Hot and sour mushroom and tofu soup

Hot and sour mushroom and tofu soup

For the cold days ahead of us, this soup fills all the requisites: light and filling, packed with protein from the tofu and egg that go along so well  with the 2 varieties of mushrooms. A rich broth made with chillies, ginger and garlic adds heat and a spicy oriental flare to the soup. The original recipe calls for bamboo shoots instead of my second type of mushroom. It is from Jamie Oliver and you can find it here .


2 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chilly
sea salt
ground white pepper
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger peeled and diced
250 g shitake mushrooms , cleaned
250 g buttom mushroom, finely sliced
vegetable oil
3 tbs low-salt soy sauce
3 to 4 tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp honey

1.5 litres hot vegetable stock
150 g firm tofu cut in 1 cm cubes
2 green onions chopped
½ bunch of chives chopped
1 large egg, beaten


Peel the garlic and deseed the chillies, then roughly chop and place into a pestle and mortar, adding a pinch of salt. Peel, finely chop and add the ginger, combining it well.
Finely slice the buttons mushrooms and separate the threads of the shiitake mushroom.

Heat a tbs of oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and fry for 4 minutes, or until lightly golden. Stir in the chilli paste and mushroons and fry for a little bit.
In the mean time mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, the honey and the white pepper. Stir the mixture into the pan and cook for a minute, then pour in the hot stock and bring gently to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until slightly reduced.

Add the tofu, the spring onions and chives.
Once reduced, remove the soup from the heat. Using a chopstick, stir the soup in a clockwise direction until you get a little whirlpool, then slowly add the beaten egg, stirring continuously to form thin ribbons. Stir in the tofu and return to the heat for 1 minute to warm through. Season to taste with soy and vinegar, then serve immediately with the spring onions and chives on top.

Chocolate, honey and ginger fragrant squares (Pão de mel) and my 100th post!

Chocolate, honey and ginger fragrant squares (Pão de mel) and my 100th post!


So happy that pretty things have come together in this almost one year of blogging and this is my 100th post! I’ve learned so much about food, blogging and myself, met wonderful people and made my family healthier and happier with my cooking. Goal achieved and enthusiasm increased!

So I chose a chocolate and honey treat for this posting, which is simple but very meaningful for me, full of nice memories about life in Brazil and my dance students in my former career: Pão de mel, a brownie kind of treat but with a lighter batter.
Actually this very recipe was given to me by one of them, my lovely and talented Lyed. When we had our reunion last January she actually baked them for me as a gift!

Hope you enjoy the moist cake batter fragrant with honey, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. The chocolate top adds the final and perfect finish with the sweet “melt in your mouth” texture. It is a treat that can be wrapped in pretty paper and given to friends and family. They made up for my Easter treats this year.

To be more diabetes friendly I substituted half of the all purpose flour with whole wheat and half of brown sugar with Splenda and had no significant differences in taste. You also can use unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate – my favorite – instead of milk chocolate.
The original recipe calls for a filling of “doce de leite”, in Portuguese, or “dolce de leite”, as we know in North America. In this batch, however I haven’t done it, I am always trying to cut on sugar because of my husband’s diabetes. Actually if you are not a big sweet tooth, skip this step, the honey batter and chocolate topping are sweet to perfection to me.

Chocolate, honey and ginger squares (Pão de mel)

2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used 1/4 brown sugar + 1/4 Splenda for diabetes friendly)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp grated cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup honey
2 tbs butter
1 large egg
1/2 tsp grated ginger

500 gr bittersweet or milk chocolate shredded to be melted

Doce de Leite* for the filling if you have chosen to do so.

Pre heat oven to 350F.
Get your baking pan ready, greased with butter.
In a medium bowl sift all dry ingredients together. Mix in milk and honey, butter and egg, stirring well and pour it in the tins, filling up to 2/3.


Bake for 15 to 20 min.


Let it cool completely. You might want to trim the tops off the squares, to get a flat surface, that will get you a prettier presentation. If you are doing the filling, at this point cut each square in half and spread out 1tbs of the “doce de leite”.

Start melting the chocolate in a bowl immersed in simmering water and in the mean time line up parchment paper on your counter top or cookies sheet.


As you coat the squares in the chocolate, be careful to let the excess to drip off. Let it dry completely before serving.



