BROCCOLI BASIL CREAM SOUP

29 September 2009

SP-Broccoli-basil-cream-sou

Broccoli soup

BROCCOLI SOUP with BASIL CREAM

I have been on a green theme lately, avocado, pesto, swiss chard…. it wasn’t conscious I tell you. I take inspiration as it comes. This time it was from the general direction of the fridge, where two broccoli’s & half of a cauliflower were staring me down. Add to that my lack of inspiration for dinner (happens to the best of us right), plus a lonely bouquet of basil and this soup was taking shape.

I have always felt that cream of broccoli soup was missing something, that it needed a little pick me up to tweak the taste buds. Here’s where the basil cream came in. It is not overpowering, in fact you may need a few spoonfuls to put your finger on just what makes this sumptuous soup so much better than the rest.

BROCCOLI SOUP

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PUMPKIN SOUP

17 September 2009

SP-Pumpkin-soup

PUMPKIN SOUP

It is pumpkin season again! I hadn’t quite realised to what extent until last weekend when we were driving through the Swiss countryside and came across huge stalls of every size, shape and colour of pumpkin imaginable. The food bells went off in my head and after much shrieking I had Olivier turning the car around to make a pit stop.

Here things work on the honour system – you take a pumpkin and leave money in the penny jar. If you forget, the headless horseman will come after you that night to remind you. Kidding! So we loaded up the boot, settled the account and drove home with 5 extra ‘friends’.  Now it was a question of what to do with them – soup seemed like a good start.

The secret to this recipe is the use of two different types of pumpkins:

  1. The potimarron (aka Hokkaido squash or kuri pumpkin) a small, intense orange pumpkin with dense bright orange flesh and sweet taste with a hint of chestnut (marron = chestnut in French).
  2. The muscade of Provence which is a large pumpkin, orange/grey in colour with lighter orange flesh, contains more water and has a less sweet taste.

The mix of the two makes the perfect soup. This recipe will also come in handy for my brother who recently bought a second-hand bicycle in Rotterdam which came with a hand blender (don’t ask)!

PUMPKIN SOUP

LENTIL SOUP

20 March 2009

sp-lentil-soup

The DUTCH Series N°5 : Lentil Soup Recipe with Saffron Garlic Roux

It is officially the 1st day of SPRING!

So why am I writing about a winter soup you may ask. Good question. The thing is – the calendar may say that Spring has arrived,  but while it is sunny in Geneva it is still very chilly. I was nearly blown away this morning when crossing the bridge  – literally! It is because of  ‘la bise’ a Northerly wind that comes whistling through the city at a bone chilling rate. It is at these times you really need some stick to your ribs, heart warming food.

Years ago lentil soup was the very last thing on my list of favourite foods. It was something to eat under duress. In fact I was such a terrible child, that once my aunt went to all the trouble of preparing a homemade lentil stew and I turned my nose up and said I couldn’t possibly.  Naughty naughty naughty.

I have since grown up & so have my taste buds.  The first lentil soup recipeI tried will remain nameless, as the spices were all off and it made enough for the Russian army… needless to say, I was not impressed. I have since fiddled and tweaked my way to come up with this version, with a hint of chilly, the tang of lemon, soothed with spices & served with a generous dollop of saffron, garlic roux!

LENTIL SOUP

RUSSIAN BEETROOT SOUP

2 February 2009

sp-russian-beet-soup1

Russian Beetroot Soup

RUSSIAN BEETROOT SOUP – From Russia with love:

Not from James Bond, but from Katya – my gorgeous Russian friend, who definately passes for a Bond girl, but who prefers to spend her spare time in the kitchen rather than being a damsel in distress!

When I asked her about Russian cuisine, she said that ” it is traditionally based on peasant foods because of the extreme climate, and that it is very common for Russian recipes to include simple ingredients such as eggs, flour, milk, sour cream, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and beetroot.”

