SRC: Carrot, Cumin & Tomato Soup

Okay, so it’s time for the July edition of SRC. The last month has just whizzed by. Its been a huge whirlwind of activity. We’ve had to hunt and finalize another place to move into as our current lease is almost done. That, along with a full time job that sometimes feels more than a full time job has taken over the last month. I haven’t had time to do much else. But I did do this assignment for today’s reveal. And it was so very good.

For this month’s SRC assignment I had Karen’s blog, Lavender and Lovage. If you haven’t visited Karen’s blog yet, you should, you really should. Karen is a freelance writer and recipe developer who toggles between Yorkshire and France. These influences on her food is evident. Her blog is gorgeous and she has one of the most delicious recipe lists I’ve come across. I literally wanted to make every second recipe I saw, if not every single one. I was torn between these perfect Scotch Eggs, these super comforting Beer Battered Fish and Chips and this gorgeous Dark Sticky Double Gingerbread. I still intend trying all of these but I needed something that was not too fussy, but was still delicious and comforting. So when I saw Karen’s recipe for the Carrot, Cumin and Tomato Soup, I knew I had found a winner. I had the carrots and tomatoes on hand. All I had to do was pick up a little cream and croutons of some sort. I got some bagel crisps and they were beyond perfect. This soup is so easy to make and with just a few basic ingredients, its hard to believe how delicious and hearty it turned out. Thanks Karen, this is a soup I know I will make often.

I stuck with the original recipe, except I halved it, since I was cooking for just the two of us .The only tiny change I made was I used fresh coriander leaves as a garnish instead of the parsley used in the original recipe.

 


Carrot, Cumin & Tomato Soup
Serves 3-4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 carrots, diced
4 tomatoes, sliced
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 litre of vegetable / chicken stock
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
A couple of tbsps. cream, to top of the soup bowl (optional)
Fresh coriander leaves, for garnish
Bagel crisps, or any other croutons of your choice

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and onion and stir fry till the onions have softened and slightly browned.

Add the cumin powder, tomatoes and carrot and saute for a minute.

Cover the pot and let it all cook for about 5 minutes till the tomatoes get a little mushy and the cumin is nice and fragrant.

Add the hot stock and stir well.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 30 minutes or till the carrots are cooked through and are nice and tender.

Let it cool a little and then carefully blitz the soup using an immersion blender or a regular blender.

Serve up with some croutons and garnish with a drizzle of about a tablespoon of cream and fresh coriander leaves.

Enjoy!!!

Don’t forget to check out what the other blogger’s in Group A whipped up for today’s reveal.

SRC:Zucchini Spinach Soup

The last couple of months have somehow seemed to sneak past. It is hard to believe that it is May 2016 already. The good part about coming into a new month is the SRC reveal day. This month, I was assigned Sally’s blog, Bewitching Kitchen. I was so excited when I got this assignment. I’ve always been a huge fan of Sally’s blog. Sally is a fascinating person. By day, she is a Biochemist. She also is an exercise fanatic. Originally born in Brazil, she has spent time living in Paris and now is in the USA. You can see delicious influences from all these places in her cooking and on her blog. If you love bread like I do, you are in for a treat. Go and have a look at Sally’s blog. She has a plethora of bread recipes. While you are there, don’t forget to check out the antics of 3 of the most adorable little doggies you have ever seen. I had an amazing time getting to know Sally a little better. And there are so many recipes I can’t wait to try, like this Baked Coconut, these Coconut Brigadeiros, a delicious Cappuccino Panna Cotta and a savoury Brazilian delicacy called Coxinha De Galinha, just to name a few. The Bewitching Kitchen is one blog where you want to try out pretty much every recipe you see. I finally settled on a savoury one this month.

The weather has started cooling down here and when that happens, I find myself longing for soup. In the past, I have to admit, I’ve almost always ripped open a packet of instant soup and made do with that. In the last couple of years though, I have tried out a couple of homemade soups and I’ve enjoyed them so much, I have decided to make a few more this year and to get that started I picked Sally’s Zucchini Spinach Soup for this month’s reveal. Oh what a recipe this is – delicious, warm and hearty. It is hard to believe that a recipe this simple can be so comforting. I’m enjoying the discovery that making soups at home, from scratch is not as complicated as I thought it would be. Thanks Sally, for a beautiful soup, which will make an appearance on our dinner table on many more occasions.

Zucchini Spinach Soup


1 tbsp olive oil
1 leek (white part finely sliced)
3 medium sized zucchini, slice thickly
1 can butter beans
4 cups water
2 cups baby spinach
Salt, to taste
Black pepper powder to taste
A dollop of yogurt
A squeeze of lemon juice

In a pot, heat the olive oil and add the sliced leek. ‘

Saute till the leek turns golden.

Add the zucchini slices.

Season with salt and pepper and saute till the slices get some colour on them, stirring every now and then.


Add the beans and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the water (you could also use vegetable stock if you like).

Cover the pot and let it come to a boil over high heat.

Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or till the zucchini slices are tender.

Add the baby spinach leaves and stir. When the leaves wilt, you can take the soup off the stovetop.

