Tag Archives: soup

Laughing Stock: Homemade Vege Stock

Saturday was a very hard day for me. I got sent home from work after 2 hours because I am sick but my boss said he’d pay me for the whole day. At the local market I bought the first gooseberries, nectarines, peaches, cherries and raspberries of the season (literally – I was the first person at the market). I also bought goats cheese, beetroot dip, fresh bagels, yams, jersey benne potatoes and other tasty things and for the first time had enough money left over to buy some awesome pastries. “What are you talking about? Sounds like a great day!” you say? NOT IF YOU ARE SO SICK YOU HAVE LOST ALL SENSE OF TASTE.

That’s right, due to some unusual flaw in my DNA or immune system or somewhere in there, every time I get a cold, no matter how minor, I lose my sense of taste for a few days. I have never met anyone else who shares this evolutionary blip and so feel safe in saying that few people could understand the misery of indefinite taste-loss.

With an unexpected day off but not able to engage in my favourite past-time (eating for pleasure), I decided to cook something that I don’t need to use right now (so therefore won’t feel like I’m missing out that I can’t eat it immediately) but will be very useful in future.

Vege Stock  (inspired by my all time favourite blog, Vegetarian Ventures http://www.vegetarianventures.com/2012/10/10/homemade-vegetable-stock/#.UqYcFCf84k4)
I used scraps or whole of the following:
Carrot
Beetroot
Asparagus
Celery
Courgette
Pumpkin
Coriander
Bok Choy
Broccoli
Fennel
Mushroom
Eggplant
Tomatoes
Peppers (Red and Green)
Onions
Garlic
Homegrown thyme, bay, oregano, rosemary, parsley and chives
I also included some chipotle and granny smith apple

Save up vege scraps (or use fresh if you want) until you have about 4 cups worth
Put scraps in a large saucepan and cover with water
Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour
Remove from heat, let cool, then store in the fridge (for up to 5 days) or freezer (freeze in ice cube trays) for a couple of months.

If you are not making your own vege stock (as I wasn’t till last week), get on it. It is so easy and fast. There are no extra costs involved if you keep a bag in the freezer and add scraps that amount naturally while cooking (onions skins, garlic tops and tails, celery leaves etc.) or whole vegetables that you’ve left a bit long and are looking too dodgy to eat. Pretty much anything can go in, just avoid anything floury (like kumara and potato).

Most importantly, it tastes so much better than the over-priced liquid or powdered stock you find at the supermarket. I don’t know about you but I don’t trust something that claims to be made from fresh vegetables but can sit unrefrigerated on a shelf for months or years and still be within its expiry date.

UPDATE: If you live in Christchurch you will be able to buy this in the new year from Harris & Turners, Lyttelton

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Blind Pumpkin: Whole roasted pumpkin soup

Today I decided to break my blogging dry-spell by posting a recipe totally unique to me. Invented by me.

For me this is a milestone as I used to think it would never be possible for me to make food I loved without following a recipe step-by-step, 1/2 cup by 1/2 cup. Now I finally feel confident enough to try new things and know that even if they fail, I can use the lessons learned from that failure to make it go right the next time (don’t worry, I’m still talking about food here).

Today’s recipe is borne from me thinking something would be a great idea, doing a lot of research online and finding very few recipes, none of which I felt were quite right. Well, that and my wish to squeeze every moment of enjoyment out of Saturday’s not-really-that cold snap in Christchurch. You see, I’m a winter person. I am pale-skinned, have type O blood and overheat easily. This makes summer a nightmare of sunburn, mosquito bites and constant sweating. On the weekend I embraced the sort-of cold the best way I know how – doing my weekly groceries at the farmer’s market in the rain wearing a hooded knee length swanndri, lighting the fire, watching a movie in front of said fire with a cup of tea, cooking pumpkin soup for tea and chilli hot chocolate, strawberries and cream for dessert.

Whole roasted pumpkin soup
 
1 large pumpkin
1 onion, diced
1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf (from my own garden boo…yah)
enough vege (or chicken) stock to 3/4 fill the pumpkin
dash of cream
1 Tbsp goats cheese
4 sprigs thyme (also from my garden, just try to stop me!)

Preheat oven to 190 degrees celcius
Chop the top off your pumpkin (enough that you can get your hand in but not enough for anything to spill out once it is full)
Scrape out the seeds and stringy bits inside
Fill with the onion, apple, butter, salt, garlic, bay leaf, stock and cream and rub the outside with vegetable oil
Bake for 1 hour, remove top (carefully!) and add goats cheese and thyme
Replace top and bake for another half hour or until the pumpkin is soft and roasted on the inside
Scoop out contents (again, carefully, we don’t want any steam burns here) into a pot and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. The one recipe I found said to blend it while still in the pumpkin and avoid the sides, go ahead with this if you are brave enough
Serve with whatever extras float your boat (I went with cheese, chilli, fresh basil and pepper)
 
If you feel like recreating my night head to toe, serve strawberries for dessert sprinkled with vanilla sugar and chopped mint, with cream poured over.

