Mushroom and Lentil Soup


It’s been a relatively healthy beginning to 2017. Despite the odd hiccup, (Saturday’s birthday celebration for my friend Dwight included a stick of butter per person to ensure the Louisiana shrimp was authentic) I’ve been pretty well behaved. Making a big batch of this incredibly satisfying and unintentionally vegan soup has been the largest contributor to my restraint. It has also been especially comforting to have a steaming bowl of soup after walking Daisy in these frigid temperatures. It’s hearty, healthy, and very very tasty!


Mushroom and Lentil Soup

Serves 4


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 small onions, peeled and diced

2 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 large dried chili (any mild dried chili works)

5 oz. mushrooms, sliced (I used a mixture)

4 oz. small brown lentils (I used Puy lentils), rinsed

4 cups vegetable stock

3 sprigs of thyme


1 lemon

Good French bread for dipping



1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the onions. Cook on medium until soft, about 5-8 minutes. Save some of the browned mushrooms to a separate plate for garnish.

2. Add the garlic and chili and cook for a further minute or two, stirring regularly, before adding the mushrooms and cooking for a further 5 minutes.

3. Add the lentils, pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer with a lid almost covering the pot for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. 

4. Season with salt, pepper, a dash of cognac and the juice of a lemon.

5. Remove the garlic, chili and thyme and then whizz using a hand held blender till about half of the soup is pureed but you still have plenty of texture. 

6. Serve warm with browned mushrooms as a topping and extra bread for dipping.



Saffron and Seafood Chowder


In a couple of weeks I’ve got my first beach weekend of 2016. In typical fashion, I’ve already started planning the meals. A chowder with a twist seemed like an ideal lunch after a potentially blustery morning walk on the beach. The test run was a hit and an astoundingly easy but unique chowder was born! The saffron and cream made the hearty soup seem decadent and all you need is a freshly baked baguette to complete the meal.


Saffron and Seafood Chowder

Serves 4-6


2 tablespoons butter

1 Leek, fully cleaned and finely chopped (1 ¾ cup)

1 cup finely diced yellow Onion (about 1 onion)

Sea salt and white pepper

24 oz. Clam juice

Pinch of saffron (1/2 g)

¼ cup minced chives, plus extra for garnish

1 cup frozen sweet corn

1 lb new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite sized pieces

½ cup heavy cream

1 lb white snapper, cut into bite sized pieces

½ lb small shrimp, peeled and deveined



1. In a large soup pot or cast iron, sauté leeks and onions in butter on medium-high, stirring several times, until translucent, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper.
2. Add in clam juice, 1 cup water, saffron, chives, corn and potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer covered on medium-low, 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. If you want a thicker consistency, puree the soup briefly with an emersion blender. 
3. Stir in cream.
4. Season seafood with salt and white pepper and add to chowder. Simmer for 8 minutes on low until just cooked through. The fish should flake and the shrimp be a nice pink color.
5. Garnish with chives and serve warm.

Ottolenghi’s Green Gazpacho


Like many food lovers, I bow to the altar of Yottam Ottlolenghi. I love pouring over his books, visiting his restaurants in London and reading up on him but for some reason I rarely make any of his recipes. This green gazpacho is an exception probably because it’s so quick and easy. Gazpachos are fresh by their very nature but this is simply the freshest as well as the tastiest that I’ve ever had.


My friend Chris made it for me last summer and I’ve been making it ever since when I want something super clean. I made it today in a vague attempt at a pre-vacation cleanse before I overload on pasta in Italy. I’m off tomorrow and already counting the hours until I can sit on ‘the wall’ and watch the sun set with an ice cold G&T!


Ottolenghi’s Green Gazpacho

Adapted from Plenty

Serves 6



2 thick slices of 7 grain bread, cubed

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt



2 celery stalks (including leaves), roughly chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped

6 mini cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped

3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed and broken into small pieces

1 jalapeno pepper (seeds removed or not depending on whether you like heat), chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

5 cups of baby spinach

1 cup basil leaves

2 tablespoons of parsley leaves

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons of greek yoghurt

1 cup of water

2 teaspoons salt

4 ice cubes




1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Toss the bread cubes in the oil and salt and arrange on a baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes until crisp.

3. Remove and leave to cool.



1. Fit as many of the ingredients as you can (except the ice cubes) into a large blender and blitz until smooth.

2. Transfer to a bowl and blitz the rest of the ingredients along with the ice cubes.

3. Add the second batch to the bowl and mix well to combine.

4. Serve immediately with croutons.

Matzo Ball Soup


Often called Jewish Penicillin, Matzo Ball Soup is not only a Passover staple but also such a New York  City staple. This recipe was taught to me by my wonderful friend Rachel who swears the secret lies in the dill and the richness of the broth. We’ve made this recipe together for Seder meals and other holidays and it is just delicious and always makes me feel right at home.


The stock can be made in advance to save time. You can freeze your enriched chicken stock or simply make several days in advance and rewarm when ready to serve. Always store your matzo balls separately so they do not become engorged with water and break apart.


