Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cold comforts

Home-made stock and two simple, yet tasty soups that will comfort the coldest of nights

Cold comforts

So I haven’t cooked anything worth posting lately, mostly because I don’t really get into summer food. With the cooler weather and autumn definitely here, it’s time to start cooking my favourite foods – winter comfort food.

The ultimate comfort food: chicken noodle soup
With liquid stock non-existent in Switzerland, I used last Sunday’s cold weather as a good excuse to stay indoors and make some, plus that quintessential winter comfort food, chicken noodle soup. I’ve used this Donna Hay recipe a few times and I love it; it’s so easy to make by just throwing in a whole uncooked chicken, carrots, celery, garlic, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns and water. You end up with clean, home-made chicken stock, poached chicken for sandwiches, and chicken noodle soup.

The chicken soup is simple, delicious, wholesome and, of course, comforting. I use my favourite soup pasta, ditali (which I’ve discovered, with delight, that I can buy at my local supermarket), and simply add some of the poached chicken, stock, carrots, celery and season with salt and pepper. It tastes even better once it’s been frozen and reheated for lunch at work or a quick dinner at home.

Spicy barley and lentil soup will clear out
the stuffiest of noses
With Emperor D battling the flu during the week, I decided he needed something that is comforting but has a bit of a kick to clear out his stuffy head and nasal passages. One of his favourites is spicy barley and lentil soup, which I found in an issue of Men's Health magazine, but actually comes from The Low GI Handbook. Finely diced onion gently fried with spices, including some chilli, then adding water, a couple of cups of chicken or vegetable stock, some tinned tomatoes, pearl barley and red lentils and voila – a tasty, hearty soup with a decent enough kick  to knock out the worst colds and flus.

The great thing is I now have a freezer full of soup and stock for lunch and dinner for the next two weeks – until it’s time to make some more!