11 October 2012

Clam & Corn Soup with Moringa Leaves and a Day Around the Palatine Hill & Colosseum


As much as I would like to enjoy the warm autumn weather of Rome, I suffer the consequence of returning home very tired and my sore throat still throbbing after spending a day out taking photographs.  On the positive side, I get to enjoy the pictures I took while I rest in bed.  I sometimes wonder until how far I would go just to get a good shot.  I have seen some people balancing themselves on places they shouldn't be standing on just to satisfy their need to go up a few centimeters higher to get a better angle.   


I'm in a photographic high because lately, I have seen interest in my photographs and I also had my first few sales in a stock photography site.  When there's this spark of attention, there's also motivation to produce more.  So armed with my new camera and oblivious to my health discomfort, I go out and capture the perks of the city through my lens.  Rome is really beautiful and it takes a lifetime to see everything underground and on ground level.   I've been going around this city for more than 10 years and I still have a long list of places to visit.  It's a neverending sightseeing!


The monuments in the pictures I am sharing in this post don't need introduction because we all know what they are.  The Colosseo (Colosseum), Arco di Constantino (Arch of Constantine), Arco di Tito (Arch of Titus) and Palatino (Palatine Hill).

Everytime I pass the Colosseo (Colosseum), I cannot help grabbing my camera or phone to document it.  I never get tired of looking at it and an exclamated expression of awe never fails to escape from my lips.   It is really impressive!  It is one of the greatest works of ancient Roman architecture and engineering.  



Near the Colosseum is the Palatino (Palatine Hill), one of the seven hills of Rome.  It is one of the most ancient parts of the city.  According to Roman mythology, it is where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that kept them alive. They are the twin brothers who are believed to be the founders of Rome.   It overlooks the Foro Romano (Roman Forum), the center  of the ancient Roman public life. 


The Arco di Tito (Arch of Titus) was erected in the 1st century.  It is a triumphal arch built for Titus' victories.  It is also believed to be the inspirational model of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris that was completed in 1836. 

The Arco di Constantino (Arch of Constantine) is a triumphal arch erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312.



I hope you enjoyed the photos I took the other day.  Now let's go to the recipe.  

This is another soup that comes from my childhood in the Philippines.   As I've mentioned in my previous post, I prepared different kinds of soups while my whole family had been fighting viruses.   Ginger soothes throat aches and helps disinfect the inflamed area.  In one sitting, I can easily have a couple of bowls of this soup.  Aside from being delicious, it is also very healthy.  The other ingredient, the moringa or malunggay leaves are very rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C,  beta-carotene, magnesium and protein.  If they are not cooked for a long time, some of these vitamins can be retained.  For this, it is better to drop them in the soup after turning off the fire. 


Moringa Oleifera  is not a common tree outside Asia because it grows well in tropical and subtropical climates.  It is non-existent in Italy.  I believe that I may be the only one who has a full-grown tree thriving in a pot.  During the initial years of my life in Italy, I dedicated my time procuring seeds of plants I was familiar with and making them grow in a non-tropical climate.  It is a trying task and I succeeded and failed 50-50.  My moringa or malunggay tree survived and is still giving me flowers and leaves.  Autumn keeps it in hibernation and it wakes up in late spring. 


Before the leaves fall, I gathered some of them and made this wonderful soup mixed with vongole (clams) and corn.   I like taking this with the juice of half a calamansi or calamondin lemon (equivalent to about 1/2 teaspoon of juice) and a few drops of colatura di alici from Cetara of the Amalfi Coast, the Italian fish sauce.  The taste is exactly the same as the Asian fish sauce so use the Asian version if it is easier to find.  The calamansi and fish sauce are purely optional to this recipe.  It is my personal preference to add this salty & sour concoction.  My husband sticks to the original recipe and enjoys it that way.

Have a wonderful week!



Clam & Corn Soup with Moringa Leaves

Zuppa di Vongole con Mais e Foglie di Moringa

Ingredients:
Serves 2
  • 200 g. corn kernels (I used canned corn.  Originally, kernels from freshly cooked corncobs are used.)
  • 500 ml. vegetable broth (+ extra if there's a need to adjust)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • thumb size ginger, peeled & slightly crushed (or chopped finely)
  • pepper
  • 500 g. clams, soaked in salt water for at least 2 hours to get rid of sediments
  • 1/2 cup malunggay or moringa leaves (Moringa Oleifera)
  • extra virgin olive oil
Directions:
  1. Over medium heat, in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, sautè the onion & ginger for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the corn and toast for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable broth.  Let it boil and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.  
  4. Add the clams.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until they all open.  Discard the ones that remained closed.
  5. Season with pepper.  Check if the soup still needs salt.  Adjust the taste.
  6. Put the moringa leaves and turn off the fire.
  7. Serve hot.



