Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Mushroom Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

Mushroom Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

We’re slowly springing out of the dreary days of winter.

Through the incessant rain and cold, there are gentle signs of spring’s emergence; this morning I noticed the tiny red buds of the magnolia tree across the street.

Our winter wasn’t as bad as it was in other places, it just felt like a long dark one; I’m ready for daffodils and cherry blossoms, and longer days as our clocks spring forward this weekend.

Meanwhile we’re enjoying the last bits of winter with the warm comforts of soup – that’s exactly what this mushroom tortellini and vegetable soup is, it’s a hearty comforting soup that warms the soul.

Mushroom Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

This type of soup usually starts with a text from my sister; she found dried mushroom filled tortellini at the Italian market thought of the classic Italian tortellini en brodo (in broth) but with chunks of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, to add a bit of colour and vibrancy.

My sister and I try to get together and cook once a month, being a far better cook than I am, I always jump at the opportunity – she mostly does all the cooking and I get to reap the benefits – like this awesome soup.

Mushroom Tortellini and Vegetable Soup Mushroom Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

We’ve been making soups like these all winter long, particularly for those gloomy rainy days, and there’s been quite a few of those days.

And the soups are always so tasty and filling and nutritious and warming. It literally melts the chills away.

And the best part is this soup is even better the next day and days after, just keep leftovers in the fridge and reheat before serving.

Mushroom Tortellini and Vegetable Soup
Mushroom Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

Mushroom Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

Roasted Vegetables Pasta

Roasted Vegetables Pasta

I think it bears repeating that I love the romance of love, it often times makes me wish I could fall in love repeatedly just for that delightful magical rush.

Perhaps that is what Valentine’s Day is, a reminder to celebrate the romance of love.

This year I thought about red themed desserts, and discovered Pinterest boards of adorable heart-shaped red and pink food and crafts.

Floral Arrangement Roasted Vegetables Pasta

And then I thought about flowers… of roses and anthuriums… bright in hues of red.
Somehow this pasta is what I saw; easy, light, tasty and fresh – so simple it’s magical.

It reminds me of simple things… early morning walks, dancing to your favourite songs, humble bouquets that gladden your heart and long quiet afternoons in bed.

Happy Valentine’s Day! May you find romance in the ordinary… Always.

Roasted Vegetables Pasta
Roasted Vegetables Pasta


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Orecchiette with Mushroom and Black Beans

Orecchiette with Mushroom and Black Beans

Mushrooms remind me of my grandmother’s palm nut soup; bright and spicy and rich, I can almost hear it bubbling on the coal pot… thick and teaming meat, crabs, dried fish and mushrooms.

The mushrooms were my favourite; the kind my grandmother often used grows from the trunk of fallen palm nut trees – I loved the dense chewy texture and how it soaked up the flavour of the soup.

A few years ago when a friend was doing his thesis on ‘oil palm mushroom’ farms, I told him about my grandmother’s soup with mushrooms, and memories of my dad foraging for mushrooms.

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I saw oyster mushrooms at the market the other day, and I thought of this restaurant I used to go to in Gastown and the delicious creamy orecchiette pasta with peas and pancetta I’d often order, one day the chef came out and told me that it was his mother’s favourite meal too, and whenever he went back home, they’d go mushroom picking for this pasta dish.

Seeing those oyster mushrooms at the market, suddenly the orecchiette pasta I got months ago didn’t seem like an impulse buy anymore. I knew I wanted to make something with mushrooms and the pasta, and a lot of other vegetables. I wasn’t sure of what the outcome would be until I started putting my ingredients together.

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I used my favourite base, rosemary scented olive oil, with onions, garlic and tomatoes; and then added black beans and peas for protein and fibre.

Mushrooms are good for you, it’s a good source of iron and other essential nutrients, plus it’s low in calories. And here are five more delicious reasons to eat mushrooms.

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Oyter Mushroom & Black Bean Pasta IMG_8716

Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

 
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I’ve been feeling a little unmotivated lately; or perhaps lazy would be appropriate, but that’s such a four letter word…
Something must have happened to me in New York because I don’t think I’ve been myself since I got home.

I’m still struggling to finish unpacking from that little trip, and all I seem to be doing lately besides going to work, is staying in bed and reading – because, you know…“literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life”

Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce
Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

Admittedly, the few times I forced myself to go out were actually nice, like the afternoon I went grocery shopping for this tomato, basil and cashew sauce – it was a bright sunny day.

This sauce is bright too; I love it for its simple fresh ingredients; it’s a little creamy from rich-tasting cashews and has a smooth tangy flavour from the tomatoes and basil.

I make a big batch, usually doubling the recipe and freeze some for later use; of course, it’s good tossed with pasta, but I use it in a few other dishes as well – on toast, sandwiches and flatbread, or tossed with roasted vegetables.

Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

It’s technically a ‘summer sauce’, but occasionally I’ll come across some good looking hothouse tomatoes and the perfect bunch of basil and cave, also because it’s one of those easy no-brainer sauces that one makes when one is feeling unmotivated.

Like I said, I made a big batch… just in case it takes me a while to get out of this funk I find myself – it makes dinner interesting without too much work.

A little note on when making this sauce; depending on how you prefer your sauces, feel free to add another 1/4 – 1/2 cup of wine or water to the sauce while it simmers, if you feel it’s too thick.

Tomato Basil Cream Sauce
Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce ITomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce Tomato, Basil and Cashew Sauce

Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

 
Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

It’s amazing the difference a day makes, yesterday was so sunny and amazing we were convinced spring had come, and the dreary winter had finally bowed out.
We ran around like kids, giddy with excitement, and exploring the city like tourist. I stayed out until dark, and walked home when the city lights lit up the night.

And yet this evening we battled angry winds and bitter rain; I couldn’t get home fast enough.

I wanted to make a big salad as soon I got through the door, a soul-soothing rainy day kind of salad.

Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives
Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

I cut and prepped vegetables, listening as the rain beat down the window.

Pearl or Israeli couscous (Ptitim) are much larger in size and firmer than North African couscous, it’s closer to rice and holds it’s texture when cooked.
I like to toast it for a few minutes in coconut oil until it smells wonderful, and then cook it just like rice, can be cooked in a rice cooker too.

The herby aroma of fresh thyme really compliments this simple salad.
The vegetables are usually whatever I have on hand, but I always add the sweet corn and olives because the flavours round out and brighten the salad.

I finish it off with a simple lemony dressing, a handful of dried tart cherries and nutty toasted coconut; I reckon a cheese lover wouldn’t mind some crumbled feta on top.

I like cheerful salads like these at this particular time of the year, it makes me hopeful for spring and sunny days, and it’s warm and comforting for cold rainy days.

Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives
Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives


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