Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hot Spring Green Noodle Soup

My lovely boys took me for a brithday breakfast this morning to Herbstreet in sunny Grand Canal Square.  We were greeted with a happy smile and a menu which sounded utterly delicious.  I did have difficulty not choosing the burger, but it was afterall ten a.m., so their french toast with peach and raspberry seemed fitting for such bright spring day full of promise and it did not disappoint!

Then a trip to the Super Natural Food Market on Pearse Street brought a small bounty of goodies, John Dory and smoked haddock from Sean Blaine of Donegal Fresh Fish, cheese, kale and other delightful spring greens from Ballyroan Farm ... so, laden with fresh irish produce, we headed home to the kitchen with lots of inspiration.  The result,  a fresh spring green soup with a lot of heatiness!

For 2 or 3, you will need:

1 large bunch of spring greens - young kale, spinach leaves, bok choi even
1 large bunch of coriander, sweet basil, mint
4 shallots, finely chopped
3 small red/green hot chillis
2 tblsp sunflower oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large handful chestnut mushrooms, sliced.
1.5 litres chicken/vegetable stock 
2 tblsp nam plaa (thai fish sauce)
salt and pepper
1 large handful vermicelli rice noodles(or you can use the thicker egg noodles if you like).

In a large pan, heat the sunflower oil and fry the shallots, garlic and chilli until lightly browned,  add the mushrooms and fry for 3-4 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of stock to the boil.  The quality of this soup is dependant on the stock so it is best to use a home-made chicken stock, but if in desperation, use a good quality vegetable bouillon powder or cube.
Boil the vermicelli noodles according to the packet instructions, usually about 5 minutes, but cut the time short by about one minute.  When boiled, drain immediately and plunge into cold water to prevent the noodles sticking together.

Add the shallot and garlic mixture and nam pla to the stock and bring to the boil.  Sort out your spring green leaves, plunging the thickest and more sturdy in first and gradually adding them according to a shortening cooking time - thus the kale going in first and the spinach, basil and coriander going in last.  Taste, and season as necessary.
Put some drained noodles in a serving bowl and ladle over the spring green stock.  Hot, clean tasting and very moreish...

I am not going to write all night about everything that we ate today, which seems to amount to a lot,  but the John Dory fillets were absoluted amazing - grilled for 4 minutes and eaten with braised cabbage and fennel with a drizzle of lemon juice and a dijon mustard dressing ... delicious.

Oh and wheelerandcompany's regular clientelle bought me a beautful birthday present today ... they must be fed up looking at me in my old apron!  I will be wearing this for all possible, future, glamorous culinary events ...

It was a happy birthday!

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