Spicy Vegetable Noodle Soup

Winter is coming…bring out your stock pots…

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My favourite season is here, yes you heard that right – I love winter! I mean let’s be honest what’s not to love – you can eat what you want, sit in front of the fire snuggled up in your favourite blanket all day (yes on a cold winter day it is totally ok!) and winter fashion, seriously how can you not fall in love with those beautifully tailored woolen pants or that perfect trench coat?

Another thing that is great about winter – it’s the perfect season to enjoy delicious soups. Creamy soups, chunky soups, dumpling soups or noodle soups, the variety is truly endless!  This season I will be posting a lot of soups for you to try, but for starters here’s a spicy noodle soup recipe. To be honest this noodle soup is so delicious, it can be enjoyed all year round.

Don’t let the list of ingredients bring you down, most of these are pantry staples and as for the others you will be using them a lot if you intend on cooking some of my lip smackingly delicious recipes.

So without further ado here’s presenting my…Spicy Vegetable Noodle Soup

Ingredients:  19    Cooking time: 1 hr 15 mins

Serves: 2

For the broth

  • One large brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • Four celery sticks, coarsely chopped
  • Five pods of smashed garlic
  • Two inch piece of smashed ginger
  • Five to six pieces of sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • Two kaffir lime leaves
  • Half a lime, deseeded
  • Three to four red chillies chopped
  • Coriander root, coarsely chopped
  • Two tablespoons of soy sauce
  • Two tablespoons of chinese rice wine
  •  Two tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt to season
  • Five cups of water

Noodles

  • You can use flat rice noodles, Singapore noodles or udon noodles (I used udon noodles)

Toppings

  • Bunch of Asian greens
  • One cup of carrots, sliced
  • One cup tofu, cubed
  • One cup of broccolini, florets and stems sliced

We will start by making the broth, which is the centrepiece of a good noodle soup

To make the broth – heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil, add the coarsely chopped onion, smashed ginger and garlic, cook until the onion is translucent and you can smell those beautiful aromas.

Now add the chopped coriander root, celery, red chillies, shiitake mushrooms and give all the ingredients a good stir.

Add water, followed by soy sauce, chinese rice wine, sliced lime and kaffir lime leaves. Bring the broth to a boil on a medium heat and the cover the pan with a lid, letting the stock simmer for one hour on a low heat.

Strain the broth and keep hot until ready to serve.

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While the broth is simmering, cook the noodles as per packet instructions and keep warm until ready to serve.

For the toppings, lightly blanch the greens and carrots. In a wok add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and quickly stir fry the vegetables and tofu with some finely chopped ginger and a tablespoon of vegetable oil (Please note: stir frying the toppings is optional).

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To serve – divide noodles between two bowls, arrange toppings over noodles and finally ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Garnish with extra chopped red chillies for that extra fiery zing! Enjoy!

Buddakan – Chelsea, New York

A taste of perfection…

The Bar at Buddakan

You know once in a while you go out to a restaurant and everything about it is perfect. The artistic decor, the exceptional service and unbelievable food – yes all this and more can be found at Buddakan!

A modern Chinese restaurant, Buddakan serves traditional dishes with a fusion fare. The menu is utterly elaborate with a dish for everyone, whether you are  a meat lover, a pescetarian or  a vegetarian you are in for a treat here. 

A piece of trivia, if you are an avid Sex and the City fan this is where Carrie and Big had their rehearsal dinner before the wedding. Of course when my husband made reservations he didn’t know that and the minute we stepped foot into the restaurant my excitement knew no bounds, little did I know it was going to be even better.

Main Dining Hall
Exceptionally Beautiful Main Dining Hall

We ordered the Bo Bo plate to start with, which had an assortment of appetizers – tuna spring rolls, sesame shrimp toast, boneless spare ribs, carrot dumplings, cantonese spring roll. All absolutely delicious!

Bo Bo Plate: tuna spring rolls, sesame shrimp toast, boneless spare ribs, carrot dumplings, cantonese spring roll
Bo Bo Plate: tuna spring rolls, sesame shrimp toast,
boneless spare ribs, carrot dumplings, cantonese spring roll

I really struggled to pick a main because there was so much to choose from. I knew I wanted fish and all the fish dishes looked great, but our waiter recommended the Black Cod. I was a bit apprehensive because I cannot eat ‘fishy fish’, funny I know but true! After much deliberation and convincing from our wonderful waiter I did order the Cod, so glad I did! I had not eaten anything like that before, the fish was meaty but so delicately flavoured and went perfectly with my Mushroom Chow Fun and side of Wok Charred Broccoli. My husband ordered Roast Pork which I could tell was finger licking good.

Glazed Alaskan Black Cod with chili eggplant, black bean relish
Glazed Alaskan Black Cod with
chili eggplant, black bean relish
Wild Mushroom Chow Fun with garlic chive
Wild Mushroom Chow Fun with garlic chives
Char Siu Roast Pork with spicy bamboo shoots, moo shu pancakes
Char Siu Roast Pork with spicy bamboo shoots, moo shu pancakes
Wok Charred Broccoli with garlic and black bean
Wok Charred Broccoli with garlic and black bean

Everything about Buddakan was perfection! The wait staff were extremely knowledgeable about the food, really friendly and took such good care of us, the food was faultless (trust me I don’t find faultless food very often) and the restaurant decor and ambience was exquisite. All this coupled together made this such a memorable experience. The only one regret I have is we were too full to order dessert and were running late for ‘Phantom of the Opera’ at Broadway. I am sure my name is written on the dessert menu for the next time I am in New York.

My most memorable meal in New York City
My most memorable meal in New York City
Rating: 10/10
Price: $$$

The Eight – Haymarket, Sydney

 You can almost cha cha cha after yum cha…

Tequila is to partying as Yum cha is to hangover! Why am I telling you that? Well last weekend I was in Sydney for a friends hen’s night. What started off as a wild night only got wilder once Tequila made its presence felt.

We knew we were going to pay for it in the morning! After waking up at midday the next day,  boy did we pay in style with an Asian feast at The Eight! 

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Steamed Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

 

Prawn Tofu in a Sweet and Sour sauce
Prawn Tofu in a Sweet and Sour sauce

Right in the heart of Paddy’s Markets in Haymarket, The Eight is like any other big, bright and busy Asian restaurant serving both yum cha and ala carte menu. The food is reasonably priced and there is a great variety of dishes to choose from. From interesting dishes like tripe, chicken feet, etc to more standard dumplings, steamed buns and the likes. There is something for everyone.

Prawn and Mushroom Dumplings in a Lemon Grass, Ginger, Chilli and Soy Sauce dressing
Steamed Prawn and Mushroom Dumplings in a Lemon Grass, Ginger, Chilli and Soy Sauce dressing
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Steamed Cabbage and Prawn Dumplings

We ordered an assortment of dumplings, some greens to make up for guilty pleasures from last night, a few other savoury dishes and lastly some mango pancakes and mango sago pudding for dessert. My personal favourite were the mushroom and prawn dumplings with a lemongrass, ginger, chilli and soy sauce dressing!

At The Eight you definitely don’t pay for the service. The wait staff are probably not as attentive/responsive as you would like them to be, but the food makes up for it in some ways!

Coconut Cream and Mango Pancakes
Mango Pancakes with Coconut Cream
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Mango and Sago Pudding with Coconut Milk

LSD recommends The Eight in Haymarket Sydney, especially after a big night out! The location is great, the food is good and the service could be better.

Overall rating – 6/10

Price – $$