Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ginseng Chicken Soup

Winter is the most 'Yin' time of the year. Yin refers to cold, as opposed to Yang (warm). As a Yin constitution, winter is the worst time for me. I get chilblains (cold feet) and I am unfortunately down with a cold and cough. This is a wonderful winter remedy that I cook when I'm unwell.

1 chicken thigh, bones intact. Remove most of the chicken skin, except skin on the drumstick
4 thick slices of ginger
Ginseng soup pack (bought from Asian grocer) Mine has panax ginseng, chinese yam, lycium and codonopsis. Avoid ginseng packs that come with a msg flavoured cloth bag and those that have astragalus in it. Astragalus is to be avoided in acute colds/sickness.
2.5-3 litres of filtered water
1 tbsp tamari sauce
Dash of pepper
Dried rice vermicelli (enough for 1)

To cook:
Bring water to boil in a huge pot. Wash the herbs (dried herbs and fresh ginger slices) thoroughly and place into boiling water. Turn stove fire to medium and cook for 1 hour. Place the chicken thigh in the pot and cook for another 2 hours. Add tamari and pepper. Check the pot to make sure there is enough water. Top water when necessary. Turn off the stove fire once cooking is done..

To cook the rice vermicelli, scoop enough soup to cook it in a separate, smaller pot. Bring soup to boil and add rice vermicelli. Cook for 10 mins. Turn off the stove fire. I cook the rice noodles separately as they tend to absorb the soup quickly.

To serve:
Scoop chicken thigh in a huge bowl. Consume with noodles in a separate bowl.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fennel, leek and potato soup

 Fantastic fennel. I'm a newbie to fennel and I enjoy experimenting on different foods. I already knew what to do with the fennel bulb, however I wasn't sure what to do with the fennel fronds.

I experimented on using fennel fronds with different foods, on beef stews, soups and fish. I found that the leaves had an anise-like flavour which suits seasoning fish and vegetable soups.

Storage was tricky. It did not have a long shelf life compared to the bulbs. I separated the leaves and wrapped them with newspaper and it kept in the fridge for a good 2 weeks. 

Seasoning fish with freshly chopped fennel fronds

Fennel, leek and potato soup

Recipe for Fennel, leek and potato soup
Serves 4-5

4 medium organic potatoes, chopped to cubes
1 large organic leek, washed and sliced thin (white part only, green leaves can be used in a beef stew)
2 tiny bulbs of fennel, sliced thin
1 white onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp butter
2 litres filtered water
200mls coconut milk
1 pinch pepper
1 pinch sea salt
2 tbsp Massel chicken stock powder
Some fennel fronds, chop fine

In a huge pot, heat and add the butter. Toss in the onion, fennel and leek. Allow the vegetables to wilt slightly for 5-6mins on medium heat. Stir occasionally. Add the water, stock powder, potatoes, pepper and salt. Bring to boil for 15-20 mins. Simmer for 10 mins. Stir in the coconut milk.Turn off the stove fire.

Pour 1/4 the soup into a blender, blend at high speed. Pour soup into bowls and season with pepper and fennel fronds. Repeat the blending process for the rest of the soup. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Parsnip chips

 The humble parsnip is making its comeback, a welcome presence in my Ceres organic fruit and vegetable box. The first time when I encountered parsnips, I tried cooking them in a stew - which was not a proper way to celebrate the unique flavor of parsnips. They have a sweet, nutty taste and gives off a lemon-like aroma. I have come up with a recipe that brings out the sweetness of parsnips.
1 huge parnsip, skin peeled
1 tsp paprika
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 pinch of salt and pepper
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
1 pinch each of dried parsley flakes and thyme
1 ripe avocado
1 clove garlic, skin peeled
Juice of 1/4 a lemon

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees.
Cut the parsnip into slices, like chips.
Heat the pan, melt all the butter in the pan. Toss in the parsnips. Let the parsnips brown on both sides for 6 mins.

On a baking tray, line it with baking paper. Place all the parsnips in the middle of the baking tray. Add salt, pepper, tamari sauce, paprika and dried herbs. Mix everything evenly with a spoon.

Place baking tray into the oven to bake for 20 mins.

Quick, simple gluacamole:
 Cut open a ripe avocado. Remove the seed. Scoop out flesh with a spoon into a blender. Add lemon juice and a dash of filtered water. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and 1 clove garlic. Blend in high speed. Dish the gluacamole on a plate and sprinkle some paprika powder on top.

Once chips are done, take them out the oven and place on your plate. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Oestrogen clearing soup

What is oestrogen? Oestrogen is responsible for feminisation of the skeleton, female pattern body fat, bone health and cardiovascular health. In excess, it is linked to certain female reproductive conditions such as endometriosis and premenstrual syndrome with anxiety dominance (PMS-A). Symptoms of PMS A include irritability, anxiety and feeling more emotional during/before your menstrual cycle.

Oestrogen excess can be due to poor dietary factors (high sugar, inflammatory diets), stress, lifestyle, etc. Circulating oestrogens require the liver to process and excrete them through phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification pathways.

Cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) are high in indole 3 carbinol - useful in aiding the liver in detoxification of excess oestrogens.

When preparing cruciferous vegetables, it is important to choose organic produce. This is because the surface area of broccoli and cauliflower absorb pesticides readily. If it is not possible to purchase organic produce, soak your broccoli and cauliflower with in your plugged sink with 1 part white vinegar and 4 parts water for 5-10mins. Give it good wash under running water.

Oestrogen clearing soup, serves 2-3


1 organic cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces 
1 organic broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 organic carrot, sliced with skin on (nutrients are in the skin too. Remove skin if carrot is non organic)
1 litre - 1 and 1/2 litres of filtered water
A sprinkle of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Massel 'chicken' stock powder / 1 Massel stock cube
2 tablespoons tamari sauce
Fennel fronds/fresh dill 
2 tablespoons organic cold pressed flaxseed oil

In a pot, bring water to boil and place the vegetables, tamari, salt and pepper. Boil for 10 mins and bring fire to a low to simmer for another 5-10 mins. Gently stir the soup. You're done. Scoop half the soup into a blender and blend high. Pour the soup into 1-2 bowls. On your chopping board, there would be spare raw cauliflower florets. Sprinkle some on top of the soup. Chop up fresh fennel fronds (anise like flavour) or dill and sprinkle on top. Finally, add 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil.

Blend the other half of the soup in the blender. Serve and top with ingredients as mentioned. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Room temperature Smoothies

As we move towards Winter in Australia - the idea of a cold smoothie loses its appeal. Room temperature smoothies are easier to consume, especially when you are a cold constitution. I got up from a cold winter night of 9 degrees. I wanted a smoothie in the morning and I decided to blog about how to make room temperature smoothies.

Use fruit in season that ripens slowly at room temperature. Examples include kiwi, avocado and bananas.
Avoid the use of cold liquids e.g. chilled soy/rice milk.
Use freshly grated ginger/juiced ginger to add a heat in your smoothies.
Stick to room temperature filtered water.

Be creative, experiment on different fruits and ingredients.

Room temperature Avocado & Honey smoothie with goji berries

1 ripe organic avocado (use your thumb to press on the skin, it should sink in when it's ripe)
3 tsp raw honey
250-300ml filtered water
5-6 dried goji berries
1 tbsp rolled oats

Cut open the avocado, remove the seed. Use a spoon to scoop the avocado into the blender. Add honey and water. Blend at high speed.

In an empty glass, add 1 tbsp of rolled oats at the bottom. You can also add fresh fruit instead, e.g. banana/freshly cut apple slices. Pour avocado smoothie. Sprinkle goji berries on top. Consume.