20 comments:

  1. Gorgeous soup, Rowena! And your photos - so beautiful! What a perfect day to capture the splendor of Rome.

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    1. Thank you Laura! I hope you get good weather when you come here.

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  2. Those photos of Rome take me back. I was just there in May. It's so incredible to see these things still standing.

    Delicious soup, too!

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    1. It's pretty amazing to see them standing after thousands of years. Really impressive! Thanks Michelle!

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  3. Your soup looks fantastic, and very healthy. You really do amaze me with all that you do. Congrats on the selling the photography you really deserve it your photos are gorgeous and recipes gourmet, xoxox Suzanne

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  4. Great soup. The new Food on Friday is all about soup. It would be wonderful if you linked this in. Here's the link . Have a souper duper week!

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  5. Lovely photos and delicious looking soup! Those moringa leaves look absolutely gorgeous! What do they taste like?

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    1. The moringa leaves don't really have a strong taste. I would say similar to spinach as it is the alternative vegetable.

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  6. Absolutely wonderful photos to keep - and congrats on beginning to get some money for what you do so well :) ! Makes me want to be back in Rome: never been there as late as October :( ! Soup appetizing, but have to find a substitute for this moringa!! I have been happily successful with a number of plants propagated outside their usual 'comfort zone': can see homework coming up! Little weekend story to end: my daughters about 6 & 8 when first in Rome. Had to take a carozza > the Colisseum, never mind about the history - whole colonies of lovely small feral pussies lived on the premises. Next morning - uhuh, the girls had been to the Villa Hassler kitchens and we just had to return with 'breakfast' for the pusses!! The tour buses had a field holiday photographing and I do not mean the Colisseum :D !

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    1. I can imagine how cute your daughters should have looked like feeding the cats. I would point my camera at them too if I was there! You can substitute the moringa with spinach. Hope you're having a good week!

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  7. I looove how you see things from your camera and it's fun following you. I also bought a new camera and have been playing a little bit too. I wish I have your photography talent. :) I'm learning from you~~~. I love clams! My kids will love this dish even more with corn in it! Oh and congrats on selling your photos! Also thank you for the tour.

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    1. Having a new camera is great but reading the user's manual is something else! haha! I'm still scanning it but there are just too many pages! Good luck in learning Nami. I love tinkering with my new camera too. Thanks!

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  8. I can't believe you have fresh malunggay leaves there! I cannot find that here in Canada. it's always frozen! Hmmm...this clam and malunggay combination is actually a galactagogue or breast milk stimulator! My mom always makes me this after I give birth because it takes 10 days (yes, 10 days!) for my breast milk to come in (for all 3 kids). But I guess, any hot soup can help stimulate milk - hehe. Anyway, your photography is gorgeous and congrats on your stock sales! I didn't know you got a new camera or lens. What kind of camera and lens are you shooting with now?

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    1. I patiently planted and took care of the malunggay tree throughout the seasons. With the very cold weather there, I don't think you can plant one. I heard about how good the wonderful health benefits of moringga are. I didn't eat them when I was breastfeeding though because I didn't know that it's a stimulator. What a pity!

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  9. Beautiful clicks and i like the recipe. Btw, Indonesians call the leaves as daun kelor, we ate both leaves and the fruits (the one resemble alike drum stick). Congrats on your stock sale Rowena! keep it up

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    1. My tree still hasn't taken out any fruit. Maybe if I transfer it to the ground, it can finally yield. Thank you for sharing the name in Indonesian and thanks for passing by Ira!

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  10. Hi Rowena,
    This soup looks delicious and the malungay takes me back to my childhood in the Philippines! I used to love having soup with malungay and I don't think I have had it since leaving the Philippines.
    So it's great to know that somewhere in Rome there is a malungay tree growing somewhere. How did you ever get hold of one?

    And thank you for the lovely pictures of Rome, we've been living in Rome for a year now and I am enjoying all your snaps of the city. I will never tire of seeing Rome, it's absolutely gorgeous - which I'm sure you can attest to having been here for some time.

    Grazie mille!
    Jenni

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    1. Hi Jenni!
      Believe it or not, I bought the seeds online from London (I had a hard time looking for it!) then I planted them and only one survived, the tree that I have now. It is about 10 years old if I remember right. Aside from my calamansi plants, this tree is my most precious possession. :-)
      I'm glad to meet you and thanks for dropping me a note!

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