Christmas Dinner: Pea Soup

Pea Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

This Christmas I want to make a complete and composed dinner from beginning to end and who better than to use Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook. I am practicing these recipes early so Christmas dinner has no hiccups and I am always one to eat Christmas dinner any time of the year; to a few of my friends chagrin. They just don’t understand Christmas in July of Turkey in late spring. I have been adverse to pea soup for as long as I can remember and the only reason was the colour of the soup. I don’t mind peas in any other fashion, so what is my problem right?

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook

Ingredients
Soup

• 1 onion
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
• 1 leek, rough chopped
• 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
• Olive oil
• 6 cups of frozen peas
• 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
• 6 sprigs of fresh mint
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Plain yoghurt or crème fraiche, optional
Toast
• 6 slices of whole-grain bread with seeds
• 5 ½ oz leftover cooked ham
• 1 crunchy eating apple
• 1 ¾ oz Stilton cheese
• ¾ oz mature Cheddar cheese
• 1 tbsp liquid honey
• 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Assembly
Soup

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Using a Dutch oven add in the garlic, onions and leek and celery over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until softened; but not coloured, stirring occasionally.
3. Add in the frozen peas and stock and let boil.
4. Add on a pinch of salt and pepper.
5. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.
Toast
1. Lay bread in a large baking sheet and shred ham, apple and crumble chees atop of the bread.
2. Finely grate cheddar cheese over top and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil and honey.
3. Cook for 10 minutes and then place in soup bowls.
Soup
6. Pick out the mint leave and using the immersion blender; blend until smooth.
7. Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, add a dollop of yoghurt or crème fraiche, and serve.

Tips
• Make ahead and reheat when needed and you can also gather the toast topping and have ready to go.
• Top with pomegranates, crumbled bacon if your not making the toast depending on your guest.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Now that I enjoy a daily green smoothie I have no quams about the colour of this soup and I’m very happy I finally decided to try it. The pea soup was so flavourful and my only issue was getting the soup to be silky smooth. Other that that I’m sold. I would suggest using vegetable or mushroom stock instead of chicken and serve the toast, yoghurt or cream fraiche on the side so those vegetarians and vegans can partake.

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Caribbean Soup … Just like my mom used to make …

Mom’s Caribbean Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

My mom passed away before I really got into cooking and she was one of the cooking types who had no recipes written down. That can be and is quite hard when I am trying to recreate those dinners that are near and dear to my heart. One of those recipes is her Caribbean soup; this is one of those dishes that I loved as a kid and I detested soup back then yet I would enjoy this soup; even with the pigtails in it – it’s a Caribbean thing. I have made this recipe twice now purely from the taste, I remember from days gone by and I have made a pretty good replication. My first attempt was closer I believe, but silly me can’t find where I put the recipe or I just never jotted it done; so here I go again and this time I made sure to write it down.

Yield/Serving: 8
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: about 1 hr.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• Turkey pieces, 4 wings & 2 legs
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Paprika, to taste
• Season salt, to taste
• Garlic powder, to taste
• Onion powder, to taste
• 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp canola oil
• 1 litre chicken stock
• 500 ml water
• 3 Small red skinned potatoes, halved
• Dumplings (flour, salt, water)
• 3 celery stalks, chopped
• carrots, chopped
• 1 onion, chopped

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Season turkey and place in roasting pan and bake for 35 minutes.
3. In the meantime prepare the celery, carrots, potatoes, onion and garlic and set aside.
4. Using a large stockpot place garlic an oil and cook until a golden brown.
5. Add chicken stock and water and put pot to simmer.
6. When turkey is cooked, shred turkey meat into pieces and add to the pot.
7. Add in the potatoes and increase the heat to medium and continue to let cook.
8. Using a medium sized bowl make dumplings by mixing flour, a pinch of salt and water until ingredients form into a ball.
9. Add to pot and cook for 10 – 15 minutes depending on size.
10. Once dumplings are cook add the remaining vegetables and let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
11. Serve.

