Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I have just had a week in Bali attending my beautiful niece’s wedding, having a rest from shattered Christchurch and bonding with some great Balinese caterers. What fun!

It seems we foodie types are all the same the world over. Wherever there’s a great party in progress, much as we love being part of it we tend to find ourselves drawn to what’s going on in the kitchen. The flavours were delicious and I will share some with you when we get a little closer to summer, meantime it was back down to reality with a thud! Landing in minus zero temperatures, there was nothing else to do but get into the kitchen and drag out the soup pot!

Nothing beats a bowl of warm nourishing soup and a slab of homemade bread to fight away the chilly nights and it’s amazing how simple they can be by just being a little creative with what is in the pantry.

Try these for starters….

Soup of Pear, Horseradish and White Pepper
Serves 8 -10
400g tin of pears
100g butter
100g flour
2 litres good quality chicken stock
2 tablespoons horseradish sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons white pepper

Puree the pears and half the syrup until smooth. Reserve remaining syrup. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Cook the roux for a couple of minutes and then slowly add the warmed chicken stock, stirring well to keep a smooth consistency.

Add the pureed pears, horseradish sauce, salt and pepper. Adjust consistency if necessary with remaining juice.

Roasted Mushroom Soup
Serves 8 -10

500g Swiss Brown mushrooms, quartered
500g Portobello mushrooms, quartered
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3 sticks celery, sliced
¼ cup olive oil
½ bottle white wine
1 ½ litres chicken stock
1 bouquet garni (bay, parsley, thyme)
200ml cream
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Place mushrooms in a roasting tray with onions, garlic and celery. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a moderate oven until browned. Add white wine and cook a further ten minutes to cook off alcohol. Add stock, bouquet garni and cook until vegetables are tender. Remove bouquet garni, add cream and blend until smooth.
For special occasions drizzle with a little truffle oil at service.