Teriyaki salmon bowl with udon and spinach.

This is a delectable and light dish packed with flavor. It’s very low calorie and you’re going to love it!

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Serves 4

8 cups dashi broth (You can buy this ready made)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 knob fresh ginger (about 2 inch piece)
13 oz dried udon noodles
4 small salmon fillets, skinned
1 bunch spinach, washed
4 green onions, sliced on the diagonal

Teriyaki sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp sugar

For the teriyaki sauce

Combine the dark soy, sake, mirin, oil and sugar in a small pot and heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
Heat the dashi in a second pot and add the soy and mirin. Peel the ginger, cut into cubes and crush in a garlic press to get 1 tbsp ginger juice. Add the juice to the broth and adjust the flavorings to taste.
Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes.Drain and rinse in cold water, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Brush the salmon with the teriyaki sauce and grill on a hot well oiled grill, or a heavy cast iron flat pan, leaving the inside lightly pink.
Bring the dashi broth to just below a boil and add the noodles to the broth for 30 seconds to heat through, then divide the noodles among 4 warmed bowls.
Dip the spinach leaves briefly into the broth to wilt them and distribute them among the bowls.
Ladle the hot broth into each bowl and top the noodles with the grilled salmon, broken into large chunks or left whole.
Scatter the green onions on top and serve with chopsticks and spoons.


Dreamy sweet onion bisque

I had this soup at the Capital Grill at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville recently and thought it was the best soup I had ever tasted. (If you read the ingredients you can see why!)They gave me the recipe and I was blown away by how easy it was to make. You MUST allow the 5 hours for the onions to sweat as that is the secret of the velvety sweetness the soup has. The toasted brie sandwich segment dropped it, plus the bacon and chives take it to even headier heights!

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4 to 8 servings.

10 large sweet Vidalia onions
1lb Plugra butter
1 qt heavy cream
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Smoked bacon, crumbled. Get really good quality bacon for this, chop it and saute until crispy
Freshly snipped chives
Brie grilled cheese sandwich

Peel and chop the onions into 1 inch chunks. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter until it becomes foamy and add the onions. Add about 1 tbsp of salt at this point and stir to combine all of the ingredients in the pot and continue to cook for 5 hours until they have completely softened and exuded the majority of their moisture.
Keep in mind that you really don’t want to get any color on the onions during this process so if you see it happening, lower the heat more.
After the 5 hours, add the cream and just heat it through gently.
When everything is hot and combined, you need to puree the soup in a good quality blender. If you want that really velvety texture, pass it through a fine mesh strainer or a mouli after blending it but this is an optional step.

Season with salt and pepper, pour into the bowls and garnish with some smoked bacon, chives and a triangle of Brie grilled cheese sandwich.

15 minute Coconut curry noodle soup

Want a bowl of heaven in 15 minutes?  This recipe is from a great blog called Woks of Life and has all my favorite ingredients rolled into one bowl of deliciousness.

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Makes 2 generous portions

You’ll need:

2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 heaped tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste (or 3 tbsp if you like it really spicy)
8 oz. boneless chicken breast or thighs, sliced
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 tbsp fish sauce
2/3 cup coconut milk
6 oz. dried rice vermicelli noodles (or the fine rice noodles)
A bag of beansprouts (about 10 oz)
1 lime, juiced
Sliced red onion, red chilies, cilantro, scallions to garnish

In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil, garlic, ginger, and Thai red curry paste. Fry for 5 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the chicken and cook for a couple minutes, just until the chicken turns opaque.
Add the chicken broth, water, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. At this point, taste the broth for salt and adjust seasoning accordingly (add salt if needed, or if it’s too salty, add a bit of water).

Put the dried rice vermicelli noodles in each of your large soup bowls, add a large handful of beansprouts, a good amount of roughly chopped cilantro and about 1/4 cup chopped scallions per bowl.
Pour the boiling soup over all this and add a good squeeze of lime juice to each bowl.Let sit for about 4 minutes until the noodles are cooked. Serve

(Alternatively, you can add the noodles to the boiling broth to cook them, and then divide among serving bowls).

