Vegetable Barley Soup

An easy and delicious recipe for Pearl Barley Soup with step-by-step photos. It is a popular soup in the Swiss alps, called Gerstensuppe in German. The pearl barley thickens the soup as it cooks, making the soup quite substantial and comforting.

vegetable barley soup in plate with blue pattern

A Weekend in Kandersteg

A trip to the Swiss mountains usually guarantees good, hearty, winter fare. After a day of heavy duty winter sports, the body is likely to crave something substantial, something loaded with calories.

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Chicken Curry Puffs

A simple recipe for baked Chicken Curry Puffs.

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A visit to most Chinese restaurants will reveal curry puffs on the appetiser menu and I am always a sucker for anything wrapped in pastry. I could sometimes quite happily forego the main dish and just sit down to a huge serving of curry puffs, but afraid of any negative reaction this could elicit in public, I’ve never quite gone that far. So making curry puffs at home, and eating them by the plateful in private, is the far better and more ladylike option.

Chinese curry puffs can be wrapped in a variety of different pastries, such as filo pastry, wonton wrappers, spring roll wrappers or puff pastry. The restaurants typically serve them deep-fried, but baking them is also an option, especially if you are using puff pastry.

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Coq au Vin Skewers

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It was never really my intention to cook my way through Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen, but so rarely has a cookbook resonated with me so much that I have found myself trying a new recipe from this book every few days since I first purchased it. If only I had this level of enthusiasm for all of my cookbooks!

With the weather warming up recently in Zurich, I was curious to try the Coq au Vin Skewers so that we would have an excuse to fire up the barbeque for the first time this year. But unlike most casual barbeque recipes, and as with most of Rachel Khoo’s recipes so far, this dish required quite a bit of advance preparation. Though, this is perhaps more a feature of French cooking than Rachel Khoo’s cooking style in itself.

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Cream of Tomato & Potato Soup

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In case you were wondering what the soup is which is photographed with the Rustic Bacon & Cheddar Bread, it is the Cream of Tomato & Potato Soup from French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David.

Long before cooking became a passionate hobby and was more of a matter of survival for me, I heavily relied on cookbooks to put together really basic and simple meals like … vegetable soups. Yes, for something which merely required a few ingredients to be cooked together with some stock and then thrown in the blender, I needed careful instruction on how to do exactly that. And who else to turn to for motherly advice in the kitchen, when my own mother was absent, than Elizabeth David.

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Pot-au-feu and Pho

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Pot-au-feu literally translates into English as “pot on the fire”. It is a classic French beef stew, a peasant dish at heart. Traditionally made from beef bones and stewing beef, the broth is typically served as a clear soup, preceding the main dish of sliced beef with vegetables which have been cooked in the broth. It is honest and hearty French fare. Although the dish may take several hours to cook, you are not required to do much during this time, other than to skim the surface of the soup and to check that the meat is continually submerged. This makes it an ideal dish to make when you have time to potter about the kitchen and can look forward to a simple, yet satisfying, supper.

Recipes abound for pot-au-feu and they are all variations of the same blue-print. The beef bones are necessary to add richness and depth to the soup, and oxtails are perfect for this type of cooking, in part because you can also eat the tender and sweet meat later. But the stewing beef is what is traditionally served at the table, so you should find a cut which needs a few hours of cooking time, such as beef brisket or beef shank. In Switzerland, the beef is often labelled “Pot-au-feu”, making it clear what the cut is intended for. But “Bouilli de boeuf maigre” is also a good choice. In Australia, I recall buying cuts of meat simply labelled “soup beef” which would be perfect here. You could also use beef cheeks, which are wonderfully tender and flavoursome upon cooking, though they take longer to cook and you might need to order these from your butcher.

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Spicy Tuna Fish Cakes with Coriander and Chillies

These Spicy Tuna Fish Cakes are fragrant with Asian flavours, including coriander (cilantro), ginger and chillies. Easy to make and a great way of using up leftover mashed potatoes.

spicy tuna fish cakes on a plate with coriander, wedge of lime and bowl of salt on the side

Further to my previous post, we still had another 1 kg of potatoes to get through, and as we are going away next week, I had to come up with a way to use those potatoes. And then, by chance, Carrie from The Patterned Plate posted her delicious recipe for Spicy Tuna Fish Cakes (or, as they are called in her Indian culture, cutlets). I was instantly sold!

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