I am reading a great book, called Human Values, Volume 1. I love the “Volume 1” part of the title because, although there is no Volume 2 as yet, it suggests that there are so many human values that perhaps a dozen or more volumes might be in the making.
The book is an exploration of Indian/Hindu values by delving into the Vedas and Parana literature to tease out the subtleties of various human values such as compassion, purity, non-violence, steadfastness etc. The book deals with the ethical issues of human values, such as, in what circumstances is it Ok to tell a lie. While not providing answers it does illuminate what the literature has to say.
It is a beautiful treatise from someone who has studied the Vedas for decades. It deepens one’s understanding of what are our everyday aims for living.
Feel that vampires are on the loose? Is it a full moon? Or do you just feel like a touch of Spain tonight? Is it extra cold where you are? Whatever, cook Garlic Soup for no reason at all.
This month has been extra chilli — harking back to winters of long ago which seem colder than the ones of recent years. Enough rain, thank goodness, to have enough water in our dams, to make the nights under warm doonas feel cosy and comforting, to make the world a bright green rather than the dull brown of summer scorching heat.
So back to an old favourite – garlic soup. Quite a traditional soup, I first made it in 1998, and I make it about once per year in the coldest days. The recipe is simple — you can imagine the poorest of people being able to find a head of garlic and some slices of stale bread to make this soup – but is also easily adjusted or tailored for your tastes and the food at hand on your Kitchen Bench.
Source: We have been cooking this soup since 1998. An early version of it was posted here.
Prep time: 7 mins
Cooking time: 25-30 mins
Serves: 5-6 depending how you use it
1 bulb garlic (about 12 cloves)
1 tspn unsalted butter
1 leek, washed and sliced
0.5 cup chopped chives (can use garlic chives if you have an Asian Grocery nearby) — leave 10 – 12 chives uncut for garnish
1 tspn fresh thyme leaves
4 sliced white sourdough bread (or other non-processed bread), soaked in water
4 cups vegetable stock
sea salt and black pepper
juice of half a medium lemon
Simmer the garlic in about 500 ml water for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid. When cool enough to handle, peel the garlic and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan and gently cook the leek until softened. Add the chives and cook for a further minute. Add the cooked garlic, thyme, reserved liquid and stock, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and strain, reserving the liquid. Squeeze excess liquid from the bread, and place in the bowl of a food processor. Puree with the leak and garlic mixture. Stir into the reserved stock, and return to the heat. Heat gently, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the lemon juice. Ladle into warm bowls and top with chives.
- Add a little white wine to the vegetable stock
- For a little spiciness, add a dried red chilli or two in the last minutes of sautéing the leeks. You can remove the chillies before blitzing the soup if you prefer.
- For a little earthiness, add a bayleaf or two, and/or a cracked black cardamom pod.
- Sprinkle with a good hard cheese, grated, when serving.
- White pepper also goes well with this dish.
- Try adding a parsnip chopped finely to the leek.
- Leftovers are not so nice. The soup goes gluggy and gluey, probably because of the bread content. A good excuse to eat it all at one sitting. :)
From the Soup Series
- Poritha Kushambu: Greens Soup with Tamarind
- Roasted Capsicum, Tomato and Peanut Soup
- Spicy Parsnip and Carrot Soup
- Spicy Roasted Parsnip Soup
- Spicy Rustic Red Lentil Soup with Thick Thick Yoghurt
- Take a Tomato – Quick Tomato Soup
- Taking Stock – Making Great Veggie Stocks
- Two Roast Pepper Soups
- Making Vegetable Stock
- Thakkali Paruppu Rasam – Tomato Lentil Rasam: A Sth Indian Beauty (A spicy tomato based broth)
- Thirteen Treasure Happiness Soup