Posts Tagged ‘cooking for friends’

Yesterday I made THE SOUP of THE SEASON 🙂

It’s absolutely summery, fresh, green, delicate and delicious. You need to serve it with some fabulous Parmigiano biscuits for an extra wow factor.

Try this amazing green pea and mint combo and drool over it 🙂

Perfect for a dinner party. Perfect for a sunny lunch out in the garden (or on the balcony in my case).


I found the recipe in the Good Food magazine, April issue, and amended it slightly by adding some extra veggies like leek, celery stalks and sweet onion. The recipe comes from Marianne Lumb, the finalist of Master Chef: The Professionals. (I miss that series so much). I remember Marianne was always so good at flavour combinations yet not so perfect at visual presentation of her tasty dishes. I’m sure by now she is simply excellent at anything she does in her kitchen.

You can view the original recipe here.

Green Peas & Mint soup

Serves 3

pea and mint soup by Asia Jo

You will need:

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 leek, sliced (white part till and the soft part of the leaves as well)

2 celery stalks, diced

2 potatoes, diced

700 ml chicken stock

450 g frozen garden green peas

1 handful of mint leaves

3 tbsp Parmesan, finely grated


Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pan. Add the onion, leek, celery and potato cubes.

Fry for 5 minutes. Add the stock and cook for another 10 minutes or till the potato pieces are tender.

Add the peas and cook for a few minutes till done. Turn off the heat. Add the fresh mint leaves and bled everything nicely in a blender. The soup should have a lovely creamy and smooth texture. If too thick, add more stock or cooked water.

Get started with the Parmesan biscuits: warm up the frying pan but not too hot. divide the parmesan into 6 round piles or stripes. Let the cheese melt a bit and turn into a golden colour. Move the biscuits to a plate lined with a piece of a paper towel and let them cool.

Reheat the soup and serve it hot and decorated with fresh mint+celery leaves and the Parmesan biscuits.


pea and mint soup by Asia Jo

pea and mint soup by Asia Jo

pea and mint soup + Parmesan biscuits by Asia Jo


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Cooking for friends is fun and lovely, especially when your friends are chocoholics 🙂

Last night I had two friends coming over for a small dinner party. After eating a 2kg roast chicken, I served my homemade brownies (totally made from scratch). Even though the consumption of the big bird made us really full, we still had some space left for a piece of  rich, gooey but heavenly chocolaty brownies. I have to admit they were a hit considering the comment my friend made after munching the second piece of brownies:

‘It’s so good to know the cause of your death!’ … and we all laughed, laughed and laughed …

Please note: Too much chocolate is never good but a small piece of good 70% cocoa dark chocolate is a healthier option 🙂

Enjoy your life and let chocolate release your happiness hormone!

Recipe adopted from: Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver

Dark Chocolate brownies with nuts and cherries

chocolate brownies by Asia Jo

You will need:

250 g butter

200 g dark chocolate such as (make sure you use a very good quality chocolate such as Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Dark), broken up

150 g pitted cherries on syrup, drained

150 g walnuts

80 g cocoa powder, sifted

65 g plain flour, sifted

1 tsp baking powder, sifted

350 g caster sugar

4 eggs

strawberries, creme fraiche or vanilla ice creams, to serve


Preheat the oven to 180 ℃.

Line a rectangular baking tin with a baking paper.

In a bowl over some simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate and mix until smooth. Add the cherries and nuts. Stir all together.

In another bowl, mix the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, sugar and add the hot chocolate mixture. Stir well. Beat the eggs and mix in until well combined and smooth.

Pour the mixture into the baking tin. Bake for 25 -30 minutes. Let it rest in a tin for a couple of hours before cutting into pieces. The brownies should be gooey inside; for a slightly drier version bake a bit longer.

These brownies rock!

chocolate brownies by Asia Jo

chocolate brownies by Asia Jo

chocolate brownies by Asia Jo

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Bizarrely, I have always liked goat cheese salad even though I have never been a great fan of goat cheese. I guess it’s that amazing combination of warm goat cheese and honey, cinnamon flavoured pear, pine nuts and beetroot that make me happy with the savour and texture of this dish …. My goat cheese salad is perfect for smart lunch or light supper, however it would also make an excellent starter when cooking for friends.

Just so you know, I created the recipe myself, though I was inspired by several salads I have eaten in various restaurants. The recipe is quick and can be easily adjusted by adding more or less ingredients. I used a honey-mustard-lime juice dressing, yet you may want to substitute it with a good quality virgin olive oil and balsamico. Finally, warm crunchy ciabatta and well chilled white wine, will perfectly accompany this meal.

Satisfying, full of flavours, elegant – enjoy it!

Goat cheese salad with poached pear

Serves 2

goat cheese salad

by Asia(Jo)

You will need:

1 package of mixed baby leaves lettuce

1 cooked beetroot, cut into quarters and sliced

2 radishes, sliced

1 spring onion, sliced

4 large cherry tomatoes, halved

2 logs of soft goat cheese

2 tablespoons of honey

1 handful of pine nuts, toasted

2 small pears

1 small cinnamon stick

zest of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1 glass of white wine

cold water

1 pre baked ciabata bread

For the dressing: This time I didn’t follow a recipe, just mixed some Dijon mustard with honey, lime juice and olive oil, salt and pepper.


If unwashed, clean the lettuce and then divide between two large plates. Add the beetroot, tomatoes, radish and spring onion.

To poach the pears, peal and place in the pan together with white wine, cinnamon stick, lemon zest, sugar. Add cold water to cover the pears. Cook for a few minutes making sure the fruit is soft yet firm at the same time. Avoid overcooking the pears for esthetic reasons.

Arrange the goat cheese in a lightly greased ovenproof dish. Pour over the honey and warm up in a moderate oven. Spoon the dressing over the salad leaves. Arrange the pears in the middle of each plate and finally add the warm goat cheese. To serve, sprinkle the cheese with some toasted pine nuts. This will make a difference to the flavour!

It’s a lovely salad – give it a try 🙂

poached pear

by Asia(Jo)

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