Homemade Split Pea and Ham Soup

So unlike most of you reading this post now, we’re right in the middle of winter, here in Australia. Not just that, we’re in the middle of a polar vortex at the moment. They say this is the coldest its been in the last 20-30 years … brrr!!! A nice warm, hearty bowl of soup hits the spot at a time like this. I’ve always wanted to try some split pea and ham soup. This recent weather seemed like the perfect opportunity.

After looking around the internet for a recipe, I found one I was happy with. I picked up all the ingredients I needed and got to work. I was happy with the fact that I found a pressure cooker recipe, which meant that I could sit down to a nice bowl of soup in a fraction of the time. Since its the middle of the year, I didn’t have any leftover ham. But for those of you that bake a leg of ham around the holidays, using your leftovers would be perfect for this recipe. I bought some smoked ham meat from the supermarket and used it. When I think back, I think I’d be happy even without the ham in the soup. The split pea soup is so flavourful, a vegetarian version would be really delicious as well. All this without the fuss of having to spend hours developing flavour.

I looked at this recipe and this one to get an idea and then from there on I mostly winged it. So here’s my homemade almost homemade split pea and ham soup. If you baked your own ham and made your own stock, you’ve got yourself a made from scratch Split Pea & Ham Soup.  πŸ™‚

 Homemade Split Pea & Ham Soup


1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
3 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb dry split peas
1 stock cube (chicken, beef, veg – its upto you)
6 cups water
200-250g ham, diced

Rinse the peas under cold water.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker under medium heat.

Add the bay leaf and onion and saute till onions soften up.

Add the garlic, carrots and celery.

Saute for 4-5 minutes.

Add the peas, crumbled cube and water.

Cover and bring to a boil. After it reaches pressure / till the first whistle, simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.

Take off the heat and let the cooker release pressure on its own.

When it is safe to open, adjust liquid by adding water if needed.

Adjust salt and freshly cracked pepper if need.

Add the ham, remove the bay leaf and let the meat heat through.

If the soup feels like it needs more cooking, cook till it reaches the desired thickness.

Serve hot.

I crack some black pepper over it after serving it up and

Notes:
** You could use stock instead of the cube and water if you have any at hand.

** This soup keeps well in the fridge. My pot lasted us about 10 days. I just took out small portions and heated it up as I needed it.

** I found that the soup thickened after refrigeration. So each time I need to heat up a portion, I added some hot water to the portion I was heating up, to reach the consistency I like and then heated it through.

SRC Orphan Rescue – Beef N Bean Minestrone

Today, I have an opportunity to put up a second recipe from a different blog for SRC, though I wish it was under better circumstances. I’m picking a recipe from Wendy’s blog – The Weekend Gourmet. Sadly she was left out of this months reveal, since the person who was assigned her blog, didn’t get a post up. That is “So not cool!” I know how disappointing it is to be left out of the fun, since this has happened to me twice in the past. So when I heard that Group A had an orphan this month, I was more than happy to jump in and help out. It would be really great if you could stop over at Wendy’s and say Hi, I know it would make her feel a lot better.

Wendy is a girl after my own heart. She enjoys a lot of the things that I do like travelling, listening to music, watching movies, reading and of course, good food. And get this – she’s actually a celebrity, she’s been on TV and cooked in front of a live studio audience! Wendy, I admire you, I would’ve been a bunch of nerves. One look at her Recipe Index, and you know why she’s had such success in the food world. She has an impressive repertoire and picking just one recipe for today’s post proved to be quite a task. There’s so much that I wanted to try. 
Nevertheless, I chose to make her Sausage-White Bean Minestrone. The temperature in Sydney has been steadily dropping and we are well into autumn. Just yesterday, I told my husband that I wanted to add a few made from scratch soups to my regular rotation. I’ve had quite a few packet soups in the past and I don’t think I can take anymore of those. I figured, I try so hard to make most of my food and condiments from scratch, so why not soups? When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it out. I just made a couple of changes to the recipe based on what I had on hand. Also I halved the recipe. You can visit Wendy’s site for the original recipe. The one below, includes a few changes I made. This soup was fantastic. The flavors were beautiful and even my non-soup-loving husband enjoyed this. Thanks for the inspiration Wendy. I know I’ll be making this soup again.
Beef N Bean Minestrone