Shrimp bisque

I adore shrimp bisque and this recipe is from Ina Garten. It’s creamy, with a great shrimp flavor, as you use the shells as added flavor. Serve with warm crusty bread.

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Serves 4 to 6Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 4.07.13 PM

1lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined, but keep all the shells
4 cups seafood stock  (for US cooks, this brand is available in markets)

3 tbsp good olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white and green parts (3 leeks)
1 tbsp chopped garlic (3 cloves)
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half and half
1/3 cup tomato paste (puree)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place the shrimp shells and seafood stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. add enough water to make 3 & 3/4 cups.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.
Add the cayenne pepper and shrimp and cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Cognac/brandy and cook for 1 minute more, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes longer.
Transfer the shrimp and leeks to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely pureed.
In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the half and half and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the pureed shrimp, the stock, tomato paste, salt and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling.
Season, to taste, and serve hot

Thai red-curry squash soup

I adore any food from South-East Asia and as I eat less and less meat, this recipe is a definite one for the repertoire.
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Serves 8

4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger, plus 1 cup slivered fresh ginger for garnish
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
3 lbs kabocha or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
5 cups water of chicken stock
Two 13.5 oz cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 keffir lime leaves or 1 tsp lime zest
1 large stalk of fresh lemongrass, smashed and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large scallions, thinly sliced
a few cilantro stalks for garnish (coriander)

In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and sliced ginger and cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 7 minutes.
Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the squash and water/stock and bring to the boil.Cover partially and simmer over low heat until soft, 25 minutes. Add the coconut milk, broken up lime leaves and lemongrass, cover partially and simmer for 30 minutes longer. Discard the lime leaves and lemongrass.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender; add it to a clean pot. Stir in the sugar and lime juice and season with salt.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the 1 cup of slivered ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the ginger to paper towels to drain.

Reheat the soup; ladle it into the bowls. Garnish with the fried ginger, scallions and a few cilantro leaves (coriander) and serve

Quick and easy spicy prawn soup

We love our soups and even eat them through the summer months, sometimes replacing main courses with them, if they are substantial enough.
This is a recipe from the wonderful BBC Good Food website, and I altered it a little to suit our taste buds. It is very light and full of flavor.


Spicy prawn soup
Serves 4
1 tbsp sunflower oil
10 oz bag crunchy stir-fry vegetables
6 scallions, chopped on the diagonal, green and white parts
6 oz shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 tbsp Thai green (or yellow) curry paste . You may want to start with 1 tbsp if you’re not too much into spicy food.
15 oz can reduced fat coconut milk
7 fl oz vegetable or fish stock
11 oz medium straight-to-wok noodles
8 oz bag large raw prawns, shelled and de-veined
A handful of roughly chopped cilantro

Heat a wok, add the oil then stir-fry the vegetables, scallions and mushrooms for 3 – 4 minutes.
Take them all out and set them aside, then tip the curry paste into the pan and fry gently for 1 minutes.
Pour in the coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil, drop in the noodles and prawns, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes until the prawns are cooked through.
Stir in the vegetables, add the chopped cilantro and serve. Easy isn’t it?

Chilled spicy cucumber, avocado and coconut milk soup

Give me anything curried and I’ll walk miles for it!  I love this because there is no cooking and it tastes as if you’ve been slaving for hours in the kitchen. You can vary the garnishes.


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Two 12-ounce cucumbers—peeled, seeded and chopped
2 Hass avocados, coarsely chopped ( try just one to start with as it may be too thick with 2)
2 teaspoons Thai green or yellow curry paste (Try less to start with and taste it)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
One 13-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
3 ½ cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (use lemon if you cannot find limes)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, for garnish
10 cilantro sprigs, for garnish

In a food processor, puree the cucumbers until smooth. Add the avocados, curry paste, sugar, lime zest and chili.
Process until blended. Add 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth, the coconut milk and lime juice and process until smooth. Transfer the soup to a large bowl and season with salt. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, toast the coconut over low heat, stirring a few times, until lightly browned and crisp, 3 minutes. Let cool.
Ladle the soup into small bowls or cups, garnish with the toasted coconut flakes and cilantro sprigs and serve.