Category Archives: Soup

Ham Hock and Kale Soup

IMG_0447.JPGOn Saturday we made soup. It was a joint effort. I stared out into the garden (it was a cold day inside and out as misted window panes were being finally replaced and so it was like living in a barn as the saying goes)  and noticed that there was still a small cluster of dwarf kale plants in the raised bed. Continue reading

Carrot and Rice Soup

30 November 2013

Carrot and rice soup

When I read soup recipes they are often full of cream and I try to avoid cooking with cream, wonderful unctuous stuff that it is, on account of its asthma inducing qualities.

So I was very pleased to figure out that if one includes a small quantity of rice in a soup that this gives a smooth textural quality to the soup, which if not exactly creamy, certainly comes somewhere near.

I am not anti-dairy, just this specific bit of dairy, namely fresh cream and milk. Fermented milks and creams seem to get round the asthma thing just fine. Hence my love of creme fraiche, and kefir and yoghurt and of course butter!

Carrot and Rice Soup –  a winter’s dish for someone who is under the weather made by someone who had an excess of carrots building up in the vegetable department.

  • 10 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter melted
  • 600-900 ml vegetable stock (about a pint to a pint and a half) – I use Marigold reduced salt vegan stock powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 tbsp rice (about 40 grams)
  • 2 tbsps of lemon juice or Japanese Yuzu dressing (optional)
  • Garnish with chopped parsley or other herbs

carrot and rice soup Method

  1. Peel and slice onion and carrots.
  2. Sweat in melted butter over a low to medium heat till beginning to get soft but don’t let them brown if you can – about ten minutes.
  3. Stir frequently and add a little water if you think the vegetables are catching on the bottom of the pan. It helps if you put the lid on as this keeps the steam in the pan.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and rice and stir well, put the lid back on and cook for about twenty minutes.
  5. I removed some of the vegetables at this point and then return them to the soup at the end as I like texture, but this is up to you. I take out about a halfpint jug’s worth of veggies.
  6. Blend with a wand on in a food processor.
  7. Add back the reserved vegetables if you did.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper and reheat gently.
  9. Garnish and serve with any good bread that you like.

I garnished our soup with chopped Mustard Red Frills, a lovely and easy to grow salad green which has little yellow flowers, and is a prolific self-seeder. It is still doing its thing in the garden, even at the end of November and I found some curly parsley that is hanging on in there.

I also added some Yuzu Japanese citrus dressing which brightens up the taste of the carrots, but you can of course use lemon juice – I only have this exotic sounding dressing because it waved at me one day in the supermarket…. Other options are to swirl a little thick yoghurt in at the end, or indeed a drool of  cream if that is the way you roll.

What soups do you make for comfort food? I like this one and I like pea and ham, leek and potato, and I am working up to making Chinese congee, but need to find some broken Thai rice I think….

Soup and Pancakes

Mainly out of curiosity and a dash of nostalgia I recently bought a copy of Scandilicious  (Saltyard Books May 2011), by Signe Johansen. I was just watching her promotional video on Amazon today and reflected on how different her upbringing was from mine!

Min Danske Mor arrived in England in the fifties from Sweden, where she had lived from the age of thirteen, armed with two Swedish cookbooks and only the vaguest notion of how to feed a family.  She struggled with the butchers, who cut the meat up differently, the imperial weights and measures, unfamiliar dishes with names like Yorkshire Pudding and relied on a handful of suppers which she could make. We never had puddings, but ate large quantities of salad as our second course, always with a mustardy  French vinaigrette.  Continue reading

Soup Construction

  • Tomato stock – from roasting tomatoes and garden herbs for passata
  • Chicken stock – from roasting chickens
  • Leek thinnings – from transplanting leeks
  • and a couple of big leeks
  • Sticks of celery – found in fridge
  • Carrots – ditto
  • Spinach – leftover from Ottolenghi chickpea and butternut squash dish
  • A handful of Cooked chickpeas – ditto
  • End of parmesan, grated

Sweat leeks, carrots and celery in a little good olive oil and butter, add stocks, throw in the chickpeas and spinach and sprinkle with parmesan.

Toast from strange sourdough that started out as being for pizza, (made with some of the tomato stock as above) but owing to major mistaken identity moment turned into this:-

Smile even though you have messed up!

Surprisingly baked up to make this:-

Look at you guys!

Close up:-

Not bad!

For the curious: the crumb shot!

Don’t you just love it when the dough forgives you?

Celeriac and Fennel Soup and Mushroom Risotto

fennel celeriac soup steps on the journeyIt’s cold outside and what could be nicer than experimenting with a new soup recipe?

Heidi’s Northumberland celeriac and fennel soup was at the very top of my to do list.  I had a big bowl of chicken stock left over from a couple of days ago,  so it was soup and risotto for supper, no question!


I followed Heidi’s recipe, cooking the vegetables and the fruit in stock till they were soft. Then they were puréed and the liquid adjusted.  Salt and pepper to taste, mixed in some ground toasted almonds and  a generous spoonful of half fat creme fraiche (instead of half and half regular cream)  per serving. Warmed the soup through, without letting it boil, and even remembered to warm the soup bowls!

Celeriac is very good right now, firm and fresh and one of my favourite winter vegetables. It was wonderful in this soup!  I also like it

  • added to mashed potatoes
  • cut into julienne strips, blanched for a minute  and slathered in mayonnaise and yoghurt with a grainy Dijon mustard:  celeriac remoulade.
  • as a layering vegetable in a shepherd’s pie or similar.

I’m sure I read somewhere that it has loads of accessible iron too, so a good vegetable to put on your list if your iron levels are low.

It discolours on contact with the air, so acidulated water is a good idea if it is going to be used for remoulade or some assembly dish where it has to hang around for a bit before getting cooked.

I had no blanched almonds, so I went through that lovely ritual of pouring boiling water over the almonds and popping their skins off and toasting them in the oven.  They’re much nicer that way anyway.  That’s the smell of a Danish Christmas come early for me and I think this soup would fit right in for a Danish Christmas Eve supper.

celeriac and fennel soup

We followed up that nutty, intensely flavoured and creamy soup, scattered with ground toasted almonds and chopped fennel fronds with a mushroom risotto out of Marcella Cucina a great Italian cook book by Marcella Hazan and….

mushroom risotto… then dived into a tasting box of chocolates from Artisan du Chocolat – a gift from Tutak to Brian that I was allowed to share selectively.

Artisan du Chocolat I think they are some of the best chocolates I have ever tasted! In fact I couldn’t take an unblurry picture because I was too eager to grab another of those salted liquid caramel balls…


In the winter garden, a rogue fennel seedling has inserted itself in the patio step and is waving its little fronds defiantly against the cold. I wonder when the first fennel was grown here? I always thought it was an Italian plant, but maybe it came over with the Romans?