Posts from February 2015

Silence is Golden so is Golden Butternut Squash Soup with Besar from 'World Spice at Home'

From dessert to soup, we follow Spiced and Moist Carrot Cake with Kashmiri Garam Masala with soul warmer from World Spice at Home : New Flavors for 75 Favorite Dishes (Sasquatch Books, September 2014) by Amanda Bevill and Julie Kramis Hearne.

Golden Butternut Squash Soup with Besar

This is a delicious fall soup. We love the taste of the besar with coconut and squash. The ham hock adds a smoky, salty element and the pomegranate garnish gives a bright pop of flavor to the finish. Serve with flatbread or your favorite rustic bread.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter 1 leek, cleaned and cut into ¼-inch slices
½ yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground besar
3 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
¼ cup apple juice or cider
½ cup coconut milk (with some of the thick cream)
1 ham hock (optional)
1 bay leaf
½ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup crème fraîche or coconut cream, for garnish
Pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Golden Butternut Squash Soup

In a 5½-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the leek and onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the ginger and besar; stir for 1 minute. Add the squash, chicken broth, and apple juice and bring to a slight boil. Stir in the coconut milk. Add the ham hock and bay leaf and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Transfer the ham hock to a bowl and allow to cool. Discard the bay leaf. Remove the soup from the heat and cool slightly. Puree most of the soup with an immersion blender or carefully process in batches in a blender.

After most of the soup is pureed, add the cream and simmer for 10 minutes. Pull the meat off the ham hock, chop it into small pieces, and return to the pot. Discard the bone.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and garnish each serving with a drizzle of crème fraîche (if it's too thick to drizzle, thin it with a little water or broth) and garnish with 2 teaspoons pomegranate seeds.

(*(c)2014 By Amanda Bevill and Julie Kramis Hearne. All rights reserved. Excerpted from World Spice at HomeNew Flavors for 75 Favorite Dishes by permission of Sasquatch Books. Photography by Charity Burggraaf)

Get Ready to Flip, Gotta Have Crepes Today for La Chandeleur, February 2

Each and every February 2, La Chandeleur is a day to fill your tummy with comfort food.

Crepes can be sweet, they can also be savoury like the 'Andouille Sausage-Cheese-Egg' crepe (below) which I discovered on the menu of Creperie du Vieux Port located in Port Haliguen, Quiberon in my native Morbihan (Brittany). They are celebrating their 40th anniversary.

Andouille-oeuf-fromage crepe

Dominique and Christophe Cachat in National Crepe Day ( on now defunct blog 'A Taste of France', February 2010) note that "La Chandeleur, celebrated on February 2, is originally a religious holiday, yet today it is known as the day of crêpes. The story is that Pope Gélase gave crêpes to the pilgrims who arrived in Rome. The crêpes with their rond shape and golden color, signified the sun and helped Spring to arrive."

Happy Crepe Day! Bonne Chandeleur!

(* Photo from Creperie du Vieux Port website)

Turn Up Heat on Super Bowl Table, Tropical Fruit Salad with Sriracha Sesame Vinagrette

Healthier than spicy buffalo wings, turn up the heat on Super Bowl table with this Tropical Fruit Salad with Sriracha-Sesame Vinaigrette recipe (originally shared in 2011) from The Sriracha Cookbook (Ten Speed Press) by Randy Clemens. A little square tome with 50 recipes that pack a punch.

Tropical fruit salad with sriracha

Perfect for vegetarian guests

(* Recipe from The Sriracha Cookbook '50 Rooster Sauce Recipes that Pack a Punch' by Randy Clemens, copyright Ten Speed Press, 2011, Photograph by Leo Gong)