Monday is Pho day


Cafe – takeaway: Chao, Whitecross Street, London.

A steaming brisket of beef pho, brimming with tons of beef, noodles, beansprouts, spring onions, coriander and what looks like thinly sliced white onion. That’s enough to wipe away the Monday blues!

This pho comes with a little parcel of condiments, including fresh chilli, mint and lemon, so you can dress it to taste. I also have the pot of hoisin sauce and use it as a dipping sauce for the beef and noodles.

As ever with the soups from Chao, the broth is delicate and flavoursome, literally a pot of goodness. There are lots of ingredients and this is filling enough to have for lunch during a working day and not need to be snacking again by mid-afternoon.

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Words and pictures: @madgie

Carrot and cumin soup, with confit rabbit and walnut

Restaurant: Peartree Hotel, Church End, Purton, Wiltshire.

I’m not usually a fan of carrot soup but with one of my favourite spices, cumin, I thought I’d give this a go. I was also a bit intrigued by how the rabbit would come as part of the soup.

The soup arrived looking inviting in a lovely white bowl, the deep orange colour offset against it. The confit rabbit was a sliced ballotine, sitting plumply in the centre of the soup with the walnut. It certainly looked good and I couldn’t wait to try it.

There wasn’t, as is usually the case with carrot soup, an overwhelming taste of carrot. Instead the velvet texture had a subtle hint of cumin that went through the whole soup and balanced it nicely. The confit rabbit was very tasty, with the texture of a black pudding. It added richness to the flavour of the soup and went well with the crusty, warm brown bread served with it. Lastly the walnut added a soft crunch and balanced the whole soup out perfectly.

Very nice and would have happily eaten another bowl.

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Words and pictures: @madgie