I used an immersion blender to blitz this into a nice luscious soup. You could also use a blender if you don’t have an immersion blender. Irrespective of what gadget you use, please, please, please be cautious while blending the soup, because it is scalding hot.

Serve up hot with a squirt of lemon juice and a little dollop of yogurt.

Enjoy!!!

Spiced Butternut Pumpkin Soup

You’re probably wondering why I’m posting a soup recipe in the middle of summer. Well, it’s like this – we’ve had about two and a half days of rains now. So everything around is grey, wet and bleak. Don’t get me wrong. I love this kind of weather. All you have to do is snuggle up with a nice hot cuppa and a good read or watch the rain – perfect. Also, it means we get to have soup. I love soup but have not made it from scratch often enough. All I can say is, I am done with the instant and frozen, store-bought varieties. I have had very good results the couple of times I’ve made soup from scratch and come this winter, I hope to make plenty more.

So back to the butternut pumpkin. This is the second time I’m making a butternut pumpkin soup. The last time it turned out really bland and I wasn’t overly impressed, which is why it hasn’t made an appearance on the blog. This time around, I decided I wanted some bold, punchy flavours so I looked around and took a few ideas from around the web. It turned out this recipe was easy, simple to make and has big, bold flavours. I remember thinking the last time, that a little ginger would make this soup so much better and I was right. This soup just warms the cockles of your heart.

I took the idea of topping it up with blue cheese from a recipe I found online. Please do yourself a favour and add the blue cheese. The blue cheese elevates this soup from being a nice soup to being a fantastic one.

Spiced Butternut Pumpkin Soup


700g butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp grated ginger
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 – 1 tsp red chilly flakes, or to taste (optional)
1/2 tsp chives
2 tbsp olive oil
1 litre boiling water
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Blue cheese, to crumble over

In a large pot, over medium heat, pour the olive oil.

Add the garlic and when it is fragrant, add the onion and and saute over medium heat, till softened and translucent. Add the ginger and continue sauteing.

Once the ginger has released its aromas, add the celery, carrot and pumpkin.

Sprinkle the salt, pepper and red chilly flakes and stir well.

Let the veggies, saute for about five minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Add one litre of recently boiled water. (You could add cold water too, but that will increase cooking time. Using hot water results in the soup simmering almost immediately.)

Cover and simmer till the veggies are cooked and tender.

When the vegetables are fork tender, take off the heat.

Using an immersion blender, blitz till you are left with a smooth puree. Add the cream cheese and blitz again.

Add the parmesan cheese and chives and stir through.

Serve hot with a little blue cheese crumbled over.

Enjoy!

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

Let me start by saying this has got to be “the best way to eat cauliflower” and this is my favourite soup recipe so far, ever. That is high praise for a recipe that’s as humble as this Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup.

I’d been seeing a lot of cauliflower puree’s popping up all over the place and I was quite eager to try making some myself. That’s what originally prompted me to buy a head of cauliflower. We happened to be at the Flemington markets that weekend and I came across the most gorgeous heads of cauliflower being sold by the the grower himself, a lovely gentleman. I got a pretty great deal on a beautiful head and I was extremely pleased. I was pleased because cauliflower happens to be on the slightly pricey side in Sydney. I paid a fraction of what the prices usually are.

Now let’s talk about the soup. Surprisingly easy to make, I was a little apprehensive about how it would turn out. But I shouldn’t have been. Once this soup was blitzed and finished off, we sat down to a nice bowl of it. Both, my husband and I were amazed at the flavour of this soup. The mustard does wonders for the flavour and you can’t go wrong with a little cheese thrown in. I’m pretty sure that this will be one of our absolute favourite ways to enjoy cauliflower apart from these baked cauliflower poppers. I am so happy to have found another spectacular recipe and can’t wait to share it with you. So if you aren’t too crazy about cauliflower, or have a picky eater at home, try this recipe out and I’m pretty sure they will be converted.

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup
Recipe from: Butter with a Side of Bread

2 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
400 ml chicken stock
1 head cauliflower, cut into chunks / florets (2 1/2 pounds)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Red Leicester cheese (original recipe uses sharp cheddar and Pepper Jack), grated

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add the onion and cook till golden. This should take around ten minutes.

Whisk in the flour and salt. Cook this off for a couple of minutes, making sure that the flour does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Gradually stir in the milk, water and the chicken stock.

Add the cauliflower pieces and bring to a boil over high heat.

Cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or till the cauliflower is tender.

Now, if you have an immersion blender, consider yourself lucky and use it to blend the soup. If you’re like me and don’t own one, don’t worry. Use your regular blender and blitz the soup in batches, while keeping the middle portion of the cover open to let the steam escape. I use a tea towel to cover this opening to prevent splatter.

Blitz the soup till smooth and return the soup back to a saucepan.

Return to medium heat till it has heated through, stirring occasionally.

Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the mustard and the cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of the red Leicester cheese, till smooth.

Serve the soup topped with some of the remaining Red Leicester cheese.

** A little freshly cracked black pepper on the top is also really nice.
**For a vegetarian version, use vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock.