Tips
• If you are going all out Caribbean, add pigtails and bread kind like breadfruit, eddoes, plantain, yam and soup seasoning. I totally forgot to add plantains, which I can readily find at my local grocery store; but the other ingredients would require a trip to the West Indian store.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was very reminiscent of my mom’s soup and this made me happy; but I know something was missing. The soup tasted much better on the second day as the flavours married. My mom’s soup however always tasted good on day one, so I know something was a touch off. Was it the extra West Indian ingredients or more likely my mom putting love and attention into the soup is what made it always taste oh so good. Probably a bit of both.

Acorn & Butternut Squash Soup

Acorn Butternut Squash Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Acorn Butternut Squash Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s that time of year again when I start making soups on the regular.

Yield/Serving: 1 litre
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr to 1 hr. 15 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 butternut squash, cut in pieces
• 1 acorn squash, cut in pieces
• Canola oil
• 4 tbs vegetarian margarine
• 1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
• 5 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 litre vegetable stock
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Cayenne pepper, generous pinch
• Sunflower seeds, to decorate
• Pumpkin seeds, to decorate
• Parsley, to decorate

Assembly
1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F
2. Wash squash and de-seed and cut into pieces and place in a large bowl.
3. Coat squash with canola oil and place in roasting pan and roast for 30 to 45 minutes.
4. When squash is finished roasting immediately place in a bowl and cover with saran wrap. (Letting the squash remain warm in the bowl, so it will be easier to remove the skin)
5. Meanwhile over medium heat, in a large pot cook onion and garlic until brown.
6. Pour in the vegetable stock and let cook.
7. Start peeling away the skin from the squash and add to pot.
8. Add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and continue to cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. At the 15 minute mark use an immersion blender to blend and let simmer.
9. Serve with sunflower, pumpkin and parsley on top.

Tips
• Freeze a portion if desired.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The colour of this soup was amazing and the crunch of the pumpkin and sunflower seeds added a lovely texture to the soup.

Cinqo De Mayo: Chorizo & Chicken Tortilla Soup

Cinqo De Mayo: Chorizo & Chicken Tortilla Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Cinqo De Mayo: Chorizo & Chicken Tortilla Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

Feeling in a Mexican mood, but not in the typical way I thought let me try to make a Mexican inspired soup. With Cinqo de mayo this week I thought a Mexican dish should be made.

Yield/Serving: 6-8
Prep Time: 40 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Soup
• 5 chicken thighs
• 1 tbsp vegetable olive oil
• Cumin
• Chilli powder
• Cayenne pepper
• Red pepper flakes
• Paprika
• Garlic powder
• Sea salt
• 2 chorizo sausages
• 1 large onion, diced
• 1 large green pepper, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 796 ml can of tomatoes, rough chopped
• 900 ml vegetable stock
• 3 tbsp tomato paste
• 4 cups water
• 540 ml black beans
• 540 ml chic peas
• 340 ml corn
• Handful of cilantro, rough chop
• 1 tortillas , cut into strips and fried
Garnish
• Sour cream
• Diced avocado

Assembly
1. In a frying pan over medium-high heat fry chicken thighs and season with cumin, chilli powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, garlic powder, and sea salt until cooked.
2. In another frying pan over medium-high heat frying chorizo sausages until cooked.
3. Using a large stock pot with a little vegetable oil sauté onion, green pepper and garlic for a minute or two and add in the tomatoes.
4. Add water black beans, chic peas, corn and cook over medium high heat for 60 minutes; stirring occasionally.
5. Shred the chicken and break the chorizo into pieces and add into the stock pot in the last 30 minutes.
6. At the last minute add cilantro.
7. Cut tortilla in small strips and fry until just crispy and put on a paper towel to drain and set aside.
8. Ladle soup into a bowl and add some diced avocado and tortilla pieces and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Even though there were lots of spices I found this recipe lacked flavour and I couldn’t get it to be as seasoned as I’d like. Next time I will have to over season to get this to where I want it to be or perhaps I was feeling a little under the weather and the seasoning was fine.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

When a cold-snap hits in March in the form of a freak ice-storm in Toronto this soup will keep you warm.

Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 50 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 7 large red bell peppers
• 6 garlic cloves, peeled but whole
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
• 900ml vegetable stock

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Cut peppers in half and lay cut side down on a baking sheet.
3. Add garlic cloves and bake until blackened, about 20 minutes.
4. Remove peppers from pan and place in a bowl and cover with cling wrap in a bowl to steam.
5. Let peppers steam for 10 minutes of until cool to the touch and peel skin.
6. In a Dutch oven warm extra virgin olive oil, along with onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent.
7. Add tomato paste, cumin, paprika, sea salt, cayenne pepper and stir for 1 minute.
8. Add vegetable stock, roasted peppers and using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients.
9. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
10. Serve.

Tips
• Serve with biscuits.
• Freeze a portion for a later date.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was my first time making red pepper soup; which surprised some co-workers as they were enticed by the smell of my lunch. The comments on the smell of my soup alone let me know I was on the right track. The smell reminded me of an Italian kitchen. I don’t know if that is a correct description; but this is what I envision a nonna’s kitchen to smell like.

Sausage & Pepper Soup with Kale

Sausage & Pepper Soup with Kale - Candy Coated Culinista

Sausage & Pepper Soup with Kale – Candy Coated Culinista

When September rolls around Mother Nature can be so unpredictable. The mornings and nights are so cold and the mid-day is still summer weather; how is a person to dress? I find myself wearing a leather jacket to work to keep the chill off; but then when my work day is done I am walking home with my coat in my hand. This brought me to this recipe as I like the idea of sausage and peppers; yet I don’t really care for the actual dish at all. I thought since the nights are getting colder maybe I could invent a new dish from an old classic.

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 45 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• canola oil, for cooking
• 1 small red onion, medium chop
• 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 medium yellow potato, peeled and cut into cubes
• 796 ml canned whole plum tomatoes
• 900 ml Beef stock
• 1 tbsp granulated sugar
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Canola oil, for cooking
• 4 mild Italian sausages, removed from the casings
• 1 ½ cup kale
• Green pepper, diced, to garnish

Assembly
1. Over medium high-heat pour canola oil in a pot along with onion and garlic and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes.
2. Add potato, tomatoes, beef stock, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.
4. Using an immersion blender, puree until soup is smooth and continue to simmer.
5. In another pan pour canola oil over medium-high heat and cook the sausage until browned.
6. Add the sausage and kale into the soup and cook until kale is wilted.
7. Serve

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
So flavourful and easy to make and I finally got to use my new Cusinart Teal Enamel Dutch oven. I loved how the onions and garlic caramelized in the pot so fast. The addition of kale along with the crispness and crunch of the green pepper garnish made this whole dish come together. I even have leftovers to freeze for an even colder day.

Mulligatawny Sans Soup

Mulligatawny Sans Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Mulligatawny Sans Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 3-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Altered from From “Jamie’s Great Britain – 130 of my favourite British recipes, from comfort food to new classics“

I saw this recipe while flipping through Jamie’s Great Britain, while waiting for him to take stage for his book tour a couple of years ago and my face lit up that night in Massey Hall. The other day I was going through some of my older cookbooks and I saw “Mulligatawny” again. For me when I hear the word Mulligatawny, a very specific pop-culture reference comes to my mind; but for me I have two reasons why this recipe will always bring a smile to my face though. First: the 116th episode of the sitcom “Seinfeld”. The owner of this restaurant has gotten this moniker of “Soup Nazi “due to his temperament and his procedure of how to place an order. When Elaine goes in to order she doesn’t follow the procedure and is banned for one year. Secondly, it reminds me of my mom. She was not a big Seinfeld fan yet every time this episode came on she would sit down and watch it with me. She loved when Elaine told off the Soup Nazi and said “You’re through, Soup Nazi. Pack it up. No more soup for you. Next.” She would repeat it as best as she could and we laughed the whole way through. This is a really great silly memory of my mom, so now when the episode comes on and I’m visiting my dad he will hang around and watch it with me and we think of mom.

