Hot & Sour Soup

IMG_8778One of our family’s favourite soups is Hot & Sour Soup, slightly spicy, sweet & sour with just a few ingredients; this is perfect for a light meal. There are some additions that do make it more authentic, but even this very basic version makes for a very happy meal. I can remember many busy school nights when this was served, always leaving us satisfied! Continue reading

Oxtail Soup


IMG_5318 The first time we went in to pick up beef from the butcher, he asked if we’d like the licker, the flicker, or the ticker.  We stood looking at him like a couple of newbies.  I’m not sure if he actually rolled his eyes, but probably somewhere in his head he was.

The tongue, the tail, or the heart.  Not having had much experience with any of them, we opted for the least embarassing, and said, “yes please.”

So started my fascination with slow braising of the most intensely flavoured muscle meat that a beef animal has to offer.  These aren’t actually organs, they are constantly used muscles, tough because of their use.  They pump, lick, help to swallow, and flick away flies.

The more a muscle is used, the more flavour it has.  The trick is how to get that flavour in an accessible way. In other words, without much chewing!

This soup is one of my all time favourites.  I think I was first introduced to it in a red & white labelled can.  Now it is made once or twice a year (there’s only one tail per animal).  Cook the meat, creating the stock, one day; put together the soup the next.  Take your time, no one is expecting you to rush while making a pot of soup.  Continue reading

Kale & White Bean Soup with Fresh Chorizo & Rosemary

IMG_3396The last day of this season’s Soup’s On program, we served large pots of seemingly never ending turkey vegetable soup to a crowd of friends and neighbours.  So many dropped by to get their last fix of the Soup’s On experience to last them until fall.  When we had served the last tray of sweets and the kitchen was back to its sparkling self, there was a bit of sadness that we wouldn’t be doing this for the next five months.  Of course, there was also feeling of relief as we looked forward to the next five months of living in one of the best places on earth during its summer weather.

However, when I got home that day, with the program’s finances to be balanced and the summary to be written up for our files, for some whacky reason I felt the need to make soup.  I’m sure there’s an analyst out there that could explain this to me.  Maybe it was because I hadn’t done the soup for lunch that day (I had done the baking) and felt that the day was somehow incomplete?

Or perhaps it was because that morning I’d soaked beans thinking that they’d be part of our dinner.  Well, now dinner was going to be soup.  We had a pound of fresh Chorizo sausage from Jollity Farm, and I had recently done a similar version of this for Soup’s On in early March, so started to pull it together as I worked on the accounts.  Multi-tasking doesn’t always work when cooking, but soup is very forgiving.

This so easily becomes a vegetarian soup, just leave out the sausage, and add in ½ t of dried chilies when you’re sautéing the onions.

Enjoy it like it might be the last bowl of soup you have, until the weather changes next fall. Continue reading

Pea Soup with Ham

IMG_2734A hearty bowl of pea soup can turn a day around.  Working outside during the month of February can be bone chilling cold.  We do get the odd “day lent”, when the sun pours down and reminds us of the spring that’s right around the corner.  Usually though, it’s wet with the occasional snow flurry.  The ground is saturated with a winter’s worth of rain, and it’s the perfect time to pound in fence posts before the ground dries up for another year.  Wire to be stretched, staples to be hammered, all working towards a hard day’s work.  When we come into the kitchen, and know that we are about to have a hearty bowl of soup, we feel looked after, cossetted even.

This is so easy to make, and the vegan version is great as well.  Enjoy big bowls full with fresh scones on the side as a fabulous supper.  You’ll be glad we’re in the depths of winter.

Continue reading

Pacific Fish Chowder

A few years ago, I was asked to create a signature dish for a restaurant opening.  It needed to be available all the time, and a go to dish for the clientele.  It also needed to showcase seafood from our region.  One other thing I added was that it needed to be simple enough that all the cooks could make it and its qualities would be consistent.

As I was doing this on my own, well before the restaurant was due to open, making this dish once a week was about all my husband and I could handle without getting tired of it.  So over several weeks, this is the chowder I made.  Creamy without being too thick, and enough chunks of fish to know what you were eating!

It calls for Pacific Sockeye salmon, but you could use any wild Pacific salmon.  For the white fish, halibut is best, but you could use Pacific cod or Atlantic Pollack in its place (but then you can’t really call it Pacific Fish Chowder).

I’ve halved the recipe for home-use, but it doubles beautifully, so if you’re having a houseful one weekend make a double batch. Continue reading