I always apologise for the lack of photos, but today I want to complain about the lack of photos. I had intentions of breaking my blogging-silence with beautiful, well thought out shots of pumpkin soup cooked inside the skin, bright red strawberries covered in vanilla sugar and cream and a copper kettle sitting on top of the fire boiling the water for my tea (best present ever). But my camera ran out of battery and I couldn’t find the charger. I am cranky about it and apologise (as usual). I urge you to use your imagination, it might even be better than the real thing. Doubt it though!

For full disclosure but at the risk of sounding like a total food snob and someone you want to immediately drag to the doctor for an artery check up, I included Fresh As freeze dried pineapple chunks in my dessert and had cream instead of milk in my hot chocolate. Judge me all you want!

 
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Love to hate you: Broccoli soup

Continuing the thread of ‘foods that most people seem to hate’ that was initiated by Brussels sprout, today we move onto a recipe I mentioned a few entries ago, a broccoli soup inspired by my friend Savannah. I’m sad to say that the back-up supply sitting in my freezer has just run out. However, that leads to happy news as it means it won’t be long till I make this soup again.

When I was a kid I would make little villages with my food before I ate it. I’m sure this wasn’t as much fun for my parents as it was for me. However, I loved it and I have been grateful to broccoli ever since not only for its great taste but also its perfect resemblance to a miniature tree. The one downfall of this recipe is that it reduces broccoli down from its amazing natural shape. But I suppose you can’t have your broccoli and eat it too!

Broccoli soup
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 fennel, chopped
3 heads and stalks broccoli, chopped
2 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup hard cheese (I used parmesan), grated

In a large pot, fry the garlic, carrot, celery, onion and fennel on medium-low in the oil for 5-10 mins until soft but not browned
Add the broccoli, potatoes and stock and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes, until the broccoli and potatoes are soft
Leave to cool slightly then blend until smooth
Add cheese and serve

I bought cream to serve with this soup but it was already so creamy that I didn’t need to add it, it is great as is.

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Cold days, cold nights, where would I be without my soup?: Chicken brodo and Mulligatawny

The other day I made soup. No, sorry not soup. Brodo (fancy soup). Today I made soup again. All the grey skies and waking up in the dark to go to work will do that to you. Even though it is not technically winter yet, there’s nothing like soup on a dreary day, especially when you have made it in advance and frozen it, then you can continue on in a lazy mood with minimal effort. Although making these soups can be just as enjoyable. I have to agree with my dad when he says nothing beats the smell of onions cooking and both of these soups combine that greatest of cooking smells with oregano and thyme, and curry respectively. Both smells that are not to be sniffed at. Unless it is a good, long, savouring sniff.

Chicken and vegetable brodo
*cover 500g chicken with 2 litres stock and 1 litre water, bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes until cooked through
*shred chicken and retain liquid
*heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in the largest pot you have, add 2 chopped onions, 4 cloves chopped garlic, 4 sprigs oregano, 4 sprigs thyme and 1 bay leaf for 2 minutes
*add 1 bulb of chopped fennel, 2 chopped carrots and 1/2 bunch celery and cook for 10 minutes
*add chicken meat, reserved stock and 1/2 cup of arborio rice. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes
*add 1/2 cup frozen peas, 2 chopped zucchini and 1/2 bunch parsley and simmer for another 5 minutes or until rice is cooked
*add 1 Tbsp olive oil and serve

Mulligatawny soup
*chop 2 large brown onions and heat in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes until soft
*add 1/4 cup of curry paste and cook for 1 minute
*add 500g chopped chicken, 2 finely chopped zucchini, 1 finely chopped carrot and 2 Tbsp of tomato paste and cook for 10 minutes until chicken is browned
*add 6 cups of cold water and 1 Tbsp chicken stock powder and bring to the boil
*add 1/3 cup of rice, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until chicken and rice is cooked through
*serve while hot with some crusty (in a good way) bread

I couldn’t find curry paste when I went out on my ingredients hunt so decided to make my own. I would definitely recommend it, not only is the recipe below easy but it makes exactly 1/4 cup, must be fate!

Curry paste
*combine 1/3 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil
*finely chop 2 red chillis and 4 cloves of garlic
*combine all of the above and add:
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp mustard powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground turmeric
1 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
3 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp black pepper
*done! Unless it is too moist (uck), in which case put it through a sieve like I did

I will leave you now, no doubt with a craving to make soup. But also with this musing: even though the brodo recipe is from an expensive cookbook (Karen Martini’s ‘Cooking at Home’) and the Mulligatawny recipe is from a cheap food magazine (June 2011 ‘Super Food Ideas’), I preferred the Mulligatawny. The brodo was quite bland when following the recipe to the letter and next time I’ll try to make it taste a bit more interesting. Plus I just love the name Mulligatawny (Yay Colonialism! Right guys?! Guys?).

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