Alison’s Soups

I have been fortunate enough to work with some pretty big talent here in New York…and one that I’m talking about today is my good friend and food stylist, Alison Attenborough.
The very first job I ever did in New York in 2001 was for Food & Wine Magazine, and Alison was the food stylist. Since that day we have become great friends, and lucky for me because she has been very instrumental in shaping my idea of what really good looking food should look like. There are few people who can combine food and design the way she does, with such flair, and she seems to do it effortlessly.
I recently spent an afternoon at her apartment in Chelsea, where she made up three soups for me, especially for my blog (which I greatly appreciated).

Poached Chicken with Lemon and Baby Spinach,
Carrot Soup with Cumin Oil
Watercress Soup

All the words and recipes are her own.
Have a look at her work here



















Poached Chicken Soup with Lemon and Baby Spinach

For this version Alion added beech mushrooms she had leftover from a shoot. Add them in at the end with the spinach.They are small and will cook in about the same amount of time

Serves 6-8

This chicken soup is comforting for many occasions – when you are sick, after overindulging during the holidays or when you feel like a clean simple dinner. I like to squeeze a fresh lemon wedge right before eating to brighten the flavor.

• 1 small whole chicken (about 3.5 pounds / 1.5 kg’s)
• 1 medium onion, unpeeled, cut in half
• 2 celery stalks, cut into fourths
• 2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into fourths
• a handful of parsley stems
• 2 sprigs of thyme
• 1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
• 1 small bay leaf
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 3 inch piece of ginger, 1 inch left whole, the remaining ginger to julienne finely and reserve
• 5 oz. Baby market spinach, roughly chopped
• 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
• 2 T sambal olek or any asian chunky chili sauce

Rinse chicken and place in a large stockpot. Add the onions, celery, carrots, herbs, 1 inch piece of ginger and seasonings. Fill pot with cold water to cover ingredients by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat and then immediately reduce to a gently simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours. Skim foam off the top as it rises.

Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a plate. Reserve and let cool. Strain the stock using a colander, discarding the remaining ingredients. Strain the stock again through a fine mesh sieve double lined with cheesecloth to remove the fat. Return the broth to a cleaned pot. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and shred the meat. Season the shredded meat with the sea salt. Discard the carcass and bones. Return the juices that have collected on plate to the pot. Add the reserved julienned ginger. Bring to a boil and add the spinach (and mushrooms if you like) to wilt. Turn off heat and serve immediately. Ladle into individual bowls and serve with lemon wedges and chili.


• 2 tablespoons EVO
• 1 onion, peeled and chopped
• 6 cups chicken broth
• 1.5 pounds (700 grams) carrots, peeled and sliced
• ½ LB (250 grams) potatoes, peeled and chopped
• 1 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
• Sea Salt and Pepper
• for garnish: coloured carrots, cilantro, blossoms, and cumin oil.
• how to make the cumin oil – heat 4 T Grapeseed Oil with 1 T ground cumin until fragrant ,add salt to taste ,pour into a bowl off the heat to cool right away

In a 6-quart pan, over medium high heat, add EVO and onions and cook, stirring often, until onions are limp. Add broth, carrots,potatoes and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots and potatoes are tender when pierced.
Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Don’t fill the blender more than half way, do it in batches if you have to. Cover the blender and then hold a kitchen towel over the top of the blender*. Be careful when blending hot liquids as the mixture can spurt out of the blender. Pulse the blender to start it and then puree until smooth. Return to the pan stir over high heat until hot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with sliced carrots, cilantro, flowers and cumin oil.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.


I love to garnish this with rich, velvety English Double Devon cream. It can be found at specialty food stores.

Yield: 6 Servings

• 3 Tablespoons sweet (unsalted) butter
• 1 1/4 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
• 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
• 2 1/2 cups whole milk
• 2 bunches of chopped watercress (remove the coarse stalks)

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan. When it foams, add the potatoes and onions and toss until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover the pan and sweat the vegetables over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the stock and milk, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes and onions are soft.
Add the watercress and boil with the lid off for approximately 4 to 5 minutes until the watercress is cooked. It will taste soft and tender. Do not overcook or the soup will loose its fresh green color.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Taste and add a little more salt and pepper if necessary.
Garnish with a thick dollop of the Devon Cream.

Keep looking for more pics from our shoot

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