I stood on the bathroom scale and the needle accelerated to the right. A bit too far right for my liking. I looked at the numbers. What???!!! One hundred...****....Yarrgh!!! Boing! Boing! Boing! (That was my eyeballs popping, not my belly fats bouncing, thank you). I stared at the numbers again. Not good. Not good at all.
To torture myself further, I took out my measuring tape and measured my vital statistics. The reading : Still the same-too big-too big. I tell you, these fats never go to the right place. I regained the 15 or so pounds I lost no thanks to the bags of Twisties, Mr Potato and Doritos (the Smokin' BBQ is really good, don't try it) I have been munching to cheer myself up. Work and deadlines does put a damper on my spirits but chowing down on sodium laden carbs is not the answer.
No wonder my waistband is choking me and I feel vibrations when I climb up the stairs. In all fairness, this shouldn't be cause for unnecessary panic. I mean, I'm still below 200lbs muahahahaha!!! But still.......
I needed to take stock of the situation and start eating healthy. And I mean healthy, no more empty carbs and junk food. Yah, yah, I know I shouldn't be stuffing my face with things like Rempeyek and I promised myself that that would be my last indulgence.
So when I came upon this recipe for Old Fashioned Mushroom and Barley Soup, I decided that this is going to be the start to my eat healthy resolve. This soup calls for Shitake and Button Mushrooms. I guess any kind of mushroom that can withstand long simmering would be alright. Another ingredient is Pearl Barley, something I did not expect to use in a soup.
After cooking the soup, I eagerly dug in. It was good but the tomato puree was too overpowering for me. It was sour and smelt very strong. I should have used less than what was called for in the recipe. Also I felt that Shitake mushrooms were not suitable for this soup. After that one bowl, I decided that I could improve the soup further. Sad to say, the remainder of the soup went into the compost heap.
My solution to jazzing up this beautiful soup is bacon. Oh yes, everything tastes good with bacon :) And it's partner in crime - sausages. I fried the bacon until brown and crispy, removed it from the pot and then fried the sausages. Once browned, I removed the sausages and sauteed the onions, garlic and ginger until the onions were wilted and slightly brown.
|The evil accomplices.|
Then I added the carrots, mushrooms, water, chicken stock, pearl barley and the bacon and sausages. Instead of tomato puree, I added 2 cups of tomato ketchup with 1/4 cup tomato puree. The soup was simmered until the barley was tender.
Old-Fashioned Mushroom and Barley Soup
Recipe Source : Reader's Digest Eat Well Stay Well (page 139)
(My adaptations are in red)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (I used more than this)
- 1 onion, finely chopped (I used 2 big onions, sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used 5 cloves, roughly chopped)
- 2 carrots, diced
- 375g button mushrooms, sliced (I used 200g)
- 125g shitake mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced (I used 250g Portobello mushrooms)
- 1/2 cup pearl barley (I would reduce this to 1/4 cup next time)
- 2 cups chicken stock (1 used 2 cubes Maggi chicken stock)
- 1 cup tomato puree (I mixed 2 cups tomato ketchup with 1/4 cup tomato puree)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 1/2 inch fresh ginger, finely julienned)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (I omitted)
- 2 cups water (I used about 800ml water but please adjust to your preferred consistency)
- 3 rashers streaky bacon, cut into smaller pieces.
- 250g pork sausages, cut into 1" pieces (I used low sodium Taiwan sausages)
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat.
2. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
3. Add the carrots and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes or until crisp-tender.
4. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until tender.
5. Stir in the barley, stock, 2 cups water, the tomato puree, ginger and pepper.
6. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes or until the barley is tender.
7. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
My method :
1. Heat oil in pot and fry the bacon until brown. Remove and set aside.
2. In the same oil, fry sausages until brown. Remove and set aside.
3. Add more oil of necessary and sautee the onions, garlic and ginger until onions and wilted and slightly brown.
4. Add carrots and stir for about 5 minutes.
5. Add mushrooms, stir and add water, barley, chicken stock, bacon, sausages and tomato ketchup/tomato puree. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 50 minutes or until barley is tender.
6. Adjust seasoning and serve.
This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.