Cauliflower and Ginger Soup

A new Farmers’ Market has opened up near my Mum and Dads place in Canterbury in the last month or so. It has been such a treat being able to stock up on fresh organic fruit and veg. for the week. There’s artisan breads, a couple of cake stalls, a few hot food trucks, a fresh flower vendor and even pony rides to keep the kids happy. I love being able to speak with the farmers about their produce and where the farms are. It’s good to know that a lot of my purchases didn’t have to travel thousands of kilometres and most of the produce is harvested fresh for these markets.
My stash from a couple of weeks ago….

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Anyway….Cauliflower Soup….

I’ve only recently acquired the taste for cauliflower soup. Can’t believe it’s taken this long…. I tried it with some fresh ginger the other night and it was divine so I thought I’d share….

 

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Cauliflower and Ginger Soup.

30g butter or 1 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 brown onion – thinly sliced
1Tblsp fresh ginger – finely chopped (more or less depending on your taste).
1 medium potato – peeled and diced
1/2 head cauliflower – roughly chopped
Salt, pepper to taste

Melt butter in a medium saucepan then add the onions and cook for a few minutes over medium heat until the onions are soft. Add the ginger and cook for a minute more before throwing in the potato and pouring in enough water to cover them. Bring to a simmer until the potatoes are tender.
Add the cauliflower and a little more water (enough to mostly cover the cauliflower) and allow to steam until mushy.
Carefully blitz the lot and season with salt and pepper.
It doesn’t get any easier than that….

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I served the soup with some cheese and avocado bread roll toasties. Perfect for a chilly winters night.

Enjoy…
We did….

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Curried Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup

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Mmmmm….I love sweet potato. I love it sliced thick or thin, cut in large wedges or even just in half longways and drizzled with oil and fennel seeds then baked. It’s a great alternative to mashed potato and I’ve even grated it and used it in cakes. So versatile.

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Or there’s this soup. A lower G.I. version of pumpkin soup.

30g butter + 30g olive oil
1 medium brown onion – diced
1 clove garlic – crushed
1 tsp fennel seeds
1\2 tsp turmeric powder
1\4 tsp curry powder
1 medium potato – diced
2 medium sweet potato – diced
1\4 cup red lentils
3 cups of water or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

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Heat butter and oil in large saucepan over a medium heat then add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, turmeric and curry powder and cook for about a minute.

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Throw in the potato, sweet potato and lentils. Top up with the water, bring to the boil then lower heat, cover saucepan and allow to simmer away happily for about 30 minutes or until the potato and lentils are soft.
Season with salt and pepper.
You could eat it as is or purée in a blender or food processor.
Serve with a dollop of natural or Greek style yoghurt and some warm buttered bread.
Perfect for a cool Autumn evening.

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Please enjoy…

Hot Days and Chilled Yoghurt Soup.

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It’s too hot. It’s too humid and we’ve definitely over-indulged over the last few weeks.

Oh by the way…Happy New Year to everyone…

Just about everyone around me ate and drank too much and I know this because I ate and drank right along side them.

My family celebrate on Christmas Eve. All my siblings with their families and some friends that have become part of the family head over to my mum and dad’s around 7ish where there is always too much food.

We spend the night singing (out of tune) way too loudly, we dance way too wildly and we laugh like a bunch of lunatics, and would never change any of it for anything. This year was extra special because my sister, niece and nephew arrived from New Zealand at 7ish on Christmas Eve and are here for the holidays.

I only wish I had some photos to share with you of our crazy night. Maybe next year….

Anyway, too much food and wine time is over for a little while. Time to give the old body some healthy and that’s where this delicious and disgustingly healthy and cooling soup comes in.

Cold Yoghurt and Cucumber Soup with mint and garlic. It’s perfect as an entrée or served with Riz (rice and egg noodle pilaf. Check out the link for the recipe) or grilled lamb or just in a big bowl as it is.

You’ll need:-

350g natural Greek style yoghurt

1 large clove of garlic – crushed

2 lebanese cucumbers – either sliced or diced

some fresh mint leaves – finely chopped

250 ml icy cold water

salt to taste

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Now here’s the really hard bit..whisk together the yoghurt and water in a big bowl then stir in the rest of the stuff and serve.

Perfect…

Enjoy…

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Spicy Tomato Soup

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I do try to follow a recipe as it is written, I really do, but the way I see it is a recipe is there as a guideline or idea. You take that idea into your kitchen and let it inspire you to cook something magnificent.

Sometimes that recipe is just what your looking for, except for that one ingredient that you don’t like or don’t have handy. 

For example, I don’t like cooked capsicum. I can easily eat a fresh capsicum and love it but once you add heat to the capsicum, I can’t eat it. Don’t judge me on that, every one has their own little quirks. I just leave it out.

This months The Cookbook Guru‘s chosen book is Neil Perry‘s – The Food I Love and Spicy Tomato Soup was exactly what we felt like for dinner.

Now, I didn’t make any major changes to the recipe, I added a little extra chilli and garlic, and didn’t have any smoked paprika so put in hot paprika and a little cayenne pepper, and of course  some fennel seeds.

The recipe does call for a herby, garlicky paste but it is well worth that little extra effort.

Here’s my version of Neil’s Spicy Tomato Soup:-

For the paste:-

4 cloves garlic – roughly chopped

1/2 red onion – roughly chopped

1 handful flat-leaf parsley

1 handful coriander leaves

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

Throw everything in a food processor with a couple tablespoons of water and puree. Set aside.

