Tag Archives: soup

Mean green

What garlic is to food, insanity is to art.
~ Augustus Saint-Gaudens

I added two cloves of raw garlic to the green stuff you see in the photo. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was enough to make the soup yelping-ly spicy. And, oddly, even nice.

Like wasabi, the sting is not the lingering sort (i.e. the curry / chilli sort), and is – if you can just dismiss the false thought that says you’re dying – possibly even great.

It’s the sort of spicy that wakes your mind up to the things that matter, right here, right now.

And that… is always good.

Notes:

The soup also held notes of salt, pepper and basil pesto. Base – just steamed or boiled broccoli (estimate half a head of it per person, I used boiled broccoli today), and a dribble of water. And the garlic was blended with the rest of it, to cut out nasty surprises in the form of tangible pieces of raw garlic being caught in teeth. It’s a loose recipe, one that changes every time – and the originator of the whole Blended Green Stuff thing is my friend Matt, who would possibly prefer to be known as The Genius.

As for the bread, refer to this post.

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Soup

Soup of the evening, beautiful…
~ Lewis Carroll

This is not the prettiest thing that you ever did see, but it was just what I needed this evening.

Love how soup is so agreeable! You just fry some sliced onions until the aroma takes over your nose, then chuck in vegetables you have on hand, herbs, cold water, some stock powder (if you are lazy like I was today!) and basically adjust what you need to to make it taste good until you are happy with it – no measurements or special powers needed. Bring to a boil, then simmmmmmeeeerrr for around 30 minutes (time will vary depending on how large your veg wedges are, and how soft you want everything to be).

Tonight, my soup contained two onions, a few glugs of water, some stock, two carrots, two celery stalks, one Agria potato, two onions, a wedge of suede, some parsnip, black pepper, cannellini beans, a forlorn fennel frond + bulb, a shower of fresh rosemary leaves – stripped from their stems. Made four servings.

What do you put in your soup?

Nigel’s soup, and other stories

Good manners: the noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.
~ Bennett Cerf

If I kept a food diary, I would have documented a pretty colourful week. A slice of sweet-as-hell “Anzac cake” (from a bustling cafe); perfectly toasted croissants with melting cheese and salty ham; chocolates scooped from a basket; salmon, cream cheese & alfalfa artfully arranged on mini pikelets; rolls stuffed generously with smoked chicken and glistening salad and smeared with sundried tomato paste; crispy spinach samosas; a bag of perfumed feijoas (a gift); chocolate and caramel slice cut into pretty scalene triangles……

Now, before you think I’m whipping all these things up in my humble kitchen, I am not. Food has just been raining down on me for some reason. Fruit was dropped off at my front door, chocolate was left on my desk at work, coffee was delivered to me with a smile. Seriously. And I had a work lunch and a workshop/networking lunch in the last two days – not a usual occurrence – and we were totally spoilt by corporate chefs/caterers.

:-)

Along with all of this food, I’ve been reading a book I found in the library – “Climbing the Mango Trees” by Madhur Jaffrey – a story about her childhood in India, complete with lovely descriptions of what she ate growing up. An edible book!

Since food has been spilling into my life this week, I haven’t had much need or want to cook.

I have cooked two things this week though:

a slightly modified (to suit what I already had) version of Nigel Slater’s pumpkin, tomato & cannellini soup (pictured above) – I made what looked like a small pot of it, but the soup seemed to last forever… warm and sweet and tangy and perfect on the two rainy afternoons and one cool night when I had it (this soup is great for keeping in the fridge/reheating in the microwave – yay!)…

and an experiment composed of end-of-week fridge and pantry remnants – pasta with parmesan shavings and a sauce of butter, brown sugar, garlic, leek rings, cannellini beans, rosemary, lemon, a tiny trickle of soy sauce and milk which turned slightly frothy as the sauce began to roll into a gentle boil on the too-hot (unstoppable) electric stove.

… Side note: definitely falling in like with cannellini beans these days.

Time to sleep – good night and have a great weekend, everyone!

Avgolemono

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
~ Pietro Aretino

Did you think I’d given up cooking through “Falling Cloudberries”? I was afraid I had too. However, it isn’t December yet, so I guess I’m not allowed to give up!

Tonight, I decided to try my hand at making this Greek dish from Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries” to warm us up…
#56 Avgolemono (Chicken Soup with Egg & Lemon) – Page 82

I tripled the amount of carrot and celery used in this broth, and absolutely loved inhaling the aroma of this while it simmered slowly on the stove. No butter, no oil, just sweet veges, flavourful parsley, piquant peppercorns and – of course – a grand free range chicken.

Tessa Kiros’s recipe for this yielded 4 generous servings of sweet, comforting broth with a refreshing twist of lemon, creaminess from the egg and a smattering of rice to provide texture. We had the chicken (tender and still sweet) and vegetables on the side. I am so pleased with the result of this!