* “Doce de leite” is a soft milky fudge very popular in South America. My grand mother used to make it from scratch, slowly boiling this huge amount of milk and sugar until the wanted fudge consistency. The easiest way of making “doce de leite” is cooking a can of condensed milk.
If you have a pressure cooker, just put the whole unopened can, side ways, covered with water in the pan and let it cook for 30 min for soft doce de Leite or 40 for a thicker consistency. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, boil in medium heat in a pan for 1 hour.

Very important Make sure to let the can cool off completely before attempting to open it, as the content would be extremely hot and would burst out of the can, in a dangerous way. It is a good idea to let it rest over night or make it in the day before.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Papaya, ginger and coconut smoothie

Papaya, ginger and coconut smoothie


This smoothie takes a bit of planning ahead. The coconut water has to frozen in cubes. Other than that it is pretty easy and simple and way too delicious!
I love ginger and I am always looking for ways to add it to enhance flavor of almost anything and to get a good boost for the immune system, specially during this bad flu season.
So I mix and blend and try different fruits and this is by far one of our favorite drinks and the prettiest, with the 2 layers in different colors!

Papaya, ginger and coconut smoothie

1 cup papaya in cubes
1 cup plain yogurt (3/4 cup for the papaya layer and 1/4 for the coconut mix)
1 cup orange juice
3 tbs honey (2 tbs for the papaya mix and 1 tbs for the coconut)
1/2 to 1 banana (depending on how thick you like your smoothie)
3 tbs grated ginger ( grate easily keeping the ginger in the freezer)
3 tbs shredded coconut
6 cubes of frozen coconut water

Blend the papaya, orange juice, 2 tbs honey, ginger and banana and put it aside.
Next blend the frozen coconut water, 1/4 cup yogurt and 1 tbs honey. This layer will be tart and thick, add more honey if you prefer sweeter. Mix in the shredded coconut.

Pour the coconut mix in the glass and then the papaya one on top.
Enjoy and share!

You might also like:

Avocado and Maca shake for breakfast

Sweet tomato juice

Detox papaya – ginger and Maca-belly-fat-reducer juice

Detox papaya juice with ginger and Maca (belly fat reducer)

Detox papaya juice with ginger and Maca (belly fat reducer)


I grew up drinking fruit juices. Every kid in Brazil does. Freshly squeezed orange juice is something that the majority of kids have every day and many times a day. Every family has a juicer sitting on the counter top, and a blender, for that matter. Nothing new when fruit abundance is part of life, cheap source of vitamins and an awesome way to fight the hot temperatures. The normal statement is “no pops allowed”, pretty healthy, the combinations are endless everywhere you go. Oh my, I particularly miss the passion fruit juice!
I would have a juice or fruit shake every day but I know it better… Eating whole fruits, I am adding my fibers…
Anyway this is the juice I made today for our breakfast along with a mushroom omelette. Super tasty and with all the good healthy stuff in it: fresh ginger, Maca* (I am totally in love with it), orange juice, papaya and lemon. If you are not counting calories, double the amount of orange juice, instead of water and use honey or Agave nectar. Pure boost of energy and pleasure, while a great detox way for starting your morning!

* learn more about Maca here.

Papaya, ginger and Maca juice

2 portions

1 1/2 cup of papaya* peeled and diced
1 cup orange juice
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger grated
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp Maca powder
2 tbs sugar substitute or honey or Agave nectar

Blend everything and serve immediately.

* tip: let your papaya ripen on the counter for a few days if you buy it green, which is normally the case. To do so, use a knife to make 4 length wise cuts, just to break the skin. You will see a little bit of the skin juice sipping out, which will greatly improve the ripening process (2 to 3 days). Watch it every day and when is nicely orange, softer but still firm, put it the fridge, where it will last up to 3 to 4 days. If you are not using the whole fruit at once, wrap it in wrapping plastic while in the fridge.
Papaya is an essential fruit in our fridge here. Although it is a bit expensive, it can last up for a week for nice additions to your meals. I add it to salads or have it plain as a dessert or snack.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Other juices and recipes with papaya:

Sweet tomato juice

Avocado and Maca shake breakfast

Arugula and papaya salad with ginger dressing

Exotic cream of papaya and ice cream