Tarator – Chilled Cucumber Soup

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days.

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days. Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners. It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes… Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners.  It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes…

Personally I was avoiding this dish for quite some time now, the idea of a yogurt soup simply didn’t appeal to me very much, but then came that moment when visiting friends and I was cornered with no escape, the dish sat before me on the table coaxing me to try and surrounded by expectant faces waiting to see my reaction to eating it. To everyone’s joy, there was no screwed up face just wide eyes and that feeling of hmmm… more… now I’ve tried it, there is just no going back… it is definitely staying on the regular “go to” menu in our household.

One thing to have in mind, the longer you leave it in the fridge, the more intense the flavours…

The recipe below is for quite a large portion but we usually keep it in the fridge for up to a week, as the intensifying of the flavours works for us rather well, and it’s wonderful to be able to just open the fridge and grab a bowlful when you want a snack or a starter. If you think it’s going to make way too much for you or you just want to try and see if it’s for you simply halve the ingredients and prepare a smaller serving.

Ingredients:

  • 800ml Greek yogurt
  • 400ml filtered chilled water
  • 4 large garlic cloves; minced
  • 1kg cucumbers
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill; finely chopped
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp black pepper (optional)
  • Ice cubes – for serving (optional)

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days. Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners. It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes…

Method:

Wash the cucumbers (do not peel) then grate half of them; the remaining half chop into cubes. Place them in a large bowl and add the salt – let them rest like this for at least 5 minutes so they can start to absorb some of the salt.

In the meantime, mince the garlic and finely chop the dill and add to the cucumber mix.

Add the yogurt and water to your cucumbers, season with fresh cracked pepper and mix well.

Serve well chilled or even better over some ice and enjoy the cool sensation.

See, told you it was easy, now go and enjoy!

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days. Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners. It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes…

Roasted Vegetable & Chicken Soup

Warmer weather inevitably means lighter food so lately I find that I have been returning back to the basics and this has introduced some new soups into our menu. My roasted vegetables and chicken soup is fairly straight forward to prepare, it just takes a little bit more time but I hope you will give it a go.

Roasted Vegetable & Chicken SoupIngredients:

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 litres of water
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1.5kg of good quality tomatoes
  • 3 large bell peppers
  • 3 medium size onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 small leak
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • Large bunch of fresh coriander
  • 10 whole pepper corns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2tsp all spice
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Wash and peel (where needed) all veggies. Cut tomatoes in to halves or quarters (size depending), quarter the peppers and onions and then finely chop the basil and coriander.

In a large pot place the chicken thighs, carrots, parsnip and leak; all 2 litres of water (filtered if possible), whole pepper corns, bay leaves, all spice plus 1tsp of salt and set to medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil and leave cooking for 45 minutes.

In a large roasting tin place tomatoes, peppers and onions. Drizzle with olive oil, add ½ tsp of salt and ½ tsp of fresh ground black pepper, sprinkle with chopped basil and gently mix so all vegetables are well coated.

Roast in earlier preheated oven for 30 minutes, turning them over gently every 10 min.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

By this time your “stock” should be ready.

Remove it from the heat, using a sieve separate all solids from the liquid.

Return the saved liquid back into your cooking pot ready for adding the roasted veggies and chicken and place on a low heat to stay simmering.

Once your roasted vegetables and chicken are cool, cut them into desired chunk sizes and place into your cooking pot. (I normally don’t return any of the carrots, parsnips or leeks back into this soup, but I do have dogs which will eat everything left over with pleasure but if you wish you can chop them up too and add back into the final creation.)

Bring back to a boil, add coriander and cook for a further 15 minutes.

When the time is up slowly add the double cream stirring all the time and when done you are ready to eat!

Have fun and enjoy if you do decide to make it!

Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup

Coconut Carrot & Ginger Soup

Sweet meets spicy – sweet potato and carrots combined with chilli and ginger with back notes of coconut… a surprisingly wonderful combination!

Coconut Carrot & Ginger Soup Sweet meets spicy – sweet potato and carrots combined with chilli and ginger with back notes of coconut… a surprisingly wonderful combination! The idea behind this soup was to create something with a little bit more “bite” but without making it spicy with chilli based products. Don’t get me wrong I totally adore standard carrot soup and its sweetness but this time I was in the mood for something else. I decided to take my soup to the next lever by upping the amount of ginger… it worked… the soup it truly something and if you like ginger you really should give it a go. And remember ginger is a super healthy spice loaded with vitamins and minerals that have many powerful benefits for your body and brain.

The measurements below will make 4 large servings or 6 starter sized portions.

Ingredients:

  • 750g carrots
  • 350g sweet potato
  • 75g ginger
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (or to taste)
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of fresh cracked pepper
  • Coriander; for serving

Method:

Peel and roughly chop the carrots and sweet potato.

Peel and fine chop the garlic, onion and ginger.

In a heavy bottomed frying pan preheat the oil and once hot add the onions. Add a pinch of salt and some fresh cracked black pepper and fry until soft.

In the meantime as they cook grab yourself a large stock pot and prepare 700ml of stock. I’ve used two vegetable stock cubes from Knorr. Once ready pour it into your cooking pot and bring it to a gentle boil.

When your onions are almost ready add the ginger, garlic and a pinch of chilli flakes then fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes but no longer, as you don’t want any garlic to burn and therefor becoming bitter.

Remove from the heat and add into the cooking pot containing the stock.

Add all the carrots and sweet potato, pour in the coconut milk and bring it all to a gentle boil again.

Simmer on a low heat for 45-55 minutes.

Remove from the heat and either use a hand blender or let it cool a while and pop it into a proper worktop blender in order to cream it.

Once the texture is silky smooth and even with no visible lumps, you are ready to eat.