In other news, we visited La Cigale yesterday where I picked up some yummy turkish delight, and Mandy and I introduced ourselves to the whimsical world of macaroons…. oh, and I also had a lovely chicken liver parfait brioche, which made for a tasty breakfast. I kicked myself for not having my camera with me as we watched a man sifting almond sugar on to his tray of croissants, people surveying the spread of fresh organic vegetables, a grumpy woman selling jam…

‘Death medicine’ (or green soup)

I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.
~ George Bush, U.S. President (1990)

What you see here, my dears, is version #16 (or so) of a concoction with humble, accidental (?) beginnings.

One memorable day last year, I found to my horror that my flatmate Matt had made us green soup for dinner. GREEN SOUP. I’ve had tasty colourful soups (like a blood-red champagne & watermelon soup in a vineyard once) before, but the sight of this gloopy, mossy, duck-poo coloured green gloop did not appeal to me at all… at first, anyway…

I remained doubtful even though Matt attributed this magic potion in part to a marvellous cauliflower amuse bouche we once had in a restaurant (flavourful and poignant, a bouquet of garlic and wonder which truly paved the way to an enjoyable dinner).

When I finally closed my eyes and lifted the glass to my lips… I found myself surprised to the point of glee… which just goes to show you should NEVER, EVER judge a book by its cover. Or a soup by its look. Whatever.

“Try everything at least once”, my mom always encouraged, and except for the odd occasion (eg. turtle soup, sea urchin and ostrich eggs), I have mostly emerged the better for it. Sometimes, especially when you least expect it, food can reach past your senses and surprise you with something akin to a happy dream.

Anyway, I had 2 little shot-glasses of it tonight when Matt made this particular version of what he has named ‘death medicine’… and I include the recipe below with his permission. He did not measure these exactly, but they should be pretty accurate.

    Ingredients:
    1/2 broccoli
    1 courgette
    1/2 cup sango sprouts (I hate this in salads but it is not bad in soup)
    1/3 cup unsweetened yoghurt
    1 tbsp cream cheese
    tuscan seasoning
    cajun spice
    black pepper
    truffle oil
    dill
    Method to Matt’s madness:
    Steam broccoli and courgette.
    When they are soft, pulse and blend them with any excess water (approximately 1/3 cup), sprouts, yoghurt, cream cheese, seasoning and spice until it becomes a nice creamy soup. Adjust ingredient quantities till you reach desired taste and consistency.
    Pour it into a glass and pour a tiny bit of truffle oil on the top before adding a small sprinkle of dill.
    Yields 2 servings.

Simple

In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It has not happened before. I have not heard my heart speaking to me about what to eat before! But I am pretty sure that is what happened tonight. A most absurd, insistent, calm, compelling voice which I did not dare disobey: “Prawn and celery soup”.

Weird… I know…

So I picked up a few gifts of Turkish Delight & hot chocolate, some Vaseline for my mosquito-bite-infested face (yes, it’s as bad as it sounds), the ingredients for my supposed soup which I hadn’t made before, and on a whim, a tub of woodsmoked mussels.

It was a good 40 minute walk home from the sups, and I listened to Yanni and Phantom of the Opera and songs from the Nutcracker Suite on the way home. (If music be the food of love, play on indeed!) The houses and trees and streets looked so beautiful in the paling sunlight.

I was so glad for the mussels, as I was pretty hungry by the time I got home! I squeezed some lemon on them, added a little parsley – they were delicious as hell. I ate them while I smashed the lemongrass stalk, chopped half a shallot and 2 cloves of garlic, ginger.

    Recipe for my impromptu soup (a hearty dinner, plus leftovers)
    Ingredients:
    1 lemongrass stalk, smashed (to release flavour)
    small knob of ginger
    1/2 lime
    1/4 celery, sliced
    7 brown button mushrooms, sliced
    150g prawns
    2 cloves garlic (lightly smashed)
    1/2 shallot (chopped)
    1/2 medium saucepan-ful of water
    approximately 2 tbsp soy sauce
    dribble of sesame oil
    dribble of mirin
    Method to my madness:
    Bring water to boil. Add ginger and smashed lemongrass stalk, and leave to continue boiling for a few minutes.
    Meanwhile, briefly fry, in another pan, shallot and garlic in a bit of oil – I used olive oil.
    Add fried shallot + garlic, celery and mushrooms to the saucepan. Also add in soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil – to your taste. Cover and let boil for more minutes.
    Lastly, add the prawns in. When they are cooked (it doesn’t take long), the soup is ready.

It’s not as flavourful as the soups you cook for hours (my Grandma is very skilled in the art of these soups) – but it really is deeply satisfying.

Time to get on with the rest of my night… ciao-ciao.