Ingredients
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 8 ½ oz lean ground beef
• ½ red onion, finely chopped
• 2 carrots, peeled and diced
• 4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 red pepper, diced
• ½ jalapeno, diced
• 2 tbsp curry powder
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1 sprig of fresh thyme
• Handful of fresh cilantro
• 1 cup basmati rice

Assembly/Method
1. Using a frying pan over medium-high heat pour in the olive oil and brown the ground beef.
2. Add in the onion, carrots, garlic, red pepper, jalapeno and cook for another 7 minutes.
3. Add in the curry powder, tomato paste, salt, pepper and thyme.
4. Prepare the basmati rice.
5. Pour the beef mixture onto the basmati rice and add the cilantro and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was an ok dish for me as I am not a fan of Indian or in this case Anglo-Indian Cuisine, but I had to give it a try. I removed the soup aspect as I didn’t want to drink curry flavours, however, if this is your cup of tea give it a try with or without soup. I may not care for this recipe but the memories and smiles it brings me is well worth it.

Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder - Candy Coated Culinista

Corn Chowder – Candy Coated Culinista

Corn chowder is the ultimate comfort food I have never tried or made before.

Yield/Serving: 4

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 3 stalk celery, chopped
• 1 stalk leek, chopped
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• ¼ tsp dried thyme
• 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 2 cup vegetable stock
• 1 sweet red pepper, diced
• 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into cubes
• 2 cups fresh corn kernels, of the cob
• ¼ cup fresh Itallian parsley
• ½ tsp paprika
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Using a large saucepan over medium high heat pour extra virgin olive oil.
2. Add in the celery, onion, leeks along with dried thyme and cook until slightly browned, stirring frequently.
3. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir for a few minutes.
4. Add in the heavy cream and potato and let boil, stirring as to not let the vegetables stick to the bottom of the pot.
5. Add in the vegetable stock and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
6. Ladle into a soup bowl and garnish with parsley.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I don’t think I’m a fan of creamy milk based soups; I am more of broth fan. I just couldn’t get passed the fact that there was milk in my soup. The flavours were great but when I make this again I will make it using stock and not any milk products. This soup was vibrant and colourful and I wanted to eat it with my eyes, which are all the qualities you want when looking at your food.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup - Candy Coated Cullinista

French Onion Soup – Candy Coated Cullinista

A rich vegetable broth, served with artisan whole wheat bread sounds delish right? I have been practicing my knife skills and I thought making French onion soup would be a good idea after having a cutting board full of onions and my eyes full of some almost forming tears.

Yield/Serving: 1
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 2hrs & 45min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• ¼ cup vegetable margarine
• 1 onion, sliced lengthwise
• 1 sweet onion, sliced lengthwise
• 1 red onion, sliced lengthwise
• ½ tsp sea salt, to taste
• 900ml vegetable stock
• Ground black pepper, to taste
• Artisanal bread, cut into thick slices

Assembly
1. Slice all the onions the lengthwise and then slice a few into half.
2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat and melt the margarine until it’s foamy.
3. Add in all the onions and coat with the margarine.
4. Add in the sea salt and mix.
5. Lower the temperature to medium-low and let onion mixture brown for 45 minutes, stirring frequently until they have turned a dark brown.
6. Pour in the vegetable stock and let boil for 5 minutes.
7. Finally turn down the heat to low and let simmer for 2 hours. (Cook longer if desired)
8. Season with black pepper and serve immediately with a few slices of artisan bread.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
My knife skills are improving; granted I am slower when I use the proper cutting form but I will speed up over time. Until the onions broke down the whole place smelt like onions and made my eyes burn. I’m not sure if I would make this again just based on this even if the soup tasted great. It was a lot of watching and waiting for some soup. I may try a version in the slow cooker and see if that is a possible way to make French onion soup. I have never had French onion soup before, but I was told by Mr. C. that it tasted like it should (he isn’t a fan of French Onion soup though). I always wondered why this soup could cost anywhere from $7 to $10 in the restaurants, but I never realized how much onions and time was put into this dish. Typically beef broth is used and topped with cheese, but I wanted to make a totally vegan option and I used vegetable margarine vs. butter.

