Cream of Asparagus Soup

Asparagus has that gentle flavour that makes it an ideal Spring vegetable, especially for soups. Asparagus soups do not have the heaviness of Winter soups, and as we emerge from jumpers, scarves, hats and overcoats, it is a delight to have its gentleness.

I don’t mean to imply that this soup should be kept only for Spring – indeed it will be a staple in your kitchen from Spring right through to the end of Autumn, at the times you can source decent asparagus. This recipe is a take on the recipe that appeared in Moosewood all those years ago – you Woodstock fans will know what I mean (and I am not referring to the bird!). It is a little different to the French Cream of Asparagus that we have also been making for quite a number of years.

This soup can be made in a high speed blender, one that heats the soup as it blends. While it misses the sweetness that can only be found in slowly cooked onions, sauteed asapragus and toasted roux, it is still a great option for evenings after a long day at work.

Similar recipes include the French Cream of Asparagus Soup, Chilled Asparagus Soup and Gentle Asparagus and Turmeric Soup.

Browse all of our Asparagus dishes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Uppadam | Okra Kuzhambu with Sundakkai Vatral

Uppadam is an older recipe, one which people recall their Grandmothers or perhaps Mothers making, but which seems to have lost favour in the current generations. It is generally made with okra, and, as Uppadam means something that is preserved, with vatral, sun-dried vegetables, as well. Manathakkali vatral is traditionally used, and I searched high and low for it. It is difficult to obtain here, it seems, so Sundakkai is the recommended alternative. Sundakkai is sun-dried Turkey Berry/Pea Eggplants.

There are a few ways of making Kuzhambu style dishes with okra, but I particularly like this way. It has that sense of connecting one with past generations of women cooking in the kitchens of South India, or directing the making of similar dishes with a specialist’s hand. The okra is cooked with spices and the vatral, before tamarind and a paste of toasted rice, fenugreek, and chillies is added. This thickens the dish, so it is half way between a Rasam and a Sambar. Meenakshi Ammal has a similar recipe, and I will share that one too, in due course.

Roasting the rice will interest you. It releases more moisture that you thought possible, and the grain itself therefore changes somewhat. Roast until it is aromatic.

Similar dishes include Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Vatral Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Okra dishes and all of our Kuzhambu recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho

Cold soup is a treasure of Summer weather. Some countries (eg India and the Middle East) have a whole cuisine of cold drinks that are sipped in the extreme weather of the hottest periods of the year, and countries such as Spain have a cuisine of cold soups to slurp in similar weather. Here, we have neither although our weather in Summer equals or exceeds that of those countries. It is a puzzle why that is.

Never fear, here in our little patch of Australia, both cold soups and cold drinks prevail in hot weather.  From the simplest (juice tomatoes with a tiny piece of chill, serve as a soup with basil, spring onions, black pepper, sea salt) to beautiful but out of fashion vichyssoise varieties.

Today we make a Gazpacho style soup with watermelon as well as tomato. It is delicious on a hot Summer evening, eating on the deck or verandah with friends and family. Serve as a soup, or even as a savoury drink, like you might serve a tomato juice – leave the bread out if you are going to serve it this way. Sipped or slurped, it is wonderful.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, from Plenty More, although I have added some cucumber back into the recipe. I love its juice and can’t imagine a gazpacho without it. It makes a difference. Sometimes, I have also added the juice of zucchinis (surprisingly delicious and cooling) in the past too, because I had a glut of them, and it is delicious. It is such a light and delicious soup, and easy to make – you will want to make it all Summer.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Coriander and Lemongrass VichyssoiseGazpacho,  and Cold Avocado Soup.

Browse all of our Cold Soups and all of our Tomato Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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A Collection of 31 Soups for Mid Winter

Brrrrr, turn the heater up, it is so cold! Bundled up, we go about our daily business, thinking of hot soups and warming food, hot ovens and warm kitchens. Mid Winter can make winter feel like it is never ending.

Let me help you with some soups to bring both warmth and delight to your table. Take the stock out of the freezer, survey your pantry and make a soup each and every day of Mid Winter.

To help you on your way with stocks for your soups, here are the ones that we use the most

Now that you have your Winter menu organised, let’s get cooking! Most of these soups will freeze well.

Here are 30 of our best Soups for Early Winter.

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Every Meal some Simple Greens

Even Vegetarians need their greens, and sometimes, if we are truthful, we don’t place enough emphasis on bringing these various and beautiful vegetables into our diet. How are you going? Vegetarian or not, we can use some help to bring green beauty into our lives at the kitchen table.

If we look around the world, various cuisines use tricks (I prefer to call them habits) t0 increase our intake of elements that are healthy and perfectly compliment the cuisine of the area. The ubiquity of yoghurt in Indian cuisine, for example, the Salads of Thailand, the Salad course of France, and the Greens before Dinner custom of parts of Italy.

In a time where dimension and complexity are the buzz words of the food world, simple is a welcome point of difference. Simple, where the taste of the ingredients shine through strongly and identifiably.

