French Onion Soup

20160507-021922-8362211.jpgI had no idea why am I so intrigue to make this soup. Probably because I was super curious of how a french onion soup taste but there’s no french restaurant around me that I know of sell this soup or even if they do, I bet it cost a fortune. And for me, one of the reason of why I love to cook and bake is because I can make food that I can’t actually buy. I think that this is one of the benefits too of being able to cook. Anyone agree?

A french onion soup is clearly a soup that you can make when you don’t know what to eat but feeling for something decent. The ingredients are pretty basic too but I actually planned on making this dish for about a week (because unfortunately I haven’t got the time to make it and take photos of it). And alas, I did make it and I can tell you, I looooove it!

I think we should get to the cooking part A.S.A.P, shall we?

20160507-023019-9019468.jpgI think this part is obvious from the name, the french onion soup, you can guess that the star of the show are onions.

Yep! First step of this french onion soup is chopping some onions.
Here’s a tip to keep your eyes from tearing, I always put my onions in the fridge overnight. I have no scientific explanation here but it works.

20160507-024055-9655895.jpgLike any good french recipe, it all starts with butter. Oh yeah, a french onion soup is one of them.

Put some butter and olive oil in a saucepan and let it get melted and hot.

20160509-013300-5580688.jpgNext, put all those chopped onions that you’ve cried over into the butter and oil.

Then just start caramelizing it! This may take a good 7-10 minutes depending the heat of your stove. Here’s a tip, don’t stir it constantly or else it will take forever! I stir mine around every 30 seconds or so. Don’t stress too much about burning the onions. After all, we’re aiming for that caramelization (a.k.a one step before burning something that has a sugar content)

At first it may look like it’s a crazy amount of onions and your pan won’t fit in the end for all that soup, but trust me, it’s not. I first thought that this much onion need a big soup pan but hey, totally miscalculate it. But better save than having hot soup all over your stove (or even myself), right?

20160509-014756-6476183.jpgNow that you’ve caramelized those onions, deglaze the pan. Traditionally, they use wine to deglaze the flavour bits on the pan, but since nobody in my family drink alcohol on daily basis (just on special holidays), having a bottle of wine in the house is not a common thing in my family, oh and I’m not in my legal age yet so I can’t just stroll in and buy a bottle of wine which I will most probably just use for cooking this french onion soup.

But I do have some mild red wine vinegar so, I used that. For those of you who don’t want to use alcohol at all, you could use other type of vinegar like apple cider vinegar.

Then pour in your stock! I’m using a chicken stock but if you want, you can use beef stock or any stock/broth that you prefer! And also, to make this soup totally vegetarian, you could also substitute for vegetable stock.

20160509-014711-6431793.jpgNow chuck in the herbs. I put some bay leaves and notice the tea strainer tied with a string? I put some dried thyme and a bit of rosemary in because I don’t have the plant and I don’t feel like buying the whole bunch just to use a couple of stalks and found it tucked away in the back of the fridge a couple of months later.

If you don’t have a tea strainer, you can use a little piece of cloth, filled with the herbs and tied into a little bundle (of joy).

Once the herbs and aromatics are in, just let this nearly finished french onion soup simmer away.

20160509-112944-41384421.jpgOh yeah, once the soup is done, spoon some of it to an oven proof bowl then to the next components that make a french onion soup, the french onion soup.

To create that signature french onion top, you’ll need:
The cheese, grated. I used emmental cheese but traditionally, they use a good french cheese which is gruyere.
The bread, sliced. Usually they use some french baguette but for this, I used a semi baguette walnut bread which is a bit softer than a regular baguette and I love that walnut for texture.

20160509-113621-41781142.jpgToast your bread with a bit of butter, then rub a garlic clove all over the bread (don’t forget the sides!).

20160509-113741-41861474.jpgRest them on top of the onion soup. I used 2 slices of bread because I want to cover the whole bowl and also, I love bread and soup!

20160509-202342-73422493.jpgTop the garlicky slice of bread with loads of cheese and into the broiler it goes!

20160509-225142-82302754.jpgLook how pleasing this bowl french onion soup.. Aromatic and packed with flavours onion soup, toasted garlicky walnut bread and melty cheese….

20160509-225638-82598823.jpgOh dear french people, why did you always ruin my diet with your creation….

