Category: Recipes

Hot and Sour Soup with Noodles

Photography By Ryan Szulc
Photography By Ryan Szulc

My simplified version of Michael Smith’s “Hot-and-Sour Broth 
with Asian Noodles” (Michael Smith) comes from his “Back To Basics” cook book, but you can also find it on-line here.

This recipe makes 4 servings and can be successfully doubled for 8 servings.

The original recipe calls for shiitake mushrooms, but I’m not crazy about mushrooms in soup (or edamame), so I added bamboo shoots instead.

The cornstarch/vinegar mixture is also not essential (I’ve made it with and without).


225 g shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 can if bamboo shoots (thinly sliced)
2 carrots, grated
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
4 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp 
sambal oelek or your favourite 
chili-garlic sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch*
2 tbsp rice vinegar*
340 g udon noodles
1 2-inch piece frozen ginger, grated
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Back To Basics
Back To Basics


In a large soup pot combine the mushrooms, carrot, edamame, chicken broth, soy sauce and sambal. Bring the works to a simmer over medium high heat.

Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and rice vinegar in a small bowl. When the soup is simmering, gently 
stir in the cornstarch mixture; continue to simmer, stirring, until it thickens 
the soup, just a minute or two.*

Add the udon noodles (I’ve used other rice noodles as well) and continue cooking and stirring until they’re soft and tender.

To finish the soup, stir in the grated 
ginger, green onions, and sesame oil.

Add thinly sliced beef or pork to the hot broth, just before serving! Yum!

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Simple Bran Muffin Recipe

As you can see, a well used and easy to follow bran muffin recipe.

Simple bran muffins
A well used bran muffin recipe with thanks to Grace Best.

You’ll need a large mixing bowl, a blender and a muffin tray. Then…

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp molasses

Cream all in a large bowl with a mixer.

  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of natural bran
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 3/4 cups of flower

Add all to the mixture in the bowl.

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 tsp baking soda

Add soda to milk in a separate container.
Add the milk and soda mixture to the bowl (mix).

  • 2 eggs

Fold in eggs while mixing.


  • Raisins
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Blueberries

 Add optional ingredients (mix)

Add mixture to muffin trays (each cup should be 3/4 full).  Be sure to grease or “Pam” the muffin trays!

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

Test if they’re done by stabbing muffins with a very sharp knife, if the knife comes out clean the muffins are done.



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Simple Black Bean Soup

The original recipe from Whitewater Cooks with Friends is called “sopa de black bean with salsa crema”.

My version is slightly less spicy and I go with croutons as a topping, so I dropped the “with salsa crema“…


  • 2 cups dried black beans (soak them overnight)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 med onions
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 28 oz can tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce (any good bbq sauce)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 cup cilantro (a little less is okay too)


  • Sauté onions in the oil in a soup pot
  • Add peppers and spices
  • Add stock, bbq sauce & tomatoes
  • Drain beans, add beans to pot
  • Bring to boil, then simmer for 2 hours (until the beans are soft) or maybe even 3 hours
  • Let it cool a bit, then puree with a hand blender – immersion blender
  • Add juice, cilantro… Salt and pepper.


  • Top with a few croutons (or sour cream and salsa)
  • It freezes really well
  • This soup serves 8 to 10
  • Black beans are turtle beans (same thing)
  • More about Black Beans here and here


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Stupid Simple Pea Soup – Recipe

You will need…

  • Not my pea soup.1 soup pot (a pot that can hold 10 cups of liquid)
  • A kitchen wand (hand blender – immersion blender)
  • 2 1/2 cups of dried split peas
  • 2 cups of leftover cold ham, chopped up in small cubes
  • 2 cups of chopped up onions (2 medium onions)
  • 2 cups of chopped up carrots
  • 1 cup of chopped up celery

* chopped up = cut into really small pieces. The size isn’t that important, but all veggie pieces should be about the same size so they cook at the same rate.

  • A teaspoon of Olive oil (or any cooking oil)
  • 9 cups of liquid

* liquid = you can use prepared stock (2 tetra packs is 8 cups, so use 2 tetra packs and then add 1 cup of water). -or-  make your own with chicken stock powder (8 teaspoons of powder for 9 cups of water).