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For the soup:-

2 Tbls olive oil

2 ripe tomatoes – diced

1x400g can diced tomato

2 celery stalks – diced

1 small carrot – diced

1/2 Tbls sherry or red wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar 

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium saucepan and add the celery, carrot and herb paste. Cook for a few minutes, stirring it often so it doesn’t burn, then add the diced tomato, canned tomato, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and 300ml water. Bring to the boil, lower heat and let simmer,covered, for about an hour.

You can serve it as is, chunky style or you can puree it so you get a thick and smooth soup.

 I served it with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt, a generous sprinkle of chopped fresh coriander leaves and some fresh homemade bread.IMG_1308

Fattoush (Lebanese Bread Salad)

image This is a great salad. It goes well with anything or it’s great on its own. I usually make Fattoush as a side when I make roast veggies for dinner. However, chicken breast is on the menu tonight and the tanginess of the sumac in the salad dressing will go brilliantly with it. Sumac is a berry that has been dried and ground into a course powder. at adds a letaste tang to whatever you use it on. Most supermarkets stock it in the herb and spice section now-a-days.

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The thing with this salad is you can use whatever salad ingredients you have at hand. You can choose any or all of the ingredients I’ve used and as much or as little as you like. Just mix together the dressing ingredient and set aside. Toss the salad stuff in a large bowl, add the dressing and mix well.

Only add the bread when you’re ready to serve so it stays crunchy.

Salad: Lettuce leaves, chopped tomato, cucumber,  radish, capsicum, parsley,  spring onion, toasted Lebanese bread

Dressing: 2 tbs olive oil 1 1/2 tsp sumac 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper 1 tbs lemon juice 2  cloves crushed garlic

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enjoy…

Cauliflower and Leek Soup

What’s for dinner tonight…..?

Well, nearly had cheese sandwiches actually.

There I was chopping veggies, getting things ready and the electricity goes out. My stove and oven are electric.

A massive power outage  took out the electricity grid for most of the inner west of Sydney and then some. Who knew if it was going to come back on any time soon?

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There was no telling when my husband was getting home – trains weren’t running on the line he catches.

I had bought a loaf of sourdough bread from the local bakery this morning so fresh bread slices with cheese and tomato would be a easy dinner to prepare in the dark.

However, the electricity did come back on with plenty of time to continue with my plan of making soup.

So…..

Chop up a head of cauliflower (mine ended up being about 600g), throw it into a large saucepan and then fill with water. Bring to the boil. Then turn the heat off and leave to sit for about 5 minutes and strain. (They’ll only be partially cooked at this stage)

In the same saucepan melt about 40g butter with 2 tbs olive oil. Add 1 large leek that you’ve washed and sliced very thinly. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes on a medium heat, then add 1 large diced potato and the cauliflower.

Top up with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of stock (I used beef because its all I had in the kitchen), cover, bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (I love adding fennel seeds – about 1/2 tbs).

Once the veggies are tender, whizz up in a food processor, blender or with a stick blender. Taste, adjust seasoning.

Serve and eat.

Not many ingredients but full of flavour and because of the potato, it ends up being rich and creamy – no need to add any cream. Bonus.

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Enjoy…

Monks’ Soup – Lentil Soup with burghul dumplings. (Kibbet Rahib)

monk soup 5Meat overload yesterday.

Two birthdays were celebrated at my mum’s. Two very happy nieces.

As per our tradition, whoever is having a birthday gets to 1. Select the lunch menu,  and  2. Select their birthday cake.

My Saturday night was spent baking and decorating two very different cakes.I had a ball.

ImageImage                                                                                 For lunch, one niece chose barbecued chicken skewers and lamb chops while the other chose salmon sushi. (How’s that for variety?)

We had perfect cool but sunny weather, and very full bellies. However, there is always room for cake. Let me tell you now, my family is absolutely insane and we have the time of our lives when we get together.

So….after all that meat and rice and cake and sugar and coffee and conversation and laughter…it’s time for lentils and soup…

This one is traditionally eaten by Lebanese Christians during lent. It contains no meat or dairy. Our family eats it on the first day of lent while others will have it on Good Friday. I remember being in the kitchen helping my mum by stirring the big pot of soup while she put the little dumplings in.

As usual I’ve got to say, this recipe is very easy and delicious.

Make the dumplings by soaking 1/2 cup fine burghul (that’s been rinsed) in 3/4 cup cold water for about 30 minutes. The burghul will soak up all the water.

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Grate 1/2 a large onion (you’ll need the other half for the soup) and add it to the burghul with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground pepper and 3/4 cup plain wholemeal flour. You can also add a little finely chopped mint leaves to the mix (I actually remembered the mint too late! Oh well, for this particular batch I’ll be adding it to the soup at the end. It’s all good.)  Mix it all very well with your hands until you get a dough-like consistency. Keeping hands slightly wet, roll teaspoons of mix into little dumplings.Image Set aside while you start preparing the soup.

Rinse 1/2 cup brown lentils and put them in a large saucepan.Pour in 5 cups of cold water, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are almost tender. In the meantime, dice the other half of your onion and cook in 2 tbs olive oil until starting to brown on the edges.

Once lentils are almost ready, pour in the cooked onion along with the oil. Now, gently lower the dumplings into the soup.Image Carefully stir them around, cover the pot and allow to very gently simmer for about 10 minutes while you crush 3-4 cloves garlic in a mortar and pestle with 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, the juice of half a lemon and 1/2 tsp dried mint leavesImage (this is extra mint, not the lot I forgot to add to the dumplings….).

After the 10 minutes, add the garlic and mint mix to the soup, stir, cover and leave to simmer for another 15 minutes.

We serve this with lots of toasted Lebanese Bread.

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Perfect.

Enjoy…