Thursday, May 24, 2012

5 chicken noodle soups (for the eating)

List by Danielle

“And Tom brought him chicken soup until he wanted to kill him. The lore has not died out of the world, and you will still find people who believe that soup will cure any hurt or illness and is no bad thing to have for the funeral either.”
~ John Steinbeck, ‘East of Eden

Getting up in the dark at 6am (hello Moon), coming home in the dark at 6pm, winter lurgies surfing on the warm waves of workroom air-con and rampaging unchecked through friends and family... it leaves me craving hot meals full of nourishing goodness. Preferably with noodles. Or maybe dumplings - oh, dumplings. Now, this is just a warning -- these chicken noodle soups won't fix your emotional turmoil. They're not going to help you relate better to difficult customers, or get you in touch with your inner teenager, or do anything much more than smell fantastic while cooking and give you left-overs for lunch. But, really, isn't that enough?!

Seems there are a myriad ways to make a simple (or not-so-simple) soup of chicken and noodles. One of the nice things about our cookbook collection at the library is that you can find so many styles of cooking, from Dummies-type guides that walk you through step by step, to books that assume masterchef status and will push you to make things that are way outside your normal kitchen comfort zone. Why not try experimenting with some new ingredients or techniques (make your own stock, if you dare!), and give winter a big old injection of delicious soup?

Slow food doesn't mean taking forever to cook a meal. It's about taking the time to enjoy good food - choosing seasonal ingredients and sharing the results with family and friends. Most of the recipes in Slow Food Bible are simple to prepare, and much of the time involved is allowing the ingredients to simmer away while you get on with other things, or simply kick back and relax. There's a feast of recipes for all seasons, from hearty braises to lighter vegetables and sides and, of course, irresistable year-round desserts. There are tips on using slow cookers, and for shortcuts that won't compromise flavour or goodness.

Chicken Noodle Soup
A simple, unfancy soup with vermicelli noodles and the honourable trio of carrot, celery and onion. There are some lovely, winterish recipes in this book that look like they'd adapt well to a slow cooker, and some intriguing tastes to try (chicken with pomegranate and walnuts, for instance).

From Comfort food (The complete idiot's guide)  / by Leslie Bilderback.
In this mouth-watering addition to the Idiot's Guide cooking line, award-winning chef and author Leslie Bilderback serves up a hearty helping of tasty, soul-soothing recipes that curb your craving for comfort food. With recipes for everything from casseroles to cookies, you'll find all the home-cooked family favourites you remember from the past, as well as those you'll want to share with the next generation.

Chicken Soup / Extra-Hearty Chicken Soup / Matzo Ball Soup / Tortilla Soup
The basic soup here couldn't be easier and, as you might expect, includes a minimum of easy-to-prepare ingredients, such as frozen peas. However, if you want to be a little more experimental, it provides tips to turn the chicken soup into any of the three variants, including some easy instructions for making your own dumplings. They look like they might taste a bit like cheese scones?

From The confident cook : the favourite recipes of Cuisine food editor / Lauraine Jacobs ; photography by Kieran Scott
Celebrating New Zealand's clean green, flavour-filled produce and recommending wine matches from among our huge range of peerless wines, this book by the longtime food editor of Cuisine is aimed at home cooks who want to cook well and expand their repertoire and who are passionate about food and wine.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Shiitake and Fennel
Comes with instructions for making two different kinds of home-made chicken stock, as a base. With ginger, coriander and lime leaves as well as shiitake mushrooms and fennel bulbs, it looks like it would have plenty of flavour! If you've got a bit of extra time to make the stock (and extra money to buy the special ingredients), looks like a winner.

There are a huge range of noodles available, wheat, rice, bean starch and buckwheat, to name but a few. This book is packed with recipes from China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Also there are tips on choosing, cooking and storing noodles.

Not one but TWO soups: Chicken Noodles in Coconut Soup / Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
I particularly like the idea of a coconut milk-based soup, and I've never tried cooking with lime leaves or lemongrass before. Both soups include fish sauce, which I used to be a little shy of until I tried it in a beef salad dressing - wow.

Features a collection of recipes, ranging from the Duelos y Quebrantos and Persian Chicken Supper through variations on everyday Italian or French classics to simple and comforting nursery food.

Chicken Soup (and variations)
This is one of those cookbooks that I wouldn't automatically pick up. It has many, many words and no photographs. And getting sucked into reading it the moment I flicked it open at 'chicken soup' reminds me that reading about food - recipes, philosophies of preparation, stories about other people's dinner parties - can be just as appetising as a glossy pic of soup in a rustic bowl, if you've got the time to read more than just a no-frills recipe. More excellent dumpling instructions, and, guys -- this soup uses GIN flavourings. Hooooly... as my kids would say. 

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