  • Salt, Pepper and 1 teaspoon of Oregano. Maybe a Bay Leaf if you have one.
  • Croutons (your choice).


  • Place pot on stove.
  • Add oil to pot.
  • Turn heat to medium.
  • Add the veggies and heat them for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the 9 cups of liquid.
  • Add the 2 1/2 cups of dried split peas. Rinse the peas in cold water then add them to the liquid and veggies in the pot.
  • Season with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of oregano. Add a Bay Leaf if you have one (be sure to remove it BEFORE you go at it with a kitchen wand)
  • Bring to boil, then reduce to a low temp (lowest setting), cover with lid (leaving a small gap for steam to escape) and let it simmer for 2 hours.
  • You will be able to tell when it’s ready by tasting.  If the peas are still crunching or hard, keep cooking.
  • Remove Bay leaf.
  • Let it cool a bit, then use your kitchen wand (hand blender – immersion blender) to puree.  Work the wand around the pot (careful not to splash the hot soup on yourself) until you get the consistency you want.
  • Return the soup to low heat and slowly heat it to desired temperature for serving. Stir it once in a while to stop if from globbing on the bottom of the pot.
  • Serve with croutons on top!


  • Serve with croutons on top.
  • It freezes really well.
  • This soup serves 8.

That beautiful photo of pea soup & croutons is not mine, it’s from here.  I hope you don’t mind me using it. It’s what I would like my soup to look like.

By: Mike Benny

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A perfect soft boiled egg

Seems like whenever I want a soft boiled egg I end up Google-ing this…

soft-boiled-egg1. Put cold water in a pot (2/3’s full).

2. Put the lid on the pot and bring it to a full boil.

3. Once the water is boiling, gently place the egg in the boiling water (you can do more than one, as long as they don’t touch).

Leave the lid off.

4. Turn down the temperature on the boiling water, but keep it bubbling.

5. Leave the egg in the boiling water for…

  • 5 minutes for a runny egg 🙁
  • 5:30 for a soft boiled egg 🙂
  • 6 minutes if you don’t like it runny :|

6. Once the time is up, remove the egg from the pot carefully with a spoon and place it in an egg cup.

The timing is important. Don’t let it sit too long. The egg will continuing cooking until you open it.

Did this work for you?

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How to make Yam soup

This is a very simple Yam recipe that makes a brightly colored, rich tasting soup. A great comfort food on a chilly day!


You could use Sweet Potatoes instead of Yams, but you would lose the color.


  • 4 medium size yams. (peeled and cut into 1.5 inch thick chucks)
  • 1 medium onion. (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp oil.
  • Approx 2 litres (2 quarts) of chicken soup stock. (I use two of those 950 ml chicken soup stock tetra-packs)
  • 1 tbsp of Maple Syrup.
  • Optional: sour cream & chives or seasoned croutons.


  • Chop the onion and saute in a small pan with the oil.
  • Peel and chop yams (cut into 1.5 inch thick chucks) then place in a large soup pot.
  • Add just enough water to cover the yams and then cover and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat and let simmer until yams are soft, but not too mushy.
  • Drain the “yam water”, leaving the yams in the soup pot.
  • Add the chicken stock and the sauteed onions to the soup pot.
  • Simmer soup mixture for an hour or so, then set aside and let it cool down a bit.
  • Once cooler, use a hand blender (immersion blender) to blend the soup.
  • Once it looks nice and smooth and a bright orange color (a bit like tomato soup), add the syrup and return to heat until you’re ready to serve.
  • Top with a dollop of sour cream and chives or seasoned croutons when ready to serve.

* This recipe makes a lot of soup, so cut the recipe in half for serving less than four.

** It freezes well too!

Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are starchier and drier. Yams are a monocot (a plant having one embryonic seed leaf) and from the Dioscoreaceae family. Sweet Potatoes, in parts of the world called ‘yams’, are a dicot (a plant having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea family. See Yam on Wikipedia



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