Gastronomically Terrific

December 1, 2013

Chestnut soup with bacon

Filed under: meat, starter — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 9:31 pm
Mmm, still steaming.

Mmm, still steaming.

Wanting to make a soup that would feed both me, my son, a friend and her son, I decided to make this chestnut soup with bacon crumbles. It’s basically a mix of root vegetables, all fried up in garlic oil. Lentils and vegetable stock are then added and left to simmer before chestnuts and sherry are added. Up until this point the soup is veggie – but you then fry up some bacon (again in garlic oil) and add it, and parsley, to the soup. The fact that the basic soup was veggie was another reason it was appealing – it meant that when I made too much of it (which I inevitably did) my veggie husband could eat some of the remainder at a later date.

The soup, with the addition of bacon, was incredibly tasty. The problem was that without the bacon it did taste a little bland. The bacon gave it a little extra kick which was really needed. The friend  I shared this soup with suggested adding blue cheese to it, and after one serving without it (or of course the bacon), my hubby took this suggestion on board. He confirmed that blue cheese worked well, and with it the soup was a winner. One exciting thing for me here was discovering garlic oil – I’d never used it before, and it smells amazing! If you like garlic, that is.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 50-51


February 27, 2011

Creamy carrot and parsnip soup with orange

Filed under: starter — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:30 pm

Parsnip soup is always a good thing, but I really liked the creaminess and orange twang from this recipe.


Mmmm, oranges with cream.


There are two surprising flavours in here – orange, and ginger.  The soup is otherwise a fairly standard affair – stock and cream and vegetables all blended together – but it does taste quite distinctive and in a good way.  We would have this again.

Method (serves 2)

Melt a knob of butter and fry half a chopped onion with a clove of garlic until lightly browned.  Add 200g chopped carrots and 1 large parsnip and saute until softened.  Add 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1-2 tsp on freshly grated orange rind, and 300ml of vegetable stock.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.  Blend in a food processor until smooth, then return to the saucepan, reheat and mix in 60ml of double cream.

Serve with a drizzle of cream, and a sprig of coriander.  (OK, that is parsley in the picture… the supermarket was all out…)

Who made it: A joint effort.

Recipe: The Daily Cookbook by Love Food, February 22nd.

August 29, 2010

Mushroom and Sherry Soup

Filed under: starter — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:12 pm

This soup provided our starter for our monthly three course meal.

A small parsley forest was filled for this meal.

This soup promises an awful lot.  Butter fried onion, garlic provide the base, whilst a whole medley of different mushrooms (ceps, porcini and chestnut) are reduced into a stock, padded out with vegetable stock.  Then it is flavoured with sherry and parsley, a little milk and some soured cream.  All the mushroom flavouring should come out into the sauce and there are a lot of whole pieces for texture.  With all that intense flavouring in there, it came as a surprise that the end result was somewhat bland.  Not dull per se, just not as perky as we’d hoped.

We had a second portion the for lunch the following day and blended it – for me, this was better, because the mushroom flavour was more intense and I’m not too fond of mushroom texture in large doses anyway.  The soured cream really helped, and I think a good dose more of that and something flavoursome (more sherry?  Or perhaps a complimentary herb or spice?) would benefit it a lot.  This was not bad, and we may try it again, but with modifications.

Who made it: A joint effort by Anna and Dan.

Recipe: “The daily cook book” by Love Food, for “September 30th”.

May 3, 2010

Celeriac and emmental soup

Filed under: starter — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:38 pm

This tasty soup brings out the best of the flavour in celeriac.

As usual, soup looks like soup. Believe me, it was tasty.

Celeriac is a funny vegetable.  Literally, you laugh just looking at it.  It’s all knobbly and oddly coloured, clearly related to swedes and turnips.  However, as a root veg it has a very pleasant taste and smell – shockingly, it is something like celery – that is delicate and probably easy to boil out.  Soup brings this out very well.  I’d say the flavour is more pleasant than celery, perhaps because the parsnip like starchy texture is more reassuring.  This blends to a lovely thick soup that feels very satisfying to eat.

The emmental didn’t really add anything here and could be replaced by most cheeses – vegetable stock is the main secondary flavour.  I’d consider gentle spices but you’d have to be careful not to crowd out the celeriac.

Very tasty, we’d try this again.

Who made it: Anna and Dan jointly.

Recipe: “the complete vegetarian cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 154.

February 14, 2010

Carrot and parsnip soup with coconut and tamarind

Filed under: starter — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:04 pm

Warning: this soup is not safe for work…

The best part of this tasty soup is the making.  Its an olfactory orgasm.

Perhaps I should explain.  To make this, you take cumin and coriander seeds and dry roast them in a frying pan.  This smells great.. but then you crush them with a pestle and mortar… and I’ve never smelt anything so good.  The house filled with it, a smell that knocks you back, makes you stop and say, “Wow.” I now want to roast every seed I can, crush it, and try to distil its essence.

And the taste doesn’t let you down.

Real butter on the bread is great too. Mmm.

OK, so it doesn’t look too exciting – soup never does.  But its what’s inside it that counts.  Start by roasting the seeds, then frying onion and garlic, then adding carrot and parsnip and sauté for 10 minutes, then simmer in stock for an hour.  Then add tamarind and coconut milk and purée.

The cumin seeds add a deep roasted flavour, and the tamarind adds a spicy, lemony zest.  The coconut milk gives finishes with a smooth creamy texture.  This is a great soup and I suspect will lead to other many tasty soups with a little variation.  Its definitely a recipe to remember for a substantial starter or a standalone lunch.

Who made it: Dan and Anna jointly.

Recipe: “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook”, by Sarah Brown, page 151.

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