Quick And Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe

Brought up on my mothers home cooked traditional meals, I am no stranger to soup… honestly, I can ramble a good 20 odd straight off the top of my head at any given time. However, it seems to me there are a lot of people around me these days who don’t know how to make soup, or hold of a lot of misconceptions about soup. Despite what people may think soup doesn’t have to be labourious or take hours to make, instead, soups can be one of the simplest, easiest, heartiest things you can make.

Vegetable Soup

Bonuses

  • Great for bulk cooking
  • Freezes well
  • One-pot cooking
  • Versatile
  • Healthy
  • Quick and easy *ready in approx 15 minutes

Ingredients (per serve)

  • 200 grams of cauliflower (approx. 1/3 of a large cauliflower or packed 2 cups)
  • 50 grams (about ½ a medium) carrot
  • 50 grams of frozen peas
  • 50 grams red capsicum/bell pepper
  • ½ medium tomato
  • ¼ medium onion
  • 500ml vegetable or chicken stock – or water with a stock cube added
  • Drizzle of oil – for cooking
  • Other recommended ingredients that can be included include – green beans and/or corn; replacing a portion of stock with canned/pureed tomato for a richer soup; and/or adding shredded chicken, beans or red lentils (which will require additional liquid) for a protein boost.

Herbs and Spices *Please adapt the spices to your taste preferences. You can simply double the quantity of spices/herbs if you like them.

  • ¼ teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder – you can use fresh garlic if you prefer
  • ½ teaspoon of Italian herbs – I used oregano, basil, thyme and marjoram
    *You can also use herbs like dill, rosemary or fennel to suit your taste preferences
  • ¼ pepper
  • Pinch of salt – if your stock is salty you might not need this
  • Other recommended spices/herbs that can be included include – cumin, turmeric, chili and/or cayenne or bay leaf, dill, rosemary and/or fennel.

Equipment

  • 1 small pot with a lid – if you’re only making a single serve. If you don’t have a lid, you may need to use more stock/water
  • Kitchen knife
  • Chopping board
  • Blender – I used a handheld blender
  • Spoon
  • Knife or fork

Nutrition

  • 200g or cauliflower is approx 50 calories
    A great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6.
  • 50g of carrot is approximately 20 calories
    A great source of vitamin A
  • 50 grams of peas approx 30 calories
    A good source of vitamin C, B1, K, Manganese and fibre.
  • 50 grams red capsicum/bell pepper approx 30 calories
    A great source of vitamin C as well as B6 and A
  • ½ medium tomato approx 10 calories
    A good source of vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum, and vitamin K
  • ¼ medium onion approx 10 calories
    A good source in vitamin C, was well as dietary fiber, and folic acid
  • The nutritional content and health benefits of the remaining ingredients including stock, herbs and spices will depend on the type you use.
    However, according to my research, 500mls of the average supermarket stock will set you back approx 40 calories.

Process

  1. Chop cauliflower, capsicum, onion and carrot roughly. The size of your cutting will determine the cooking time, the smaller the quicker it will cook so I recommend small florets for the cauliflower, 1.5cm cubes for the carrot and ½ cm strips for the capsicum and onion.
    Note: To speed up the process, I cut my onions, and whilst sautéing them I cut the rest of my vegetables.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, herbs and spices and sauté until onions are transparent, approx 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add stock. When the liquid boils, add the carrot and cauliflower. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the capsicum and tomato. Cook until the carrot and cauliflower is tender. This should take approx another 3-5 minutes depending on how small you cut your vegetables.
    Note: To test of vegetables are tender, simply taste a vegetable or place a sharp knife on a vegetable, and applying very minimal pressure, the knife should enter the vegetable with little give. If the knife meets resistance in the middle of the vegetable, more so than the outer portion of the vegetable it is not quite ready.
  4. Once tender. Turn off heat, and add peas.
  5. Vegetable SoupBlend soup to desired consistency. I use a handheld blender and simply give it a quick 5-10 second buzz.
    Note: Be careful of any splash back if you are blending the soup whilst it is still hot.
  6. Serve immediate, or let cool and pack away in the fridge for tomorrows lunch, or freeze for an evening you can’t be bothered cooking.
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The Witch’s Cauldron, Subiaco

IMG_20140516_191706Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of eating at the Witch’s Cauldron. I still remember the first time I tasted their Garlic prawns with garlic and chilli ($26.80 entrée). They were so plump, juicy and full of flavour I remember using the bread to soak up every last bit of butter in the dish, and I’ve been ordering it since. On this occasion, I was attending a work dinner on a Friday night.