The Greens before Dinner custom is one that resonates in this household. It is very simple:

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Burnt Aubergine and Mograbieh Soup

Mograbieh is a gorgeous large couscous, one of several varieties available around the Mediterranean and Middle East that includes maftoul, fregola, giant couscous, pearl couscous and Israeli couscous. They are generally widely available – some in supermarkets but the best in Middle Eastern groceries. Although there are differences, they can be interchanged in many recipes.

This recipe is a delightful and unusual soup – who has heard of eggplant soup before? Today we have one for you. It is Israeli in origin, and features in Tamimi and Ottolenghi’s book Jerusalem. The texture is from the mograbieh and fried eggplant, and the smooth soup base is char-roasted eggplant and tomatoes.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking mainly from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Mograbieh and Artichoke Pilaf, Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans, and Couscous Lunches.

Browse our Eggplant recipes. Mograbieh dishes, and our Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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A Collection of 30 Soups for Early Winter

Winter is here, and it is a cold and wet start to the season this year. Out of the wardrobe come jumpers, coats, scarves and beanies. In the kitchen, soups arrive – wholesome and hearty, steaming as they hit the table. We are grateful to Winter for providing us with the weather to have these great soups.

Our approach to stock for soups has varied over the years. In current times, we tend to make it as we need it, quickly infusing skins and peels, lentils, vegetables, herbs and spices to match the soup. In past years, when we were busier, stocks always sat in the freezer – we made them in the evenings, or as we prepared other dishes the stock would bubble on the stove. Choose a method to suit your lifestyle and family. Sometimes we just use water! We rely on the vegetables and other ingredients itself to shine in the soup.

To help you on your way with stocks, here are the ones that we use the most.

Now that you have your Winter wardrobe organised, let’s get cooking! Most of these soups will freeze well.

Here are 30 of our best Soups for Early Winter.

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Malabar Spinach in Spicy Gravy | Bachali Koora Pulusu

Pulusu is an Andhra gravy dish with tamarind. It is often called a soup or a stew, and can be made with a variety of vegetables. Okra is common, but today we make it with Malabar Spinach, one of the many different greens sometimes referred to as Chinese Spinach.

The dish is spiced with mustard seeds and sesame seeds, and can be eaten soup-like, or with hot rice. I love it over rice. It doesn’t take very much time to make, so in this household, it is a perfect lunch dish.

Are you after other Andhra dishes? Try Spinach with Garlic and Lemon, Stirfried Okra with Sesame Seed, and Andhra Spinach Chutney.

We have some other Spinach dishes that you can browse, or browse all of our Andhra Pradesh recipes. Our collection of Indian dishes is here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Soupa de Habas | Mexican Fava Bean Soup with Saffron

Recently we made a Mexican dried fava bean soup, full of chilli, garlic and herbs, and very delicious. Today’s Fava Bean soup, also from Mexico, is full of garlic, chilli, cumin and saffron, and really is very good. I think it has become my second favourite fava bean soup. We have a larder full of all sorts of dried broad beans this year, so it definitely will be a broad bean Winter!

The secret of this soup is a recado – a flavoursome and aromatic puree of tomatoes, garlic and onions that is fried off and used as a soup base.

Fava bean soups generally fall into two categories – the style that features the texture and flavour of the beans, and the style that uses the creaminess of the beans as a base for other flavours. Both are wonderful winter soups, and the Mexican style falls into the last category.

Similar dishes include Fava Bean Soup with Roast Garlic, Mint and Coriander, Fava Bean Soup with Potatoes, Fava Bean Soup or Dip with Herbs, and Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs.

Browse all of our Fava Bean dishes, and all of our Soups. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250m

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Potage Crème de Tomates et de Pommes de Terre | Cream of Tomato and Potato Soup with Leeks

Today we have one of Elizabeth David’s Divine Dishes, a Retro Recipe – one we have been making for decades. It is a Soup for late Summer and Early Autumn through to Winter (tip – freeze tomatoes in Autumn so that you can make this soup in Winter).

This is so simple, cheap but flavoursome, and quite beautiful. Elizabeth David claims that you can taste the butter, the cream and each vegetable. You can!

Similar recipes include Sweet and Sour Leeks with Burrata, Creamy Tomato Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger, Roasted Tomato and Sweet Corn Soup, and Rustic Tomato Soup with Feta.

Browse our our Soup recipes and our French recipes. We have various Potato Soups and Tomato Soups. Or just explore our Late Autumn Dishes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can explore more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu

Talk about a meal in a bowl, Laksa is the bomb. Anyone who has been to S.E. Asia will have had this dish in street stalls, fragrant, hot, and spicy. The good news is, it is not so hard to make at home. Perhaps some of the optional additions that are available in roadside stalls are not common in other countries, but you can replicate the fragrance and spiciness of the dish.

In this recipe, a spice paste is made by blending the ingredients then cooking it off slowly before adding stock and other flavour enhancing ingredients. This beautiful broth is served with noodles, sprouts, herbs and other toppings.

This recipe is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Malay Coconut-Curry Stock (another excellent base for Laksa), and Asian Broth.

