Thursday, April 8, 2010

Swiss Brown Mushroom and Barley Soup

I was going through my recipe book collection on the weekend for soups specifically hearty vegetarian ones and came across this in the Australian Women's Weekly Low Fat Recipe Book. I have modified it slightly for my taste and can attest that it is a very simple, healthy and nutritious meal which is perfect since the weather is starting to turn just a little tat cooler.

The meal was so delicious that I had forgotten take any photographic evidence! Therefore, please excuse me this time and hope that you will try it some day.

Here's what you need:

Ingredients serves 4

200g Swiss Brown Mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 carrots, sliced into small cubes
2 celery sticks, sliced into small cubes
1 brown onion, sliced finely

100g pearl barley
4 cups (1 litre) of Chicken Stock** - temperature hot
4 cups (1 litre) of extra water - temperature hot
2 tbsps soy sauce

2 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. In a deep soup pot over medium heat - add mushrooms, garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, soy sauce and a little water. Cook till mushrooms are semi-soft. Remove from pot and set it aside.

2. In the same deep soup pot over medium heat - add onion, carrots, celery and 1 tbsp olive oil. Brown the vegetables for 5 minutes and add the cooked mushrooms back in the pot.

3. Add Chicken stock, barley and extra water into the pot. Cook on high and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Serve it on its own or with crushy bread on the side.

** I use Massel for all my stocks (chicken, beef, vegetables) because it is tasty, free of MSG and all the stocks are made from vegetables. Yes, even the meat stock powders are made from vegetables. Therefore, this recipe is great for vegetarians too! If you are using Massel brand stock for this recipe, use 4 tbsps of stock powder and you won't need to add any salt to this soup / meal.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

There's a change in the air

Finally, the cooler mornings have started to descend upon us here in Brisbane. I love crisp mornings like this and am thrilled that it will stay till September, at the very least. Crisp mornings are best enjoyed in bed if you are a reluctant riser like me or with a nice cuppa tea under the outdoor patio while sniffing the fresh air and watching the lorikeets feast on native plants.

The other thing I love to do on mornings like this is to check out my kitchen garden (of course!). Come along and join me won't you?

The flourishing rows of yellow and orange Marigolds have been great deterents of pests to my garden.

Check out the Okra or otherwise known as 'Ladies' Fingers' - I have never seen them this huge in the stores!

Check out the Beetroot that's peeking through the earth! It has taken quite awhile for it to greet me. I wonder how long I can keep it in there...perhaps, I should find out?!

This is a little Truss Tomato still in its infancy. As we hardly get frost here, let's all hope they continue to grow through the cooler months so that I can enjoy plucking them instead of paying a small fortune for them at the stores!

Check them out! These marigolds are so bright! Don't they just make you smile?

Yes, that's parsley grown between each marigold plant. It's flourishing very well without much t.l.c. Grow some in your garden or in a pot - they are full of vitamin C!

Here's a cucumber. Yes, I am not kidding you. This is cucumber grown naturally without any human interference. Did I tell you that my Kitchen Garden is an organic one? Yes, no pesticides or insecticides have been used, ever!

Yes this is is yet another eggplant. It's by far my most productive produce, ever!

I was at home on this particularly day and had heaps on my mind when I heard a soft knock on my door. God sent me  two little angels on this day to cheer me up!

They are my two all-time favourite little girls from next door. Absolute joy to be around - incredibly well behaved, loving and oh so cheeky. If I am ever bless to be a mum, I want to have children like them!

Oh and their parents manage a highly successful restaurant in Brisbane call "Blue Smoke". If you are a carnivore like me and crave for authentic American Smoke BBQ ribs and other delectables.

Blue Smoke BBQ
9/85 Merthyr Road, New Farm QLD 4005
Ph (07) 3358 1922

p.s.  They did not pay me to mention this at all.