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Showing posts from November, 2011

Kichidi

Kichidi
It's been over three months since I last made a soup from the pulses and vegetables section of The Soup Book, and I still have more than half of the recipes to go, hence my choice this weekend. Also, we were having friends over and making an Indian meal, so kichidi was an appropriate choice.  The recipe is by Roopa Gulati, of course. Despite my Anglo-Indian culinary experience and heritage, I had never heard of kichidi before and a quick search on the Internet revealed a large variety of recipes. Roopa's recipe calls for a butternut squash, garam masala, basmati rice, pink or red lentils, root ginger, ghee or clarified butter, cumin seeds, chilli flakes, lime juice and chopped coriander.

There are three main stages to making this soup. The first involves baking the butternut squash, having first sprinkled the two halves with garam masala. The suggestive-looking beast that I was using was much bigger than required so took longer to reach the "meltingly tender"…

Fish Soup with Fennel

Fish Soup with Fennel 
Let me begin by saying this soup was gloriously successful! No false modesty here, and I have MH (the only liberal in the French village where she spends some of her time) to back up my claims. Described in The Soup Book as "rustic", "Mediterranean-style", "robustly flavoured" and "sure to please", the verdict in this house was that it was a great soup. The ingredients include fennel, garlic, leek, plum tomatoes, brandy, saffron, orange zest, bay leaf, fish stock, potatoes, white wine, mussels, monkfish (you can substitute another firm white fish) and tiger prawns, so it's something of a luxury and you should share it with friends.

As usual, the spouse trotted off last Saturday morning to do the shopping and obligingly went to his favourite fishmonger for the fish.  Then he walked down to Young Stephen's for the fennel - there's surely a tonguetwister there: Favourite Fishmonger is Fine for Fish but Fails on Fe…

Celeriac and Hazelnut Soup

Celeriac and Hazelnut Soup
My first choice of soup yesterday was actually German potato soup and I would have made it if Young Stephen had had chanterelles in stock. The first time I ever saw these mushrooms was when I was a teenager on holiday in Normandy. The family I was staying with brought me out to pick mushrooms and I was astonished to discover that this bright yellow fungus was edible. As far as I can remember, the chanterelles were cooked in an omelette.

Anyway, I brought my copy of The Soup Book with me to Stephen's. His assistant "Marek" apologised for not having any chanterelles (I think they had dried ones), so I whipped out the book to find a different recipe. Don't ask me why I thought of celeriac. I reminded Marek about when I talked to him about tomato borscht (see my blog of 2nd July 2011) and showed him the recipe. (I wonder how many other customers show him their recipe books.) By this time Stephen had appeared and told me that when all the Irelan…

Saffron Soup

Saffron Soup
 This week's recipe from The Soup Book is by Shaun Hill. According to the introduction, it's a variation on leek and potato soup and was a regular item on the menu at Robert Carrier's restaurant in London where Hill worked in the 1970s. The ingredients include onion, leeks, potato, saffron, cumin, chicken stock, dry white wine, cream and lemon juice. I fried the onion before adding the other vegetables, the spices (is saffron a spice?) and the stock. The next step was to transfer the mix into the blender, after which I poured in a splash of the wine. Finally I stirred in the cream and lemon juice. Only the younger offspring and I were at home: the spouse is away and the older offspring is nominally at home in Dublin for a long weekend. Anyway, the two of us ate our soup for lunch today and it was really quite tasty. The tang of the lemon juice and cumin worked really well.


Honey Show

At last I have been to the County Dublin Beekeepers Association Honey Show! T…

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup
Hallowe'en was upon us last weekend, so the obvious choice for a soup was pumpkin. Last year I made Jeanette Orrey's pumpkin and apple soup (see my blog of 30th October 2010), leaving only Monty Don's recipe to make this year. (By the way, did you see his series Italian Gardens? Great stuff!) The spouse bought the pumpkin so that the younger offspring could have a Jack o' lantern. I picked out two designs (one cheery, the other spooky), drew them on opposite sides of the pumpkin, and let the child cut out the shapes. Then I had to scoop out the flesh for the soup and for a cake recipe. The other ingredients were potatoes, vegetable stock, tomatoes, fresh sage leaves and seasoning.

I have tried various pumpkin soup recipes over the years and have usually been disappointed by how bland they were. The spouse suggested that I use a chilli from one of his plants that are growing on our kitching window sill. I thought, "Why not?" Good decision. It gave…