1/2 lb Ground Beef
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried Italian herb mix
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 can diced tomatoes
4 oz spiral pasta or macaroni (the original called for rigatoni, but you could use whatever you have) {Adjust quantity of pasta to your liking}
Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
Add the ground beef to the pot and over high heat left it brown.
Turn the heat to medium and add the chopped onion, carrot and garlic to the pot and mix well. Let this cook off for 5 minutes till the veggies have softened a bit.
Add the herb mix and stir to distribute well.
Add the diced tomato and stir. Give it a minute to mix with the other ingredients in the pot. Add the stock. Let the soup come to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the pasta / macaroni and beans and cover and let it cook for a further 10-15 minutes based on the cooking time of the pasta.
Serve it hot!
Note: 
1) The original recipe used celery and fresh Italian parsley, which I left out since I didn’t have any.
2) Wendy also used 1/2 cup of red wine, which I left out.

Nana Braganza’s Beef Stew

REMINDER: I’m hosting a giveaway and would love for each of you to be a part of it. Up for grabs are gift vouchers from Amazon / Flipkart. For details and to participate click here. Giveaway closed.


Today I am going to share with you a wonderful recipe for which I can take absolutely no credit at all. Yup, you heard that right. This is a recipe that my husband remembers and has committed to memory from watching his mother and Nan cook. Can you believe that!!! I love him to pieces and its things like this that earn him extra brownie points. πŸ™‚ I remember the first time he whipped up this beauty was a few years ago. I was out of town for a couple of weeks on work. I had a few things cooked up and kept in the fridge for him to just heat up and eat while I was away. I knew he was good with puddings, breakfast and the like, but wasn’t too sure if he’d manage mains for lunch and dinner. To my delight, when I got back from my trip, waiting for me was a pot of this beautiful fragrant stew. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Long story short, we both loved it and from then on, each time we have this stew, my husband actually makes it himself.

This is such a simple recipe and it requires just a handful of ingredients. If you use a pressure cooker to cook your meat, its comes together faster, which is what I did. Unlike typical Indian food, this stew is not spicy but is beautifully flavored. You can serve this up with a couple of slices of hearty bread or croutons or even over steamed rice. I personally think it tastes better on the next day, so we always make a little extra to enjoy for even 2 to 3 meals.

Nana Braganza’s Beef Stew

1lb. beef, boneless (I use what we call undercut, very flavorful n tender, cooks up really fast, but you can use what you have on hand)
4-6 cloves
2″ cinnamon
8 pepper corns
Salt, to taste
Juice of half a lime
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 onions, finely chopped
2 potatoes, cut into small cubes
1-2 fresh green chillies, finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
3/4″ ginger, finely chopped or minced
1/2 cup of red wine
2-3 rashers of bacon, skin taken off and chopped into small pieces (optional, but yum)
1/4 tsp crushed black pepper powder
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Cut the beef into 2-3 large pieces.

Sprinkle salt, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce over the meat. Add the cloves, cinnamon and pepper corns and toss well making sure the meat is marinated in this for about 10-15 minutes.

Pressure cook with a couple of cups of water till tender. I cooked it on low for 30 minutes after the first whistle. Let the pressure ease of on its own. Cut the beef into cubes. Reserve the stock.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the bacon. Let the bacon fry a little and release its fats. If you’re using bacon you may want to reduce the amount of oil a little. If your not using bacon, simply move on to the next step.

Add the chopped onions and chillies and saute them.

When the onions have softened a little, add the chopped ginger and garlic and continue sauteing.

After a minute or two add the potatoes and continue sauteing.

Add some pepper powder and stir.

When the onions have slightly started to brown, add the wine to deglaze and add the stock that the beef was cooked in with the whole spices.

Let it come to a boil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Add the meat and let it all heat through.

Check for seasoning and adjust if needed. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Once the flavors have fully developed, take it off the fire.

Serve hot.

