Celeriac soup

Eating seasonally, and especially shopping at my favourite farmers’ market, has opened up to me new horizons when it comes to varieties of fruit and veg available here in Britain. It would have been so easy sticking to my favourites. And oh so dull! I would have never fallen in love with kale, or got into the whole pumpkin thing. But I ventured out of my vegetable comfort zone and decided to challenge my tastes and explore the seasons. This is how I faced this delicious monster – the celeriac, or celery root (which is basically what it is). I don’t have a picture, but take a look here, or here and you’ll see what I mean. It certainly wouldn’t win the vegetable beauty contest, to put it charitably. Some say ‘ugly duckling of the vegetable world’, but it’s more of a Quasimodo of the vegetable world, if you ask me. Nevertheless, this hideous exterior hides delicately flavoured and silky interior very similar to fennel in flavour, but slightly nuttier. It can be eaten raw, roasted, mashed or turned into a soup. Its crunchy silky flesh is excellent in salads, for example. I even sautéed it with garlic and olive oil, and had it with pasta, sprinkled with some parmesan. Delicious, I tell you! But still, my favourite way so far is a celeriac soup. That’s actually how I had it one of the first times I tried it. It was in a lovely delicate soup that I’ve since wanted to recreate at home. And I did. Tonight. So here’s the recipe, and my entry for Eating with the Seasons: February.

 

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 Celeriac Soup

 

 SOURCE:  inspired by a dish I had at a restaurant

PREPARATION TIME: about 10 – 15 min

COOKING TIME: about 20 min

CUISINE: British?

SERVES: 3 – 4

 

 INGREDIENTS:

1 celeriac, peeled and chopped, weighing about 1 kg

chicken stock, enough to cover the celeriac

1 bay leaf

1 bouquet garni (or a few sprigs of thyme)

1 tsp olive oil

one tsp butter

a handful of almonds and hazelnuts

2 leeks, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

150 ml of crème fraiche, or to taste

1/2 tsp chili powder, optional

a handful of grated parmesan

a pinch of nutmeg, optional

 

METHOD:

I. First, bring the celeriac to boil with the stock and the herbs. Cook until soft.

II. Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a pan, and add the nuts, garlic and leek. Sauté until the leeks are soft, and the nuts are starting to brown a bit. Remove from the heat when done.

III. Puree the celeriac and the leek mixture until silky and smooth. Add the chili powder and nutmeg, if using, and the crème fraiche. I’d start by adding a few tablespoons at a time and then tasting it to see what it’s like. Stop when you think it’s enough. I like it mildly sour from the crème fraiche, but still with the strong celeriac flavour.  Just before serving, mix in some grated parmesan and stir. Put a bit more on top, for a good measure, and enjoy with some lovely bread.

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Other soup recipes at Maninas:

Creamy carrot soup with rose harissa

Dalmatian fish soup

Fragrant and aromatic salmon soup with noodles

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Varar – Sri Lankan cabbage and leek with coconut

This gorgeous Sri Lankan vegetable side dish is the dish that made me love both leek and cabbage! It magically transforms the everyday common leek and cabbage a real star of a dish. The vegetables are gently stir-fried with onion, chilies and curry leaves, tossed with fresh or desiccated grated coconut, and livened up with a squeeze of lime. Quick to make and utterly delicious! I love it!

Any green veg can be used in this dish (e.g. spring onion, baby leek, other types of cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower), except for spinach and pak choi and other vegetables with high water content. This dish goes really well with fish, or with coconut dal (recipe coming soon) for a vegetarian version.

Even if you can’t find curry leaves, it’s worth giving this dish a go as the flavour combinations are so good. Enjoy!

This my entry for the Eating with the Seasons: January

 

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Varar – Sri Lankan cabbage and

leek with coconut

 

SOURCEJasmine’s recipe

PREPARATION TIME: 10 – 15 min

COOKING TIME: 5 – 10 min

CUISINE: Sri Lankan

SERVES: 3 – 4 as a side dish

 

INGREDIENTS:

a little vegetable oil

1/2 medium to large yellow onion, finely chopped

2 – 3 green chilies (Jasmine uses finger chilies)

a handful of (preferably fresh) curry leaves

a little salt

1 tsp tempering spices (a mixture of brown/black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds – see Sri Lankan spices for recipe)

a pinch of turmeric

2 medium leeks, shredded finely

a handful of desiccated  coconut

fresh lime juice to taste

1/2 medium cabbage, shredded finely

 

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a wok (or frying pan) and add onion, chilies curry leaves and a little salt. Stir and cook until the onion is soft.
  • Now add the tempering spices and turmeric. Stir.
  • Add cabbage and leek and stir for a few minutes, until the cabbage is slightly soft but still crunchy. Do not overcook the vegetables! That’s the secret behind this dish.
  • When the veg is done, add desiccated coconut and stir for a minute or so.
  • Just before serving, add lime juice and some salt if needed. Enjoy!

 

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My other posts on Sri Lankan cooking:

The aroma of curry leaves. Sri Lankan cooking (Introduction)

Sri Lankan spices (including recipes for Sri Lankan garam masala, curry powder and more!)

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Eating with the Seasons: DECEMBER Round-up!

This has been a very busy six weeks. I’m looking forward to slowing down a little, taking long restorative walks and spending some quiet time with friends and family. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for blogging, but I’ll be reading your blogs.