Coconut Carrot & Ginger Soup Sweet meets spicy – sweet potato and carrots combined with chilli and ginger with back notes of coconut… a surprisingly wonderful combination! Serve with a generous serving of coriander and ideally some toasted or fresh buttered rustic bread (well we didn’t have any at the time of creation but Mark thinks it would be an ideal addition to this soup).

If you decide to try it I am absolutely sure you will like it as much as we did.

Do you like carrot soup? If not then this next level soup will convert you 🙂

Do you have any other next level carrot soups you adore and want to share?

It is all about soup! GLORIOUS! SkinnyLicious Soup Range

Soup – a liquid dish, typically savoury and made by boiling meat, fish, or vegetables etc. in stock or water.

It sounds very uninspiring doesn’t it? When in fact soup can and does provide an amazing dining experience.

When I moved to the UK, I must admit I was a little disappointed by the lack of soups on the British menu. In Poland, soup is an indispensable part of every day dinner. I really missed my soup a lot at the beginning… then I slowly became used to the lack of soup on the dinner table, but in the last year or so I have turned back to my roots and the humble soup is now more often found present on our table, which my regular readers might have notice by the amount of soup recipes I am sharing with you 🙂

Just before we went for our holidays GLORIOUS! sent us some shopping vouchers to purchase and try their healthy SkinnyLicious Soup Range. I confess, I don’t buy readymade soups very often. The reason for it: they are usually boring and often bland in taste, at least in my opinion… but looking at the funky names of GLORIOUS! soups a seed was sown that grew and grew until in the end I really, really wanted to give them a try. Well, I am so very happy I did as they are far from boring, and no one can say they are bland. They are actually quite amazing dishes as soups go. Their flavour combination is very unusual and extremely tasty and at times very surprising.

It is all about soup! GLORIOUS! SkinnyLicious Soup RangeCurrently there are 16 different flavours in the GLORIOUS! Soup Range and half of this selection, being eight, are SkinnyLicious Soups, which boast that they are less than 2% fat and under 150 calories per portion. Perfect!

I had the pleasure of trying 4 of the SkinnyLicious Soups plus I purchased one “full fat” version especially for Mark, to stop him grumbling.

It is all about soup - GLORIOUS! SkinnyLicious Soup RangeAll the soups we tried, without exception, were divine. I honestly couldn’t make better myself. San Antonio Fiesta, which is a chilli sin carne with black eye beans, haricot beans, black turtle beans and red kidney beans was a little bit too spicy for my taste but Mark loved it.

From the selection of soups we tried the Thai Tuk Tuks & Tumeric was my favourite. A fragrant carrot soup fused with coconut, lime and lemongrass – totally delicious. “Please Sir, can I have some…”

So, if you ever fancy a soup for lunch or dinner, I can honestly recommend GLORIOUS! Soup Range and if you are counting calories try one of their SkinnyLicious Range, you will not be able to tell that these are diet friendly soups, I promise.

It is all about soup! - GLORIOUS! SkinnyLicious Soup Range - San Antonio FiestaThank you GLORIOUS! for the opportunity to try something new and discover your range. I have to admit I most likely would never have purchased them otherwise but now that I’ve tried, we will definitely be buying more on a regular basis.

Do you buy readymade soups?

What’s your favourite soup flavour?

Thai Coconut & Chicken Soup

Thai Coconut & Chicken SoupSummer months very often call for light meals. When temperatures are high we don’t really fancy a full blown three course meal for our dinner. This Thai soup is quick and easy to make and it will deliver a wonderful dining experience, I promise. The ingredients as stated below will feed 4 hungry adults or a 2+1 family for two days 🙂

Thai Coconut & Chicken Soup - IngredientsIngredients:

  • ~600ml chicken stock
  • 2 x tins of coconut milk
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • Fresh ginger; 5-7cm piece
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • Lemon grass; about 6 pieces
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 4tbsp fish sauce
  • 6tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 chilli peppers
  • Sea salt (if needed)
  • Fresh coriander for garnish

For chicken marinade:

  • Sea salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Lemon pepper (optional)
  • 2tbsp olive oil

Method:

Wash and cut your chicken into small cubes. Place in a bowl and add olive oil, sea salt, paprika and pepper(s) then mix well and put aside for a while (the longer you leave it, the better the taste will develop but you could cook it almost straight away if you choose to do so).

Chop the ginger and chilli pepper into smaller pieces. Squash the lemon grass to help release the oils and flavour but leave it in a large piece so it is easier to remove from the soup later. Wash and slice the mushrooms.

In a heavy bottom frying pan heat up 4tbsp of olive oil; once hot add ginger, lemon grass and chilli peppers and fry for 3 minutes to release the aroma. Add mushrooms and allow them to fry for a few minutes till softened.

Thai Coconut & Chicken Soup in the makingThai Coconut And Chicken Soup in the makingIn a second frying pan fry your chicken; it doesn’t have to be cooked through out as it will have time to cook inside the soup but I like to sear it to lock the juices in. Move the chicken into your mushroom pan and fry for addition 2-3 minutes.

In a large pot heat up the chicken stock, add coconut milk, fish sauce and lime juice; then add all remaining ingredients from your frying pan (being the chicken and mushroom with ginger, lemon grass and chilli peppers).

Cook on a low heat for at least 15 minutes.

Serve with fresh coriander and enjoy a wonderful flavour of the Far East 🙂

Thai Coconut And Chicken SoupTop tip: Be careful with your fish sauce. They are normally quite salty and the salt levels vary significantly from brand to brand, so if you are cooking it for the first time I would suggest adding only half of the amount stated in case it makes your soup too salty. I never found the need for additional salt but we all have different taste so who knows… maybe some of you will need it.

Do you like Thai food?

Yum

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