Browse all of our S.E. Asian recipes and all of our Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Turnip Soup with Yoghurt and Coriander-Walnut Paste

Out of Afghan comes a soup with Turnips – in fact turnips feature strongly throughout the Middle East around to Afghanistan. This recipe cooks the turnips with spices and leeks and serves it as a creamy soup accompanied with a paste of coriander, chillies, garlic and walnuts. Turnips when cooked are so gentle. They are definitely an under-rated vegetable here in Australia.

The coriander paste in this recipe includes vinegar, and the tang of the acid with the sweetness of the turnips is delightful.

Similar recipes include Turnips with Quince Molasses, Turnips with Mustard Greens in a Creamy Sauce, Cream of Roasted Swede Soup, Radish with Coconut Milk, Georgian Coriander and Walnut Paste, and Zhug.

Browse all of our Turnip dishes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup

Recently in the kitchen we have renewed our love affair with miso soup. While others will tell you to spend time making stocks and broths for miso soup, and cook any number of ingredients, I have a wonderful, never-fail, 5 minute approach to making miso soup. The secret is, there is little that needs to be pre-cooked for miso soup. The most I do is to soak some cute little beancurd bows (but even the pre-soaking can be skipped), and perhaps some noodles. They soak while the kettle boils and the ingredients are sliced. Mix miso with hot water until dissolved, pour into a lovely bowl, add the thinly sliced ingredients and a few other flavour enhancers (see my post), the noodles if using, the beancurd perhaps, and sip contentedly. Deep flavours, comfort and nourishment. What more could you want?

Ottolenghi’s approach to what I consider to be his version of my miso soup (without using miso, let me be clear). Yet his is faaaar more complicated. It is a kitchen-sink style approach. Perhaps he should use miso! He considers this recipe to be a variation on Asian soups such as Thai tom yum or Vietnamese pho. The key is the stock, which must be rich and hearty, with many layers of flavour. And, miso or not, the broth is extraordinary! Hot and sour as promised. Earthy and deep, yet with a lightness too. It was a real surprise.  Make double and freeze half.

He doesn’t add noodles, but you can. I recommend making double the amount of broth, make the mushroom soup as-is, then decide how to use the second half with the noodles. Mushrooms and noodles. Greens and noodles. Fried tofu and noodles.

It’s interesting to me that he doesn’t include dried shiitake mushrooms in the stock (and sliced for the soup). Dried Shiitake are a vegetarian’s best friend when it comes to dark, flavoursome broths. Anyway, this is how I make an Asian Stock that is so delicious it is worth keeping some in the fridge and freezer, and using it for whatever you are making – rice, risotto, noodles, …. Ottolenghi’s is rather similar, come to think of it. But my broth is light and summery, his is deep and earthy.

You’ve guessed it, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More. In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Mushrooms in Terracotta, Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu, and Slightly Pickled Mushrooms with Tamari and Sesame.

Browse all of our Soups and all of our Mushroom recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Dried Fava Bean Soup with Roasted Garlic, Mint and Coriander

The general range of dried fava bean (broad bean) soups and purees tend to be gently flavoured – a few herbs, some olive oil. They are delicious, of course, and I have a soup that is a definite Winter favourite. But dried fava beans can also provide a beautiful base for stronger flavours – say, roasted garlic, roasted onion, chilli, some roasted tomatoes, a little acid in the form of cider vinegar. How delicious! This soup makes you think about fava beans in a different way!

There is a recipe in the 15 yr old book Mexican Kitchen, by Rick Bayless, that sparked this recipe. This recipe takes his ingredient palette and tweaks them quite a bit for our kitchen, and for easily available ingredients. It is an impressive soup, perfect for cold winter nights. It will thicken a little on standing, so you may need to thin with a little water if you are making the soup at night for the next day.

There is a smokiness to this dish, because of the roasting of the main flavour ingredients. Also, I used black fava beans which have a slight smokiness about them too. The black colour of these beans is in the skin, so once peeled, they will not turn you soup black! You might come across them if you search, but I was given these by a neighbour who dried his own. (If you want to increase the smokiness of this soup, use smoky paprika instead of the chilli paste.)

Similar dishes include Mexican Fava Bean Soup with Saffron, Fava Bean Soup with Potatoes, Fava Bean Soup or Dip with Herbs, and Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs.

Browse all of our Fava Bean dishes, and all of our Soups. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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A Collection of 20 Soups for Mid Autumn | Seasonal Cooking

The weather suddenly turns cold around the middle of Mid Autumn, whether that is April in the Southern Hemisphere or October in the Northern Hemisphere. Rain sets in heating is turned on, jackets and raincoats come out of the closet. Scarves, gloves and hats are at the ready.

In the kitchen, citrus fruit is beginning to ripen, root vegetables take pride of place, and lentils and beans begin to appear on the table again. We bake, because the oven warms the kitchen. And hot soups and broths again appear, to bubble away on the stove top.

Enjoy our 20 Soup Suggestions for this month that heralds the colder weather to come.

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