Matzo Ball Soup
1 whole chicken, giblets removed (about 4lbs)
1 yellow onion
1 bunch dill, stems removed then chopped
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup matzo meal (make sure it’s kosher for Passover)
1 (32 oz) carton chicken stock
4 large carrots, cut into bite size pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper


1. In a large stockpot, add whole chicken and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for one hour.
2. Meanwhile, slice onion in half and dice one half. Set aside in a small bowl for the soup. Take 1/2 of the remaining onion and mince. Set aside for the matzo balls.
3. In a medium bowl, mix egg, vegetable oil and 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly then add in matzo meal and mix till smooth. Add in the minced onion, 1/3 of the chopped dill and season with salt and pepper. Mix well then set in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
4. Once chicken stock has simmered for an hour, remove chicken to cool into a large bowl. Take your stockpot and place In the freezer.
5. After the fat has chilled on the surface of the stock, skim it off with a spoon and return stock to the stovetop. Add in the carton of chicken stock.
6. Fill another large pot halfway with salted water. Be sure that you have a lid for the pot.
7. Now that chicken has cooled, remove fat and discard. Shred the meat and set aside for the soup. You can save the bones to make another stock later but be sure to at least save one leg bone for your Seder plate.
7. Your matzo balls are ready to be formed! Take a large spoon of batter and roll into a ball. Drop into the pot of boiling salted water. Repeat till you’ve used all your batter. You get extra points if you manage to make an even 18 balls (the number 18 for Jews is a spiritual number that symbolizes the word “chai” meaning life.)
8. Lower boiling water to a simmer and cover and cook matzo for 30 minutes.
9. As your matzo balls are cooking, return your chicken stock to a boil and add in chopped carrots. Cook till just soft (about 10 minutes). Reduce heat again to a simmer and add in chopped onion and remaining dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
10. You can move your cooked matzo balls to the soup and serve immediately or store them separately if you are making in advance.
11. Be sure when you serve to ask how many matzo balls your guests want and serve your broth piping hot. Enjoy!

Minestrone Soup


I left New York for London in the middle of a blizzard and returned to a completely different city. Away go the ubiquitous puffer jackets, away goes the blackened grimy snow that has been piled high for weeks. Out comes the sun and all the happiness that Spring brings after another brutal winter. Back to the farmers’ market I skipped and felt the need for copious vegetables after the excessive comfort foods enjoyed during hibernation. A fresh minestrone topped off with a dollop of pesto really hit the spot.


Minestrone Soup


3 tablespoon olive oil

2 white onions, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 leek, washed and sliced

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 bunch of rainbow chard, washed and roughly chopped

2 zucchinis, halved lengthways and sliced thickly

1 handful of spinach, washed and roughly chopped

8 cups of good vegetable stock

1 medium potato, peeled

1 cup of cooked cannellini beans

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Fresh pesto

Parmesan cheese



1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan, then add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.

2. Continue adding the vegetables one at a time, letting each one cook for a minute or 2 before adding the next.

3. When the spinach has been added, season well with salt and add the stock and the potato.

4. Bring the pan to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until the potato is quite soft (approximately 20 minutes).

5. Add the cooked beans and remove the potato with a slotted spoon. Smash the potato with a fork and return to the soup to add thickness.

6. Season with salt and pepper and serve topped with a dollop of pesto (or some peppery extra virgin olive oil) and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Chicken Tortilla Soup


My enthusiastic attempt to start 2015 on the right foot with a 7am run has come to an abrupt halt after catching the bug that seems to be afflicting everyone. I had been feeling a little smug that I had survived the holiday season without so much as a sniffle. The Polar Vortex seems to have returned to NY – it’s ‘hunker down and rummage through the freezer’ time. Thankfully, mine is chock-a-block full of goodies that’ll keep me fed for weeks! I never need venture out again.


The best discovery was Aurora’s Chicken Tortilla Soup that she had made for me late last year as the weather was turning. The heat from Zukali’s fire roasted poblanos were just what I needed and the Ancho Chile Salt was a perfect finish for those crunchy tortilla strips. Not only delicious but filled with magic powers as I was back on my feet in no time at all and ready to start the year!


Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 4-6 or 8 as an appetizer


Canola oil for frying

5 corn tortillas, cut into strips 1/4″ thick

Ancho Chile Salt for seasoning tortilla strips

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 lb chicken breasts (or 3 cups shredded if using leftover)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 large white onion, diced (approximately 2 cups)

1 fresh jalapeño, deveined and seeded then minced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

3 cups chopped tomatoes

2 quarts of chicken stock

1/2 cup Mexican salsa verde

1 jar of Zukali’s Poblanos (use 1 cup diced poblanos)

2 cups cooked black beans (cooked according to package instructions)



1 bunch cilantro, rinsed thoroughly, stems removed, coarsely chopped

1 bunch of scallions, sliced

1 lime juiced, plus extra for serving

1 avocado, chopped

Sour cream to taste



1. In a large skillet, fill the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of canola oil. Heat to frying temperature. To test simply add in one tortilla strip, once small bubbles start to form around the strip the oil is hot enough to go. Fry the tortilla strips till golden brown (about 2-3 minutes) and then place on a paper towel lined plate to cool. Sprinkle strips with Ancho Chile Salt and set aside.