Homemade Split Pea and Ham Soup

So unlike most of you reading this post now, we’re right in the middle of winter, here in Australia. Not just that, we’re in the middle of a polar vortex at the moment. They say this is the coldest its been in the last 20-30 years … brrr!!! A nice warm, hearty bowl of soup hits the spot at a time like this. I’ve always wanted to try some split pea and ham soup. This recent weather seemed like the perfect opportunity.

After looking around the internet for a recipe, I found one I was happy with. I picked up all the ingredients I needed and got to work. I was happy with the fact that I found a pressure cooker recipe, which meant that I could sit down to a nice bowl of soup in a fraction of the time. Since its the middle of the year, I didn’t have any leftover ham. But for those of you that bake a leg of ham around the holidays, using your leftovers would be perfect for this recipe. I bought some smoked ham meat from the supermarket and used it. When I think back, I think I’d be happy even without the ham in the soup. The split pea soup is so flavourful, a vegetarian version would be really delicious as well. All this without the fuss of having to spend hours developing flavour.

I looked at this recipe and this one to get an idea and then from there on I mostly winged it. So here’s my homemade almost homemade split pea and ham soup. If you baked your own ham and made your own stock, you’ve got yourself a made from scratch Split Pea & Ham Soup.  🙂

 Homemade Split Pea & Ham Soup


1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
3 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb dry split peas
1 stock cube (chicken, beef, veg – its upto you)
6 cups water
200-250g ham, diced

Rinse the peas under cold water.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker under medium heat.

Add the bay leaf and onion and saute till onions soften up.

Add the garlic, carrots and celery.

Saute for 4-5 minutes.

Add the peas, crumbled cube and water.

Cover and bring to a boil. After it reaches pressure / till the first whistle, simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.

Take off the heat and let the cooker release pressure on its own.

When it is safe to open, adjust liquid by adding water if needed.

Adjust salt and freshly cracked pepper if need.

Add the ham, remove the bay leaf and let the meat heat through.

If the soup feels like it needs more cooking, cook till it reaches the desired thickness.

Serve hot.

I crack some black pepper over it after serving it up and

Notes:
** You could use stock instead of the cube and water if you have any at hand.

** This soup keeps well in the fridge. My pot lasted us about 10 days. I just took out small portions and heated it up as I needed it.

** I found that the soup thickened after refrigeration. So each time I need to heat up a portion, I added some hot water to the portion I was heating up, to reach the consistency I like and then heated it through.

SRC Orphan Rescue – Beef N Bean Minestrone

Today, I have an opportunity to put up a second recipe from a different blog for SRC, though I wish it was under better circumstances. I’m picking a recipe from Wendy’s blog – The Weekend Gourmet. Sadly she was left out of this months reveal, since the person who was assigned her blog, didn’t get a post up. That is “So not cool!” I know how disappointing it is to be left out of the fun, since this has happened to me twice in the past. So when I heard that Group A had an orphan this month, I was more than happy to jump in and help out. It would be really great if you could stop over at Wendy’s and say Hi, I know it would make her feel a lot better.

Wendy is a girl after my own heart. She enjoys a lot of the things that I do like travelling, listening to music, watching movies, reading and of course, good food. And get this – she’s actually a celebrity, she’s been on TV and cooked in front of a live studio audience! Wendy, I admire you, I would’ve been a bunch of nerves. One look at her Recipe Index, and you know why she’s had such success in the food world. She has an impressive repertoire and picking just one recipe for today’s post proved to be quite a task. There’s so much that I wanted to try. 
Nevertheless, I chose to make her Sausage-White Bean Minestrone. The temperature in Sydney has been steadily dropping and we are well into autumn. Just yesterday, I told my husband that I wanted to add a few made from scratch soups to my regular rotation. I’ve had quite a few packet soups in the past and I don’t think I can take anymore of those. I figured, I try so hard to make most of my food and condiments from scratch, so why not soups? When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it out. I just made a couple of changes to the recipe based on what I had on hand. Also I halved the recipe. You can visit Wendy’s site for the original recipe. The one below, includes a few changes I made. This soup was fantastic. The flavors were beautiful and even my non-soup-loving husband enjoyed this. Thanks for the inspiration Wendy. I know I’ll be making this soup again.
Beef N Bean Minestrone

1/2 lb Ground Beef
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried Italian herb mix
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 can diced tomatoes
4 oz spiral pasta or macaroni (the original called for rigatoni, but you could use whatever you have) {Adjust quantity of pasta to your liking}
Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
Add the ground beef to the pot and over high heat left it brown.
Turn the heat to medium and add the chopped onion, carrot and garlic to the pot and mix well. Let this cook off for 5 minutes till the veggies have softened a bit.
Add the herb mix and stir to distribute well.
Add the diced tomato and stir. Give it a minute to mix with the other ingredients in the pot. Add the stock. Let the soup come to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the pasta / macaroni and beans and cover and let it cook for a further 10-15 minutes based on the cooking time of the pasta.
Serve it hot!
Note: 
1) The original recipe used celery and fresh Italian parsley, which I left out since I didn’t have any.
2) Wendy also used 1/2 cup of red wine, which I left out.