Service:
Upon entering, friendly staff members were waiting to take me to my seat and the pleasant service continued throughout the evening with prompt waitresses to take orders, food coming out reasonably quickly and wine and water being topped up regularly.

Food: The food hasn’t changed much in 40 years, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s always been consistent whilst I’ve been going there, and according to my work colleagues – who have in fact been eating at the Witch’s Cauldron since it opened- it’s been constantly good since they’ve been visiting too.

IMG_20140516_195638On the table to share we had  garlic bread $5.80, fresh bread with butter or virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar ($4.80), and for mains a garden salad with mixed greens, avocado, snow peas, asparagus, nuts & vinaigrette ($14.50).

I ordered the garlic prawns with garlic and chilli ($26.80) as an entree and the chicken filled with mushroom duxelle, on risotto & a port jus for mains ($32.90). The garlic prawns were just how I remembered them, juicy, buttery, and so tasty that I used handfuls of bread from the table to soak up every last bit of sauce left in the dish. The mains followed suit with the juiciest, most tender chicken breast I’d had in a long time.

IMAG2893My colleagues ordered a variety of dishes including black angus steaks ($44.00-$46.60), duck breast with marmalade glaze & bok choy served with pilaf rice ($42.10) and gnocchi with beef, basil & Persian feta ($30.00). I would say it’s safe to assume everyone enjoyed their dishes as much as I did as silence fell upon our normally chatty group as we tucked into our mains.

IMG_20140516_204124The portions at the Witch’s Cauldron are medium, with quality definitely valued over quantity here. After a fabulous meal I couldn’t help but polish my meal off with an affogato, whilst others at the table had a variety of coffees.  I don’t know if the affogato is even on the menu as I ordered it off the top of my head, but it came out looking gorgeous. It was served in a martini glass with an extra shot of coffee on the side, and tasted sensational, as a good coffee should.

Price: With entrees ranging from $3.60 for an oyster, $17.70 for soup of the day and going up to $46.60 for the Black Angus peppered fillet (250g) and $48.80 for garlic prawns with steamed rice mains. The Witch’s Cauldron is not the kind of place you go to gorge yourself on large quantities of cheap pasta or pizza. In my opinion, you get what you pay for here, quality food at a price that suits.

Atmosphere: The Witch’s Cauldron has many section of the restaurant that can be enjoyed. From booths to large tables, the restaurant has a front, back and upstairs area that can be enjoyed depending on the occasion. The restaurant is clean, and the atmosphere –though differing in various parts of the restaurant- seems to have a slight classic, nostalgic feeling about it. The best way to explain it would be to say it’s nice, but not so nice that it could be seen as luxurious.

Summary: Everyone I know seems to have nostalgic memories of the Witch’s Cauldron and I’m not surprised. Every time I’ve gone I’ve had nothing but good service, good food and a good time. I’d go as far as to say that in my opinion, the Witch’s Cauldron may be the most consistently good restaurant in Perth. The Witch’s is nice, without being luxurious. The food is good and the prices are reasonable, meaning that just about anyone can have the pleasure of coming by to enjoy the Witch’s offerings. I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking to take your parents out for a nice family dinner or if you’re looking for a place last minute place to entertain business clients.

The Witch's Cauldron on Urbanspoon

Sebastian’s Italian Cafe, East Victoria Park

Out to dinner on a Thursday night with the boyfriends family, and dare I say I wished they’d picked somewhere else.