Here is the round-up for Eating with the Seasons: DECEMBER! We have some very interesting entries here, with a Christmassy twist to match the season. Enjoy!

 

Northern Hemisphere

 

 

Fruit

 

Apples

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Corsican Caramelised Apple Tart ~ Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen (London, Ontario, Canada)

I adore the combination of apples and caramel. Look at this lusciousness! And check this description: “Custard-like, coated in caramel and gooey with apples and their juice.” Leaves me speechless, and with a huge craving for some of this gorgeous tart!

 

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French Apple Tart ~ Priya from Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes (Paris, France)

After the Corsican, here comes a French apple tart! Check out Priya’s simple and delicious version!

 

Cranberries

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Spiced Cranberry Raisin Bundt Cake ~ Soma at eCurry (Texas, USA)

I’m very impressed by this moist and spiced cranberry and raisin bundt cake. What a great addition to the festive table!

 

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Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti ~ JZ at Tasty Treats (USA)

Here comes another cranberry treat from the USA!  Who can resist fresh home-baked goods on a cold wintry day, asks JZ. These biscotti are best enjoyed with a warm cup of tea or coffee, and make a wonderful Christmas treat for the ones you love.

 

Pear (and chestnuts!)

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Pear and chestnut crumb cakes ~ Suganya at Tasty Palettes (USA)

Suganya is a big fan of chestnuts, and cooks them regularly. ‘The cakes were very moist and mildly sweet, thanks to the pear and chestnuts’, she says. ‘They also freeze well, making them a perfect snack, any time of the day.’

 

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Pear and Fig Whole Wheat Pancakes ~ Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen (London, Ontario, Canada)

I love Lisa’s savoury dishes, but she is starting to wow me with her sweets, too.  These pancakes with dried figs and fresh pears are elegant and impressive, and yet really simple to make. The filling is enhanced with a little cinnamon, cloves and orange zest, which I think is a great touch. 

 

 

Vegetables

 

Brussels Sprouts

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American Brussels Sprouts with Cream and Nutmeg ~ Catherine at Wheatless Bay (UK)

   Brussels sprouts is one of those vegetables that really does get a lot of bad press, especially around Christmas. But does it really deserve it? Doused in cream, with a sprinkling of nutmeg, they do sound tempting even to a declared Brussels sprouts avoider like myself. So, if you’re planning to inflict the obligatory sprouts on your not-unsuspecting family members this Christmas, why not try Catherine’s recipe for Brussels sprouts with cream and nutmeg?  must admit I do like the sound of this dish, not because of the cream, but because I think this flavour combination really does work.    

 

Carrots

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Carrot and leek soup ~ Priya at Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes (Paris, France)

This simple and healthy soup will warm you up on any cold day.  It looks lovely and creamy, and it’s gently spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin.

 

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Creamy carrot soup with rose harissa ~ Maninas at Maninas: Food Matters (UK)

I’ve made us a carrot soup this month, too, featuring my farmers’ market finds (carrots only from the above picture). The basic carrot soup recipes comes from the 1977 edition of ‘Mousewood Cookbook’ via Slashfood. I increased the amount of spices, and added the rose harissa and the cheese. Also, I used a mixture of butter and olive oil to cook the onions, because I really like the flavour of this combination. But it’s the harissa that’s the star of the show. It really does transfer the soup to another dimension and gives it soul! Gutsy, interesting, inviting soul. It makes it hot, garlicky, moreish. Rather funky for a carrot soup! I loved it!

 

 

Kabocha Squash

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Kabocha no nimono ~ Greg at Sippity Sup (California, USA)

Nimono is a cooking style that refers to “the quiet, gentle simmering of food in a flavorful broth.” Kabocha squash lends itself to it beautifully. This is comfort food the Japanese way. Many thanks to Greg for introducing me to it!

 

Southern Hemisphere

 

Fruit

 

Blackberries

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Apple and Blackberry Jam ~ Cathy X at aficionado (Sydney, Australia)

We learn something very interesting from Cathy. Did you know that blackberries are not berries at all?  ‘They are, in fact, an aggregate fruit – a bunch of tiny fruits fused together at the base, unlike real berries including surprisingly, citrus, cucumber and papaya,’ says Cathy. Also, she tells us that using frozen blackberries will cause less streak and make baked goods taste fresher and lighter!

 

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THANK YOU ALL FOR TAKING PART! SEE YOU IN JANUARY FOR ANOTHER EATING WITH THE SEASONS!

Eating with the Seasons: JANUARY

What will you be cooking in January? Share your seasonal recipes with us!

Let’s eat seasonally!

Join me!

 

EATING WITH THE SEASONS

 

  • Go and find out what’s in season where you live in JANUARY.
  • You can choose: fruit, vegetables, fish, meat.
  • Write a post/text if you are a non-blogger containing a recipe and/or information about your chosen seasonal item. You may post more than one recipe.
  • Post it and email it to me before 15 JANUARY, and I’ll post a round-up in a few days. The plan is to go from 15th to 15th in the month (eventually), so we have some time to enjoy the recipes for dishes that are in season.

 

To take part:

 

Please send an e-mail to maninas [DOT] wordpress [AT] yahoo [DOT[ co [DOT] uk including the following information:

  • your name and country (and town if you wish)
  • your seasonal item
  • name & link to your blog
  • name of your post & link to your post
  • one photograph
  • with ‘Eating with the season’ in the subject line of your e-mail
  • & please link to this post.

Eating with the seasons coming soon!

I promise!

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