Coconut Thai Cream Soup

Coconut Thai Cream Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Thai Cream Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

I received a request to find a “nice and easy coconut Thai cream soup”. I thought this would be an easy recipe to find as I had just bought a book called Coconut 24/7 (perfect timing or what); only to find that there wasn’t a recipe for coconut cream Thai soup or anything remotely near this. I perused ten coconut soup recipes and after researching what makes a dish Thai, what are the typical components, ingredients and flavourings I put this recipe together. Now when I think “nice and easy” I have a few criteria: One- The ingredients must be in my at local grocer, as I am not venturing to the Asian market for lemongrass and Kaffir Lime leaves and even Palm sugar and coconut sugar. Yes I realize that these are what some would say are staple ingredients required, but I just can’t trek myself out when it’s -12 out and -21 with the wind chill; my fingers and toes mean more to me today. Two- When I say “nice and easy” it doesn’t mean I didn’t put any work into it and it took 10 minutes to make with no effort. Let’s face it everything takes a little effort unless you’re boiling an egg and making some toast; but see effort was required there also to some extent, but I digress. Three- It must take me no more than 30-60 minutes from prep to the table. If I can get a recipe complete in that time frame and the flavours are well married I deem it a success; especially with soup when those ingredients need time to grow. To keep the taste and feel true to Thai cuisine this recipe will have to require some essentials which some may deem not so “nice and easy”; but I’ll let you be the judge of that. To me this recipe is keeping the Thai feeling true but without all those hard to source ingredients. To me that is C. C.’s “nice & easy”.

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 cans coconut milk
• 3 shallots, minced
• 8 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp ginger, minced
• Handful of cilantro, including stems
• 2 tbsp chillies, chopped
• ½ tsp golden brown sugar
• Lime zest
• Juice from one lime
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• Salt
• Black pepper
• Water from one Coconut
• 1 coconut, set water aside and get out flesh
• Coconut water, from coconut
• Coconut water, from can
• Package of Enoki mushrooms, (or button mushrooms)
• A handful of bean sprouts
• Coconut meat (leave some behind for garnish)
• 60g Spinach vermicelli rice noodles
• Cilantro leaves, for garnish
• 2 green onions, thinly sliced
• Fresh lime slices, for garnish

Assembly
1. In a medium saucepan, pour in coconut milk and simmer on low-medium heat.
2. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro, chillies and sugar, lime zest, lime juice, cayenne pepper, salt & black pepper and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Strain soup into another saucepan using a sieve and discard all the solids.
4. Add in coconut water from coconut and the can, mushrooms, bean sprouts, coconut meat and noodles, then continue to simmer for 2 – 5 minutes.
5. Garnish with cilantro leaves, green onion, coconut meat and lime.

Tips
• If you just want a broth, serve as is after you strain out the solids.
• I found it hard to eat the noodles, even though it tasted good. If you have a proper Thai spoon (wide porcelain spoon) it will make eating this so much easier.
• I found the Enoki mushrooms alongside all the other mushrooms at Metro, but button mushrooms will work just as well. I just wanted a unique eye-catching vegetable. (This was the second time I saw these mushroom. A cute anecdote that night for the appetizer round of Chopped Canada Enoki mushrooms was in the first basket and I couldn’t help but say I’m on the right path.)
• Cracking the coconut was a task. Skip if you’re not in the mood to crack open and extract the meat. I first tried to bake it at 375° for 10 minutes to get it to crack and that didn’t work; even though I read that this was a good way to crack it. I finally had to bring in the big guns (Mr. C.) and problem solved. I just needed that initial break and then I was good to go, smashing away the rest of it. Wash and place inside a heavy-duty freezer bag and that way you save the coconut water for the soup.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have never had a Thai dish before ever. The Asian foods I consume are Chinese, Japanese and just a little to the east Filipino cuisine. This was my first foray into Thai food and I deem this a success. I could taste the sweet, salty, spicy and sour flavours all the while still getting that coconut flavour.

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