Food: The best way to explain Sebastian’s menu is simple, common, non-offensive westernised Italian food. The kind of food children, or very plain eaters might enjoy. Everyone at the table ordered a different dish, pastas, crepes, pizzas, chicken and all if it had one thing in common… A taste of blandness and the accompanying look of disappointment on everyone’s face. The serving sizes were good, but the food was so uninspired that you didn’t really want to finish it.

I ordered the chicken with an avocado cream sauce and salad. When it came out a massive plate with 3 palm sized chicken breast pieces drowning in a thick cream sauce and a small garden salad with a punchy vinaigrette on the side was popped down in-front of me. The chicken was juicy but grilled, meaning the sauce the chicken was drowning in was going to have to carry the fish. Unfortunately, the only flavour in the sauce was from the pepper I had a server freshly grind for me from their giant novelty pepper grinder (which is more like a weapon if you ask me). The garden side salad is what you can expect, though it was worrying that the salads vinaigrette was the highlight of the meal for me as it was the only thing on my plate with any flavour. Needless to say it was so average that when it came time for dessert head across the street elsewhere.

Price: Pricing was very family friendly at about $20 for a pizza, mid-$20s for mains such as pasta or chicken and about $30 for the nicer meals such as fish and meats.

Service: The waitresses were average. Struggling to get the attention of a waitress to take out order, I watched another gentleman across the room getting slowly frustrated as he spent 5 minutes trying to do just the same. After completing our average meals our table was cleared, even though we still had a lady sitting at the table who was clearly only half way through her meal.

Atmosphere:The atmosphere was possibly the best part of the experience, though still average. Nice, easy on the eyes but nothing worth remembering.

With so many wonderful l places and restaurant options in the area, and as much as I hate to say it, I recommend taking your money elsewhere or staying in at home and cooking up some simple but tasty Italian for yourself.

Sebastian's Italian Cafe on Urbanspoon

Foo Wah Seafood Chinese Restaurant, Canning

Foo Wah Seafood Chinese Restaurant, Canning
Bring Friends & Family for a Casual Dinner.
Cuisine: Chinese

Bring Friends & Family for a Casual Dinner.

I went along on a Sunday night for dinner for 9 people.

The first thing you will notice is that it’s tucked away from any major ‘food hub’ location, so if you are going here for dinner don’t expect to go out elsewhere in the area after.

Atmosphere: The restaurant itself isn’t anything fancy, but a great casual place to take friends or family.

Service: The service is quick; We managed to get our food, eat, chat & leave in 1 hour… Though there was no trade-off on the quality of food.

Food: For 9 people we ordered 2x Combination/Banquet Entrée, 9 mains, plain rice and tea to share between us. This proved to be more than enough. The food had good portion sizes & was good quality Asian food. The deep fried food was light & crispy, rather than being oily which was delightful. Tasty & full of variety, the spinning plate in the middle of the table was constantly turning as we were all trying to grab a piece of every dish.

Summary: Some of our diners were fussy eaters, and some of us weren’t, yet we all left full & happy.
Definitely worth grabbing some friends or family for a casual dinner. Give it a try if you are in the area.

Foo Wah Seafood Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Guide To China In One Week – Day 4

Day 4 – Xi’an. Step Outside the City

After a day of exploring the city of Xi’an it is time to step out from the city and into the famous and historical surrounding areas of Xi’an.

Terracotta Warriors (morning/afternoon)

P1000437The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the must see destination for anyone travelling to Xi’an. Said to be one of the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century work on the Terra Cotta Warriors is on-going. This means when you visit you will be able to see areas of completely restored warriors, warriors in the process of being excavated and large untouched areas giving you a real appreciation of the sheer scale of the Terra Cotta Warriors. This is something not to be missed by any one visiting China.

P1000451

There are 3 pits to visit and just like everywhere in China, there are people everywhere. Please note there is a bit of a walk from the car park to the pits, however along the way you will be able take in the lovely views of the mountains as well as walking past the numerous ‘souvenir opportunities’ and market stall owners try to sell you their bits and pieces (as they do everywhere in China).