This recipe has been linked to –
Show me you Plaid Mondays

Time to Sparkle

Wonderful Food Wednesday
Back for Seconds
Wow Me Wednesday
Cast Party Wednesday
What’s Cookin Wednesday
Chef’s Day Off

Caldeirada or Goan Fish Stew

Goa – what can I say about this little piece of heaven? Well, our ancestors hail from Goa and ever since I was a little girl, we spent most of our summer holidays there. Even today, my husband and I love going there. We drive down for a few days whenever we get the chance. Goa is along the West Coast of India and the place really needs no introduction. Folks from all over the world holiday here. It has some really amazing beaches, lots of Portuguese influence in the culture (the architecture, the way of life and the food) and, in my opinion, some of the best food, especially the traditional Goan seafood preparations.

This recipe is a mild stew compared to the otherwise spicy food found there. This is the second time I’ve made it and I’ve got to tell you I love it. Its easy to make, the flavors are clean, the colors are really vibrant and have I mentioned that its really delicious. You really should try this, you wont regret it. This one is definitely a keeper for me. The recipe I used is from this really great book that I picked up a couple of years ago called “The Essential Goa Cookbook” by Maria Teresa Menezes. This is a book I use very often and I’ve never been disappointed.
Caldeirada
Adapted from: The Essential Goa Cookbook

6 slices large fish, or 6 small fish whole (I used Kingfish)
10 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1″ ginger, chopped fine
4 green chillies, chopped fine (I used 3)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3 large onions, sliced to get rings
3 large tomatoes, slice to get rings
1 tbsp vinegar (I used Apple Cider Vinegar)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt, to taste
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped, for garnish
Clean and wash the fish. Apply a little salt and keep the fish aside for about half an hour.
Mix the ginger, garlic, chilly and turmeric powder and a little salt in a bowl. 
In a shallow pan, arrange half of the onion slices to form a layer. Layer half the tomatoes over it. Place half the fish over it and sprinkle half the spice mix over it. Repeat the layers with the rest of the onions, tomatoes, fish and spice mix. 
Over this, pour the olive oil, vinegar and one cup of water. Do this carefully so as to not disturb the layers. 
Cover the pan and cook on a medium heat till the fish is done. Shake the pan gently and tilt it to prevent the contents from sticking to the pan. 
Turn off the heat when the fish is cooked and sprinkle with the chopped coriander leaves. Cover and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
We had this with some plain rice. 
Enjoy!!!
This recipe is linked to – 

Shepherd’s Pie

We had a crazy weekend. It started out with the regular weekend chores like laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning – you know how it works, right? and before we knew it, we found ourselves scrambling to save some trees in our area from being cut. We did manage to put a halt to the original plan of chopping down 13 great, big trees that are atleast 30 years old. I say this with so much authority because the trees have been in their spots as far back as I can remember. I’m pretty sure they are much older than me. We had a local newspaper report the incident and are hoping that this will help us preserve the remaining tree cover in the area. You can check out the article here.

Anyway, things got better from there. We spent Sunday with family at my brother-in-law’s place. The guys had a blast. They played carrom after years and played for quite a few hours, while I spent time with my sister-in-law and neices (you remember them – Faith & Shania – from my second post). After a delightful morning and lunch with them, we headed home.

I was exhausted but I still wanted to make something for dinner that night.At first, I wanted to make some Moussaka. I’ve made that a couple of times before, and my husband and I simply love it. Then I started having second thoughts as the recipe calls for a lot of frying and with the temperatures and humidity levels being sky-high in Mumbai at the moment, I didn’t think I could endure all that frying. So as I was sifting through my collection of recipes, I stumbled upon a recipe for Shepherd’s Pie that I’d bookmarked some time ago and decided to give it a go.  The original recipe calls for lamb mince but since I only had beef mince in the house, I made the switch. Well some folks say that Shepherd’s Pie is strictly made using lamb mince and if you do happen u switch the meat like I did, then what you’ve made is some Cottage Pie. Either way, I must say, this recipe did not disappoint. I used the recipe found in Nita Mehta’s – The Best of Mutton. All you do is make some mashed potato and a simple mince. Place the mince in a baking dish and smear the mashed potato over to make a nice layer. Bake @ 170ΒΊC for about 20 minutes. In less than an hour, we sat down to a hearty, warm and scrumptious dinner. This, served with a lovely fresh salad, is really yummy. 

Give it a go and you won’t be disappointed.

Note to Self: Next time, get pictures before wolfing down delicious food. πŸ™‚