2. In a cast iron pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add seasoned chicken breasts. Sear on medium-high heat until fully cooked and set aside.

3. In the same pot, add remaining olive oil and stir in spices (smoked paprika, cumin and cayenne). Cook about 1 minute, stirring to mix with oil then add in onion, jalapeño, garlic and tomato.

4. Cook onion mixture until caramelized, approximately 8-10 minutes.

5. Next add in stock and salsa verde. Bring mixture to a boil. Meanwhile, shred the chicken.

6. After soup mixture has boiled, reduce to a simmer. Using an immersion blender, puree mixture for about 2 minutes so that soup base thickens. 6. Add in poblanos, shredded chicken and black beans and keep at a simmer for 20 minutes.

7. Turn off heat and stir in 1/4 cup each chopped cilantro and sliced scallions. Squeeze in juice from 1 lime and season to taste with salt.

8. Ladle soup into bowls, topped with tortilla strips, avocado and sour cream. Keep extra cilantro, lime and scallions handy so everyone can garnish to taste.

Thai Coconut, Sweet Potato and Spinach Soup


I spent Christmas at home in London this year and like most people, definitely overindulged! My mother’s inability to eat much at the moment in no way impeded her ability to feed me. There was goose, foie gras, smoked salmon with blinis, pasta, pasta, more pasta and the traditional cotecchino with lentils on New Year’s Day.  The lentils are supposed to represent gold coins. Their abundance and the richness of the cotecchino signify a year of wealth ahead. Here’s hoping!


My father, who miraculously survived a fall down a flight of stairs on Christmas Eve was also intent on sending me back to New York well fed. There was a decadent and delicious old school French dinner complete with escargots, lamb and Tarte Tatin, a wildly over ordered Chinese meal and a nostalgic chicken paprikash that we cooked together (recipe to follow).


All this to say, that when I finally returned to New York after a (not so fun) 37 hour journey home thanks to winter storm Hercules, I was ready to cut back a bit. This is a soup that my father used to make for me years ago and I crave every winter. It is incredibly tasty, easy to make, filling and about as healthy as I’m ever prepared to get. It’s also perfect when you’re hiding from an Arctic vortex. 


I have a week to get beach ready before I leave for my annual holiday with Ben in the sun. I plan to eat this soup for as many meals as possible before Mexico! Once I get there, I’ll be on a diet of guacamole and margaritas. And people say I don’t eat enough greens! 


Thai Coconut, Sweet Potato and Spinach Soup

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 4



2 tablespoons butter

1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 

1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste

1 pint vegetable stock

7 fl oz coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

6 oz fresh baby spinach

Salt and black pepper



1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and fry the potatoes, onion, garlic, ginger and curry paste for about 5 minutes until lightly browned.

2. Add the stock, coconut milk and lime juice.

3. Bring everything to the boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender (approx. 15 minutes).

4. At this point, I turn off the heat and use an immersion blender (blend as smooth as you would like- I like mine about halfway blended so that I can spoon up some potato cubes with each bite).

5. Add the spinach and return to heat, covered for a few minutes.

6. Once the leaves are wilted and the soup is heated through, season to taste and serve warm.


Lolly’s White Bean and Kale soup with Ham


Every year after Thanksgiving, Lolly makes a huge batch of her White Bean and Kale Soup. After the indulgence of the day before, I always look forward to this soup which somehow feels good for the soul. She has played around with the recipe in recent years, using ham hock and chorizo, but no matter what she adds it is always delicious and hearty while somehow still feeling cleansing. This works perfectly as a vegetarian soup but I just can’t resist adding ham.


Lolly’s White Bean and Kale soup with Ham

Serves 6-8



1 1/2 cups of white beans

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for finishing

2 medium yellow onions (roughly chopped)

3 cloves of garlic (crushed and finely chopped)

1 bunch of kale (washed, dried and torn into large pieces)

6 cups of stock (including 1 cup of ham stock if you have it)

2 thick slices of ham, cubed

Salt and pepper to taste



1. Soak the beans overnight in cold water with a tablespoon of salt.

2. The next day, rinse the beans and add to a large pot. Cover with water and bring to boil with another tablespoon of salt.

3. Once the water is boiling, reduce down to a simmer and cook for about an hour (until the beans are tender when tested).

4. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan add a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent.

5. Add the kale to the frying pan and cook for a few minutes covered until the kale is tender.

6. When the beans are ready, drain them and return to the pot over medium heat.

7. Add the kale, onions and stock to the pot and lower to a simmer.

8. Use an immersion blender to thicken the soup. If you don’t have one, just put a few cups of soup in a regular blender, purée and stir back into the pot. (You can change consistency to your liking. The more you blend the smoother the texture.)

9. Once you’ve blended your soup to your desired consistency, add the ham. Continue to cook on low for several minutes until ham has warmed.

10. Serve warm (I like to drizzle with olive oil to finish).