Monday, 21 January 2013

Drop By for Lunch!

Brodo Vegetale allo Zenzero con Uovo alla Stracciatella
Ginger & Vegetable Egg-Drop Soup

I hiked home from work today at lunchtime... 30 minutes with spikes on my boots, through ice and snow. Needles to say, by the time I got there I was freezing cold, my wooly hat was wet with snow and had frozen frozen onto my head, I was starving and tired and those are all not good things! So what was I to do? Well, obviously the best thing in a situation when everything seems bad- is to do something good!

I did not cook up my own vegetable broth to make this. In an ideal world, maybe I could have. But this is the real world and I am a real-life person that does actually have vegetable bouillon on hand in my kitchen. Sure, I usually manage wonderfully without, but today it was my salvation! It made it possible for me to have a yummy egg-drop soup ready in just the short time it took me to get showered and warm... I call that great multi-tasking! ;-)

So I started off by stirring together my vegetable broth. No big deal there. But as it was, it would have been rather boring, so I added some finely sliced ginger, a little 5-spice powder and a couple of celery leaves, just to infuse it with a bit more, richer flavor. And then I skipped off to take that well-deserved warm shower!

About 10 minutes later, refreshed and a little warmer... but still starving- I returned to my vegetable broth, which was now smelling deliciously of ginger and spice. I fished out the ginger to use as a garnish later, discarded the celery leaves and got busy with the 2 remaining ingredients- a humble egg... and some even humbler cornstarch.

You may or may not want to add cornstarch in order to bind and lightly thicken your soup- I used it for 2 reasons. The main reason being, that a little cornstarch added to your beaten egg, will let it form into much nicer threads that do not clump so much and simply look nicer. The second reason being... well, once I had fetched it out of the cupboard- I thought to myself, why not?!? So I added a half teaspoonful to my single egg and diluted 1 tablespoonful with a little water and added that to the soup. I let the flour cook into the soup for 4-5 minutes before adding the egg, so that it had a chance to thicken and blend nicely into the other flavors.

I then gently stirred the soup, away from the heat and trickled the beaten egg and cornstarch mix in evenly... and smiled! I just love the way those "egg flowers" as they are sometimes called, appear out of nowhere! Once I had emptied all of the egg into the soup, I returned it to the hat stovetop, with the power switched off, to gently warm through whilst I chopped a little Spring onion to add, along with the threads of ginger, as a savory garnish. Along with a sprinkle of chili, they add the extra kick that makes this mild and comforting soup a little extra yummy! Yes- I already told you yesterday- I can handle a whole lot of comforting and simple dishes in these cold Winter months... I am hoping you can too!

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