Soup for dinner! sBlend-It!

Finally the cold weather has reached Charleston, SC. Well let’s say the temperatures dropped below 60 – which makes almost everybody in the Lowcountry frantically looking for their hats, gloves, scarves and UGG Boots…

This is the time where we drink hot apple cider, enjoy fresh baked cookies and the food habits switch from salad to soup.. Soup is such a blessing on a cold and wet day – it comforts us and at the same time keeps our hands warm…I love serving soup in mugs around a dinnertime fire and the children love it too..  Having your dinner in front of a crackling fire wrapped up in blankets on the couch or in the backyard is a treat you will want to experience more often! It is also a certain way how to get my kids to eat veggies.. Soups are versatile, healthy, tasty and they leave us so much room to experiment with spices, toppings and textures.

Let’s say this post convinces you to jump onto the soup train – a must have is an Immersion Blender. I bought mine off amazon – It is reasonably priced, easy to use, clean and store and it comes with a blending mug –

This specific blenders shaft, blade and blender guard are made out of stainless steel so be careful if you use it on nonstick cookware – in this case I would recommend blending the soup in a high bowl or in the blending mug that comes with the blender..

It is also true that lot’s of soups do not need to be blended, but for the purpose of mug serving it is less messy to do so..

Roasted Vegetable Soup

feeds 8 – Prep time: 30min – Cook time: 60min

Olive oil  (for frying and drizzling)

1 small red or yellow Onion

2 carrots

1 Parsnip

1 Cauliflower

1 Tbsp garlic powder (for cauliflower)

1 Tsp salt (for cauliflower)

5  stems of parsley (whole)

2 juniper berries

2 cups vegetable broth

4 cups of water

3 sprigs of thyme

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar

Garnish: Prosciutto and thyme

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Cut the stem out of the cauliflower, divide the florets into same sizes and put them onto a baking sheet – drizzle with olive oil, salt and garlic powder – toss and bake for 30 – 40 min or until the cauliflower is evenly browned and has darker tips..

In a large pot heat up 2 Tablespoons of olive oil – cut the carrots, parsnip and onion in small cubes and fry them in the oil for about 10 minutes to get a nice and roasty flavor.

Add 2 cups of broth and 2 cups of water, the crushed juniper berries and the stems of parsley – cover and cook until soft (10 min) – add the cauliflower, add 2 more cups of water and the thyme sprigs – bring to a boil and cook covered for 10 more minutes so the flavors can mix well – when done cooking remove the parsley stems and thyme sprigs

Blend with an Immersion blender – add 1 Tbsp of Balsamic vinegar and the cream – taste!

Does it need salt? Pepper? More Thyme? Maybe Chili flakes?

Play around with it…. see what’s left in the bottom drawers of your fridge.. maybe you have some pumpkin from yesterdays dinner?  Leeks or eggplant that you can roast with the cauliflower? Add a potato to get a thicker consistency or more water or stock to get a thinner soup?  Add some Curry to get a middle eastern flavor? Fresh coriander, chili and lemon to make it taste more asiatic? You know what your family likes.. – you can always divide the soup into batches to experiment with it to make sure you will end up with something they will like and eat. Or plan a soup tasting dinner with a bunch of different toppings to choose from – your family will for sure get a kick out of being a judge in a tasting and you may be surprised with their answers!

Possible Toppings:

Prosciutto and Thyme, Sour Cream and Thyme, sundried Tomatoes, Garlic breadcrumbs, Bacon, Sour Cream and Paprika, Pumpkin seed oil, roasted Nuts (Pine, Pecan, walnut,..), Smoked Salmon, Chili flakes, ..


I like Pig Butts and I cannot lie..


I admit it took me much longer for my second blog post than I anticipated… Mostly because I could not decide which recipe I would like to post.

After doing far too much thinking i realized that all my favorites will end up on this blog at one point anyway, so why stress about it? So true…

So here it is the final decision: My Indonesian Pork!

I had this dish when I went to Pulau Bintan – a beautiful Indonesian island just off the coast from Singapore and it was amazing! After being in Singapore many times I concocted a trip to Bintan with a co worker and it was special in every way… Not only the beautiful white beaches and the sparse beach front cabana that builds character were memorable – no, also the army of sand flees and the hours we spent nursing our Boo Boos while enjoying the most delicious food – and although it was simple – just rice and pork – we were totally satisfied.

Years later I found the recipe in an Asian cookbook by Jody Vassallo and started to experience with it. My first try came out far to spicy so I substituted a few items to make it just spicy enough for my taste.. When I cooked it the first time for my husband and kids I was surprised how much they loved it and that they actually wanted more!

Indonesian Pork

feeds 6 – Prep time: 30 min – Cook time: 15 min

1.5 Pounds of Pork Tenderloin

3 Tbsp flour

1 Tbsp Soysauce

1 tsp ground Ginger

some Oil for the Wok or Skillet – I use  Sunflower or Avocado Oil

1 yellow Onion

3 cloves of garlic

2 inches of fresh ginger (take only 1 inch if you like it less spicy)

1 Tbsp of Black Bean Garlic Sauce

1/2 tsp Chili powder (optional)

1/2 cup of water

2 Tbsp Lemon juice

Start with cutting the pork into bite size pieces – that way you can eat it with only one utensil (especially a win with kids)

Put the pork in a bowl and add the flour, soysauce and the ground ginger – marinate for 30 min

Meanwhile cut the onion, garlic and ginger into very small pieces

When the meat is done marinating heat the oil in a wok or a large skillet and cook the pork until you don’t see any raw spots. Make sure the heat is all the way up and that you keep stirring to get the meat evenly cooked…

When the pork is cooked add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook on lower heat for 2 min

Add the Black Bean Sauce, the Chili Powder (which is optional – I do still add it even if I serve it to my children) and the water and let it all cook on low heat for approximately 5 min

The pork will get a thick stew like consistency and when it’s ready make sure that you add the lemon juice after you have taken the wok or skillet of the heat

I usually serve the pork with plain white or brown rice and a few simple undressed slices of cucumber and tomato to add a healthy veggie to our dinner. Seasoned rice or dressing for the salad would overwhelm the intense taste of this beloved pork dish and are simply not necessary!

Selamat makan – Enjoy your meal

First class to your kitchen, please!

Aren’t we all wondering what is cooking in the pots all over this world?

And how they make it happen that everything is SO tasty and wonderful with often minimal equipment?  (i am just saying soup kitchen in Vietnam? street crepes in France? a massive indian feast served straight from grandmas woodfire stove? )

I want to take you on a journey that will show you how to cook different cuisines in your own kitchen with very little experience – I will be cautious of your budget and time and will also keep in mind to whom you may cater for.

This Idea is ‘cooking’ in my head for a while – actually since I went to Barnes and Noble and browsed through a few different cookbooks. I wanted them all!! But only for this 3 or 5 recipes to try and then have them sit on the shelf and all that for $35 a book.

Honestly – I can’t afford that! Or maybe I could, but I could not explain to my Husband why I just spent $150 on 5 Cookbooks…

All I was thinking was – there has to be another way to have all the easy favorites in one book or blog – and HERE WE ARE!!

Soon this will be your favorite site to use when you have dinner parties, candlelight dinners with your Hubby, family night dinner with the children, dinner with the unadventurous inlaws or parents or just simply treating yourself to some fantastic and exotic but still easy to make dishes! All I ask you is: Have an open mind and an open Pallet!!

More coming soon – it’s still in the oven 😉