dry white wine

German asparagus soup

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Agnes 008In Germany May is the season for eating asparagus. I prepared a white asparagus soup on the other day from puréed asparagus and broth, with some cream added. The heads of the asparagus spears were held back until the last minutes of cooking.


1/2 c. chopped onion (1 small), 2 tbsp butter, 1 1/2 -2 lb. white asparagus, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces, heads reserved, 6 c. broth, either chicken or vegetable, 1/2 c. half and half cream/sour cream, salt, to taste, fresh ground pepper, to taste, dry white wine, to taste, parsley for garnish, cheddar cheese, croutons, ham slices


Peel white asparagus before chopping it into small pieces.

Sauté the onion in the butter until soft. Add the pieces of asparagus (minus the heads) and steam for 5 minutes. Add the broth and boil gently for about 30 minutes, or until the asparagus is very soft. Flavour with a pinch of sugar.

Purée the soup in batches in the blender or with a hand blender and return to pan.

Bring to a simmer and add the reserved asparagus heads and some cheddar cheese. Cook at least for 5 more minutes, or until they are fork-tender. Turn down the heat and add sour cream. Do not boil further.

Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. You can add a few spoonfuls of white wine, or juice of a lemon (2 tbsp) if you think the soup needs acidity. Top with croutons and sliced ham. Garnish with parsley or spring onion rings.

St Jacques scallops with quinoa

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Xmas 2012 Belgium 165St Jacques scallop with quinoa

  • 1 pound bay scallops, 1 small onion, sliced, 1/2 lemon, sliced, 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1/2 cup water, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 6 ounces mushroom, stems trimmed and wiped clean, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, pinch cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley, 2 tablespoons minced spring onions, 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere, 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the broiler. Lightly butter the insides of 4 large ramekins and place on a baking sheet. Set aside. In a large skillet or saute pan, combine the scallops, onion slices, lemon slices, bay leaf, wine, and water. Bring to a simmer and gently poach the scallops until just firm, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Strain the scallop cooking liquid into a clean container. Reserve the scallops on a plate.

In a clean large saute pan or medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan the mushrooms were cooked in and melt over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, to form a light roux. Slowly add the strained poaching liquid, whisking constantly, and cook until thick, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and whisk well. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Add the parsley and green onions, and simmer for 1 minute. Add the cream and Gruyere, stir well, and remove from the heat. Fold in the scallops and mushrooms, and pour into the prepared ramekins. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, butter. Sprinkle over the scallop mixture and top with the Parmesan. Run under the broiler until just crisp and brown, being careful not to overcook, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Preparation of the quinoa

Ingredients: 2 tbs olive oil, 5 (about 200g) button mushrooms, thickly sliced, 1 L (4 cups) salt-reduced chicken stock, 1 leek, thinly sliced, 1 garlic clove, crushed, 175g quinoa, 2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked, 80g (1/2 cup) frozen peas, 70g (1 cup) finely grated parmesan, 50g baby rocket leaves, 1 lemon, juiced

Directions: Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir in mushroom for 5 minutes or until brown. Transfer to a bowl. Meanwhile, place the stock in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer. Heat remaining oil in the frying pan. Stir in leek and garlic for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add mushroom, quinoa and thyme. Stir to coat. Add 80ml (1/3 cup) of the stock to the rice mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed. Add the stock, 80ml (1/3 cup) at a time, stirring constantly and allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding more stock. Continue for 20 minutes, adding the peas halfway through cooking, until the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Stir in the parmesan and season. Combine the rocket and lemon juice in a bowl. Divide the quinoa into serving bowls and top with the rocket mixture.