Tickets for the Terra Cotta Warriors will set you back CNY120-150 depending on the time of year you visit.

Mount Huashan (morning/afternoon)

Providing some of the most scenic views, Mount Huashan sees endless adventurers trek the area. With five separate peaks there is plenty to trek, see and enjoy. Temples offer wonderful stopping points and there are plenty of scenic areas to relish in. Keen trekkers seeking a special treat can head up to the East Peak for the sunrise then visit the other 4 peaks after. For those of us seeking an easier alternative to the long trek you are able to take a cable car ride up the mountain instead.

P1000434Entrance Fee (including main peaks scenic area, Jade Spring Temple, Xianyu Scenic Area and Xiyue Temple) is CNY100 to CNY 180 depending what time of year you visit.

Cable Car from Donggoukou to White Sparrow Temple to West Peak will cost you CNY70/80 for a half way ride to CNY 120/140 for one way.

Cable Car from Wamiao Gou to North Peak will set you back CNY45/80 for one way to CNY80/150 for a round trip.

Tang Dynasty Dumpling Dinner and Show (evening)

DSC00430P1000376This show is an entertaining way to learn a little about the history of Xi’an and the Tang Dynasty. The performance if full of vibrant costumes, colourful dance and traditional music, many of which have been around for centuries. With the show you can purchase a dumpling banquet which comes out before the show. The dumplings are incredible, coming in various shapes (eg. The duck filled dumpling was shaped like a yellow duck) colours and sizes. They are handmade and filled with countless flavoursome fillings which the waiter explains to you. It’s the ultimate dumpling dim sum. There is more than one dinner and show package available, my favourite of course being the dumpling banquet with the show.

P1000393Costs vary depending on the dinner and show combination you select.
The Dynasty dinner with Tang music and dance performance is RMB 500 per person, the Dumpling Banquet with Tang music and dance performance is RMB 370 per person and the Champagne Show is RMB 220 per person.
You can make an online reservation here.

To view Guide To China In One Week – Day 3 please visit: https://thegrizzlybearperth.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/guide-to-china-day-3/

The Byrneleigh Hotel, Nedlands

The Byrneleigh Hotel, Nedlands
Good Drinks, Good Food, Good Pub.
Cuisine: Pub/Bar Food

3pm on a grey winters afternoon, a girlfriend of mine and I decided to meet up for a quick drink and catch-up. Needless to say we ended up staying for not only drinks, but dinner and coffees too.

Services: The manager was on his way in as we were entering and held the door open for us and greeted us with a smile. The rest of the service followed suit with friendly staff from start to finish.

The atmosphere: This place seems to have it all, super casual outdoor areas out the front and back (this was full of tradies when we came in), a great upstairs function area (which was set up for a 21st), a casual sports bar area, a restaurant area and a booth-like area. As the afternoon progressed into the evening the pub become busier with less tradies and more of the after work crowd and dinner groups coming in. Being a Friday night we were treated to some nice tunes from a local guitarist, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.

The food: Priced the same as most of the nicer pubs/bars in Perth the food is just as on par. We kicked off with some drinks –Gin & tonic (with plenty of gin) and cider before deciding to grab a feed. I immediately knew what I wanted as I had heard that the warm pumpkin salad ($22) was a bit on the interesting side.

IMAG0428Both of us ordered the same meal and both of us were amazed when this gorgeous plate of colour was presented to us. The only thing better than the presentation of the salad was the taste. The flavour and texture combinations were wonderful. The pumpkin and quinoa were cooked well, the lettuce and thin radish slices were crisp, the cooked red onions melted in your mouth and the balsamic dressing struck the right balance of sweet yet edgy. I can honestly say that as far as my experience with pub salads go The Byrneleigh out-did itself. We capped our time off with a couple of tasty long blacks.

