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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.