When I think of Russian beetroot soup the 1st thing that comes to mind is borscht – made with cubes of beetroot, a variety of other vegetables & served with sour cream.

The current recipe is a hand me down from Katya’s friend, a Russian chef, who gave it to her, she then passed it on to me & I am now sharing my version with you 🙂 It is a delicious modern take on the traditional Russian beetroot soup. There are no potatoes or cabbage and the sour cream has been replaced by goats cheese.

The taste is surprising complex – as the ingredients work so well together that you cannot immediately distinguish one from the other. Only after a few minutes does each flavour take on its own persona. The goats cheese* is a nice contrast in colour, taste & texture to the soup, which is warming, rich & smooth, just perfect for the winter months.

RUSSIAN BEETROOT SOUP

Roasted tomato & garilc soup

ROASTED TOMATO & GARLIC SOUP

Two factors influenced this recipe:

  1. The overflowing bowl of tomatoes sitting on my counter–  I went on a shopping spree last weekend buying up every bunch in sight, with views of chopping & freezing tomatoes for the winter months ahead. I think there must have been some pioneer instinct in me that needed to be satisfied. I clearly got a little carried away, as after my 3rd container the pile was only half used…. Luckily there was a plan B!
  2. The fact that it is the cold & flu season, and people are dropping like flies. Is it really any wonder – you leave the house dressed for the north pole, only to find yourself peeling off the layers by lunchtime… just in time for the sun to set early, the temperature to drop and the sweaters to go back on. It’s a vicious cycle. But they say starve a fever, feed a cold, so best to be prepared!

Roasting the tomatoes & garlic, removes the water, concentrates the flavours and accentuates the sweetness. Plus I added a dash of balsamic vinegar to compliment the velvety unctuousness. This dish is perfect as an entrée/starter – due to it’s intensity you do not need a large blow!

Suggestion – I find smaller tomatoes work best as they have less water. Evenly spread them over a baking sheet with edges, as they still release a considerable amount of water when roasted. I use the remaining liquid in the soup. Also do not peel the whole garlic cloves, their skin keeps them tender.

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ROASTED TOMATO & GARLIC SOUP

CARROT & PEAR SOUP Recipe

22 September 2008

EMILY THE GREAT’S CARROT & PEAR SOUP

First there was Catherine the Great of Russia (1729 – 1796), and then a few hundred years later, came Emily the Great, my good friend, who proudly gave herself this name at the ripe old age of 2, for surely one great lady in history deserves another!

And a great lady she is, one who I am proud to know, and who was a lifesaver (the pink kind with a gold star) at my wedding this September 6th. So how does the soup fit in you may ask – well in amongst the dress fittings, dinners, last minute ribbons, welcome packages, speech preparations, vows etc, we all had to eat…. so each member of the family took turns putting something delicious together.

Emily’s contribution to the soup pot – was in fact soup, her version of fresh garden carrot, autumn William pear, and spicy Cayenne pepper. Top that with oven baked, olive oil & garlic croutons, and you have a great fall dish, that I couldn’t wait to put on the blog. Afterall today is the 1st day of autumn / fall.

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RECIPE

{SOUPE FROIDE DE COURGETTES A LA MENTHE} When I was a little girl you couldn’t have paid me to eat a courgette (zucchini), much less a cooked one, and come to think of it, that went for most other vegetables that weren’t served raw! Now I naturally can take no responsibility for this fact and must blame it on inherited genes…. as my mother, 5 years old, sitting at the dinner table, was known to secretly hind her unwanted vegetables under the rim of her plate! Her master plan was working well, until my grandmother cleared the table… 

My palate has developed a little since then and after moving to Geneva, thanks to my fiancé, courgettes have become one of my favourite veggies. So I was thrilled when he decided to make this soup for dinner, and have since slightly modified the original ‘ELLE à table’ recipe used.

NOTE: This recipe must be made ONLY  1 hour in advance of serving! Otherwise the skins of the courgettes turn and give the soup a bitter taste.

RECIPE