20160512-234036-85236611.jpgA close up look of this glorious soup, just because.

20160509-225942-82782398.jpgHave I ever told you that I am currently learning french?
Anyway, I found the recipe of this soup in one of the recipe book written in french on the library of the french institution (where I’m currently learning french). The book is in french so… It has to be the real deal then, right? But well.. I’ve changed a few things especially on the quantity (the original recipe calls for 10 big onions…) of the soup.

20160512-234753-85673104.jpgWait, doesn’t this mean it’s not so traditional anymore? Hemm… Maybe.. I guess? But I did some research on it and nevertheless, it is GOOD!
So.. Let’s just say that it’s my take on a french onion soup then.

P.s: have I told you that this dish is called soupe à l’oignon gratinée? “Soupe à l’oignon” literally means onion soup and “gratinée” is the signature bread and broiled melted cheese top.

20160513-000407-247860.jpgHave a good one everybody!

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French Onion Soup Recipe
Make 2 servings (medium to small bowl portion)

Ingredients:
• 3 big onions
• 3 tbsp butter
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 30 – 50 ml white wine/ apple cider vinegar
• 500 ml beef/chicken/vegetables stock
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tsp dried thyme (or a couple of stalks of fresh ones)
• 1 tsp dried rosemary (or a couple of stalks of fresh ones)
• Salt and pepper
• Baguette + a bit of butter
• 1 clove of garlic (peeled)
• Grated cheese (traditionally gruyere)

How to make it:
1) Peel and slice your onions into thin pieces.
2) Heat up the butter and olive oil, then cook the sliced onions until it caramelized (around 7-10 minutes, on medium high heat).
3) Once the onion caramelized and browned, pour the wine/vinegar to deglaze the pan, don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the pan for all the flavours.
4) Pour in the stock and put the bay leaves, thyme and rosemary in. Simmer the soup until just started to boil. Add in the salt and pepper.
5) Slice the baguette into pieces (the thickness is to your preference). Smear the butter on the sides and toast them until golden brown. Once toasted, rub the garlic on the bread until the breads become garlicky.
6) Pour the soup into an oven proof bowl, put the garlicy toasted bread on top then cover the top with grated cheese. Put it under the broiler for 5-7 minutes or until melted and slightly golden brown.

Salmon Pesto Cream Soup with Bread Bowl

20160111-140138-50498883.jpgFirst thing first, Happy new year everybody!!! This is the first post of 2016.

Although this is not a festive new years theme food, but why not (still) celebrate the new year?

Anyway, this food is more rustic and comforting since it’s still the winter time (or rainy season in my case). A great winter warmer meal that’s great eaten in the cold days.

This soup is actually a last minutes dump everything I got kinda soup since i’ve made the bread bowl but haven’t decided what will goes inside, and once I opened my fridge, turns out i don’t have that much of a food supply.
And yes, this post is mostly about making the bread bowl from scratch.

Let’s get started on the bread bowl, shall we?

20160112-210252-75772675.jpgFirst, dump all the dry ingredients which are flour, yeast, sugar, salt and wheat in a working surface then mix it together until all has combined.

Well of course you can mix it in a bowl but I just feel like making this in the counter is easier.

20160112-210342-75822456.jpgNext, make a well in the middle and pour in the warm water, butter and egg, mix until all incorporated.

Now I am making a wholewheat bread bowl, but if you want, you can just omit the wheat bran to make regular white bread bowl.

20160112-210417-75857356.jpgKnead the dough until the gluten developed, you can tell by when it’s no longer sticky, and when you poked the dough, it will spring back.

20160112-210450-75890196.jpgNow it’s time to let the yeast do their work! Let it rest for about 1 hour in room temperature or 30 minutes in a warm oven at about 70°C.

20160112-210536-75936751.jpgSplit the dough into the desired size.

I just weigh them in total then split it into two.

Put on a baking tray lined with parchment paper then let it rest for 10 more minutes in warm place until it rise again.

20160112-210946-76186170.jpgOnce risen, bake in the oven.

This is the most important part! Spray water all over the bread after 10 minutes of baking. This form a crusty crust that makes a good barrier so that the soup won’t leak, also makes it better because it’s crispy!

20160112-221717-80237969.jpgNow on to the soup.
As I’ve said before, I don’t really have the step by step pictures of how to make the soup because this post is more about the bread bowl, well actually also because I made a base soup then decided to add something more and went scavenging on my fridge and totally forgot to take pictures if it.

