Velouté d’asperges | Cream of Asparagus Soup

This soup, so they say, is reminiscent of the creations of the 18th century French grande cuisine. Asparagus was introduced by the Italians during the Renaissance, and was part of a change in eating habits that saw vegetables introduced into grande cuisine. Previously they had been considered the food of peasants.

This soup is thick, smooth and delicate as well as utterly delicious. It is simple to make with easily accessible ingredients. It is the perfect soup for year-round enjoyment, as it can be served cold in Summer and hot in Winter.  We’ve been making this soup since the early 2000’s.

The soup can also be made quickly and easily in any high speed blender that also heats foods as it blends. I have given the instructions for making it this way as well as the usual, stove-top method. In the blender it takes around 15 mins, including cooking the asparagus. When you are using the high speed blender (mine is a Vitamix), then there are no worries about stringy stalks on the asparagus – all is blended into a smooth, perfect soup.

Similar recipes include Chilled Asparagus Soup, Gentle Asparagus Soup, and Asparagus Raita.

Check out our collection of:

Browse all of our other Asparagus Soup recipes, our Asparagus recipes, and our French dishes. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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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.

Check out our collection of:

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

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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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How to Make Nut Butters

It is good to minimise the use of margarine type spreads because none of them are very healthy. Still use them, of course, but aim for moderation. It is easy to replace margarine at times with pureed avocado or hummus or other bean-based spreads (home made). Check out our growing list of purees of all sorts, dips too, that can be used in place of butter. Nut butters are another alternative.

Cashew butter, almond butter, pistachio butter and peanut butter can all be made – all so very delicious and useful in many ways, not just for spreads. For example, try cashew butter on porridge with some coconut oil and fruit. Very good! Use almond butter with sherry vinegar to make a salad dressing. They can be used for dips, or spooned into soups and wet curries. They good well over steamed vegetables. You can mix them with lemon juice or vinegar and thinned with water to make a great dressing.

Are you a peanut butter addict? The peanut butter is so fresh and vital made this way, I urge you to try it and compare the taste with your purchased one.

It is so easy to make them. Imagine the kids coming home from school and you say “let me whip you up a fresh batch of peanut butter for your snacks!”

Similar recipes include Fava (Split Pea Puree), White Bean Puree with Harissa, and Spiced Tomato Puree.

Also try Fig Salad with Almond Butter Dressing and Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread.

Check out our growing list of purees of all sorts, dips too. Browse some more How To recipes here. Or find inspiration in our Late Spring recipes.

Cashew and Peanut Butters

Nut Butters

Take a cup of raw, unsalted nuts (cashews, walnuts, peanuts, macadamias, pinenuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, or a combination) and place into the food processor. Let the processor run for 2 minutes or so until the nuts are ground and forming a paste. They will look a little grainy. At this point, add a little oil and a pinch of salt (optional), and then continue to process until ground and creamy.

Almond Butter | Nut Butters | Vegetarian | A Life Time of Cooking

Use a tasteless oil if you can – grapeseed or peanut oil would be fine. Cashews will take 1 – 2 Tblspns of oil, but peanuts, being oilier nuts, may take less. Pistachio butter is quite dry and grainy but can be combined with thick yoghurt or cream cheese.

Cashew and Peanut Butters

Nut Butters in the vitamix

Nut butters are especially easy to make if you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix. Place 1 – 4 cups of nuts in the Vitamix – use the smaller jug if you have one for smaller amounts. Blend on high for 1 minute, using the tamper to keep the nuts moving. Switch the machine off if it begins to labour – it is time to add the oil. Almonds will take 2 minutes of grinding.

Add the oil (canola, grapeseed or peanut), according to the nuts, and blend on high again for 30 seconds.

As a guide, use 15-20ml oil per 1 cup nuts for almonds, and vary the oil level according to the oiliness of the nuts. Pistachios might need more – 15-25ml per cup nuts, less for peanuts – about 0.5 Tblspn per cup nuts.

What is the best way to clean a Vitamix after making nut butters? Make a smoothie.

Almond Butter

recipe notes and alternatives
A little sugar or honey can be added with the oil, but is not strictly necessary.

Nuts can be roasted or toasted prior to blending into butter for a deeper taste.

A pinch of salt can be added per cup of nuts, but is also optional.

Try making peanut and sesame seed butter.

This is cross posted to our sister site, Heat in The Kitchen. It appears there as part of the Tips and How To’s series.

browse some recipes with Nuts and Seeds