Summary: Like many of the nicer local pubs in Perth The Byrneleigh has something for everyone. The prices are reasonable, the beer is cold and the food is delicious. Great for a casual night out, after work drinks or a dinner with friends.

_____________________________________________________________________

The Weekly Yelp – Perth 25, September 2013
Neighbourhood Spotlight: Nedlands

The Byrneleigh (156 Hampden Rd)
On her first visit Eva N “ended up staying for not only drinks, but dinner and coffees too.” This place seems to have it all: “Super casual outdoor areas, a great upstairs function area, a casual sports bar area, a restaurant,” and on a Friday you’ll even be “treated to some nice tunes from a local guitarist.”

The Byrneleigh Hotel on Urbanspoon

Perth Meals for $10 or Less

Perth is now Australia’s most expensive city and the tenth priciest to live in worldwide, according to a recent study by Numbeo.

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/  
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/perth-rated-priciest-city-in-australia-20130711-2pr62.html#ixzz2bjusQPkn

This is something I’ve experiences first hand, but it didn’t become as obvious to me until my recent trip to China and Poland where a 500ml can of full strength beer from a supermarket cost $1AUD and restaurant dinners with drinks came in below $10AUD per person. My friends and relatives could not comprehend that it was normal in Perth to hand over $10AUD for a pint of beer and not receive a cent in change. That got me thinking.

The fact that I managed to save a substantial sum of money on food whilst on holiday shocked me. So what I’ve done to combat the ever growing cost of eating out I’ve thrown together a list of popular Perth meals for $10 or less. Because everyone deserves to enjoy an out-of-home meal every now and then.

 Perth meals for $10 or less

  • Alfred’s Kitchen (Guildford) Pea & Ham Soup – $6.00 Large $4.00 Small
  • Alfred’s Kitchen (Guildford) Various burgers including – $9.90 Hamburger Cheese Bacon
  • Ankara Kebabs (Inglewood) $10 Chicken Kebab
  • Bayswater Hotel (Bayswater) Friday/Saturday/Sunday [12-4pm] – $10 Pizza
  • Benny’s Bar & Café (Fremantle) Wednesday – $10 Parmigiana
  • The Harbour Terrace (Hillarys) Wednesday – $10 5 Pizza Selection
  • Left Bank (East Fremantle) Friday [5-9pm] – $10 Pizza and Pint
  • Left Bank (East Fremantle) Tuesday [from 11:30am] – $10 Mussels with chilli tomato sauce and Turkish bread
  • Mullaloo Beach Hotel (Mullaloo) Monday [from 6pm with a drink order] – $10 Pizza/Pasta
  • Mullaloo Beach Hotel (Mullaloo) Thursday [from 6pm with a drink order] – $10 BBQ Ribs
  • Mullaloo Beach Hotel (Mullaloo) Tuesday [from 6pm with a drink order] – $10 Parmigiana
  • Mullaloo Beach Hotel (Mullaloo) Wednesday [from 6pm with a drink order] – $10 Lamb Shank
  • Rigbys Bar (CBD) Monday/Tuesday [Lunch] – $10 Steak & Chips
  • Rigbys Bar (CBD) Wednesday/Thursday/Friday [Lunch & Dinner] – $10 Steak & Chips
  • Taka’s Kitchen (Barrack Street / Shafto Lane / Fremantle) Various Japanese Dishes
  • TanPopo (Mount Lawley) Various Japanese dishes
  • The Court (Northbridge) Monday/Tuesday [from 5pm] – $10 Pizza
  • The Court (Northbridge) Wednesday [from 6pm] – $6 Pizza
  • The Flying Scotsman (Mount Lawley) Sunday – $10 Pizza & Pint
  • Universal Bar (Perth) Friday/Saturday/Sunday [5-10pm] – $10 Pizza & Pint

under 10 map.jpg

If you here, see or have the pleasure of enjoying any meals for $10 or less in Perth please let me know so I can add them to my list.

You can also find this guide on Urbanspoon:http://www.urbanspoon.com/guides/10207-perth-meals-for-10-or-less-no-junk-fast-food