Gastronomically Terrific

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.

January 31, 2010

Broccoli and Stilton roulade

Filed under: starter — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 1:30 pm

This weekend we treated ourselves to a three course meal.  Starting with:

Broccoli and Stilton Roulade

Yummy.

What do you get when you combine broccoli and stilton soup, scrambled eggs and meringue?

So, this is our first ever roulade.  Described by the recipe book as “an impressive light lunch, supper dish or starter for a special meal, a roulade is not that difficult to make”.  This is true – relative to rocket science, brain surgery, or fudge making (the three pinnacles of human endeavour).  Compared to a soup, its still quite tricky.  Still, it really was worth it – until you’ve tasted roulade, you’ve never tasted anything quite like it.

There are two parts to this: a broccoli base with a Stilton sauce which are rolled to produce the rolls shown.  The sauce is really quite simple: its just a thick cheese sauce.  The roulade itself is just egg and broccoli – easy, right?  However, to get the unique fluffy melting taste, you have to separate the eggs and whisk the egg whites until they go stiff.  The yolks go in with the steamed broccoli, then the whites folded in.  Then you bake it until it goes yummy and brown, paste it with sauce and roll it up.

Taste wise, it is extremely similar to a broccoli and stilton soup – not too surprisingly!  But the texture is what makes it interesting.  Soft and melting, fluffy and bubbly, roulade is great fun to eat!  Of course, there are a million and one recipes for it, including sweet roulade, and I’m now quite inclined to work my way through them.

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

Recipe: “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 183. Note: the instructions are not very good.  Start with steaming the broccoli, though boiling is also OK – don’t leave it till step 3.  Don’t faff around chopping the broccoli – a light blending does the same job with much less work!

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