food.