Anyway, to make the soup, cut the onion and zucchini into little dices.

20160114-191050-69050584.jpgNext, sauté them butter, then add the flour. This will thicken the soup later.

Cook until the flour has dissapear

20160114-191214-69134723.jpgAdd in milk bit by bit. If you put it all at once, it might make the soup goes lumpy because the roux (the butter and flour mixture) haven’t completely absorbed the milk.

Next thing is to add the pesto.
I made my own pesto because I have a basil tree on my garden, and every time as it has grown too high that it started to bend, I just make it into pesto! Maybe I’ll post the recipe sometimes in the future.

Then, put the salmon pieces in. It will take a little time to cook so just cook it for an additional 3 minutes.

20160114-191346-69226466.jpgCut the top of the bread,hallow out the inside to make the bowl, then pour in the hot soup straight into the bread bowl!

You got yourself a great winter warmer soup!

20160114-191555-69355195.jpgDon’t throw away the bread insides. You can use it for coutons, bread pudding, bread crumbs, stuffings and many more really.

20160114-192127-69687516.jpgAhh.. What’s a better way to go through a cold winter day with a bowl of warm soup. Seriously, I think soups are my most preferred dish.

Maybe my favourite.. But I don’t like to say that a particular food is my favourite because, how can you have a favourite?!? Food is love, and love does not choose…

Okay I’m talking gibberish right now. Sorry.

20160114-192357-69837581.jpgAnyway, I hope 2016 is a bigger and better year.

I haven’t made my new year resolution. Don’t think I’m gonna this year. Because I know me (and most probably every person that make resolutions), I’ll be super optimist and write every resolutions that comes in mind not thinking about wether it’s achievable or not, then completely forget about it 2 weeks later.

20160114-192446-69886660.jpgOne thing that I hope that I can do this year is make a youtube account of the video step by steps from this blog.
Well for me, it is easier and more fun to learn something from watching the step by steps. That’s why I can binge watch youtube for a good amount of time.
I don’t have the camera yet so I guess it has to wait. And in case you’re wondering, I still take pictures of this blog with my phone.

20160114-192555-69955176.jpgHave a good one everybody!

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Salmon Pesto Cream Soup with Bread Bowl
Make 2 servings

Bread Bowl Ingredients:
• 300 g bread flour
• 6 g instant yeast
• 30 g sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• 30 g wheat bran
• 150 ml warm water (around body temperature/36°C)
• 1 small egg
• 45 g unsalted butter

Salmon Pesto Soup ingredients:
The ingredients that I didn’t put any measurements on is adjustable to your liking
• 30 g butter
• Onion
• Zucchini
• 30 g plain flour
• 600 ml milk
• 50 ml cream
• Pesto
• Salmon pieces

How to make:
1) To make the bread bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt and wheat bran in a bowl or counter. Make a well in the center.
2) Put warm water, egg and unsalted butter in the well then mix everything until combined.
Start beating (if using a mixer with a dough hook) or kneading (if done manually) until the gluten in the dough is developed, you can tell by the look of the dough that it’s soft and smooth, no longer sticky and when you pressed the dough with you thumb, the dough will spring back.
3) Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a damped tablecloth then rest it on a warm counter for an hour or in a warm oven (temperature of 70°C or 158°F) for 30 minutes.
4) Once proofed, punch the dough to inflate then weigh the whole dough (mine was 628 g), cut into 2 pieces (314g each) then shape it into a ball.
Put them on a lined baking tray, and let it proof for another 10 minutes in room temperature.
5) Bake them in a preheated oven at 100°C or 212°F for 10 minutes, spray the whole bread with water then bake them some more at 180°C or 360°F for another 30 minutes.
6) Once baked, let cool, cut off the top part then hallow out the inside of the bread.
7) To make the soup, cut the onion and zucchini into dices.
8) Sauté the cut veggies with some butter until slightly cooked then add in the flour, cook until the flour has gone.
9) Pour in the milk little by little adding more once the milk has all absorbed by the roux (butter and flour mixture), once all the milk has been incorporated, add in the cream, keep stirring until thickens.
10) Add the pesto then the salmon, cook for about 3 more minutes.
11) Pour the hot soup into the bread bowls then serve!