Chickpeas, cannellini and chorizo soup-stew with chilli, mint and sherry

Chickpea and chorizo soup-stew

Fragrant and clear broth flavoured with sherry and mint and smoky chorizo bathes the chickpeas and cannellini beans. There’s a gentle kick from the chilli, and a freshness from the mint, caramel notes of the sherry. Glorious with buttered sourdough toast, and perhaps a side of kale, this is a perfect winter dish, fragrant and warming. I’ve been making it regularly for over a year now, and now it’s time to share it here.

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Seasonal treat: Jerusalem artichoke soup with lemon zest and parmesan

Just a recipe today for this seasonal treat: Jerusalem artichoke soup with lemon zest and parmesan. I kept it simple. Clean tasting and light, with a gentle Jerusalem artichoke flavour, heightened with a touch of lemon, and rounded off with some parmesan. Enjoy.       DSC_0155

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Jerusalem artichoke soup with

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lemon zest and parmesan

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SOURCE:  My own recipe

PREPARATION TIME: about 5 min

COOKING TIME: about 20 – 30 min

CUISINE: Modern European

SERVES: 2

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INGREDIENTS:

1 medium yellow onion, chopped finely

2 small cloves of garlic, chopped finely

1 – 2 tbsp light olive oil, or vegetable oil

10 cm celery stick, halved and sliced thinly

250 g Jerusalem artichokes, diced into small cubes or sliced

Warm water

1/2 – 1 dl milk (optional)

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp lemon zest

a small squeeze of lemon juice

1 dsp parmesan

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METHOD:

1. Heat the oil in a medium pan, and add the garlic and onion. Sauté for a few minutes on medium low heat.

2. Add the celery and sauté for a couple of more minutes.

3. In go the artichokes! Stir the vegetables, and cover the pan with a lid, leaving it to sweat together until the artichokes are beginning to soften (about 5 – 10 min).

4. Add enough warm water to cover the vegetables, and cook for a few minutes more, until the vegetables are completely softened. (But please don’t overcook them.)

5. Transfer the veg into a food processor, and blend with the milk if you’re using it into a smooth puree. Or just mash them if you’re not using a food processor/blender.

6. Season well with salt and pepper, to taste.

7. Finish off with lemon juice and zest. It’s important not to overpower the flavour of the artichokes, so start by adding only a little lemon, and check the taste and fragrance before adding any more.

8. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve with some nice bread. Enjoy!

 

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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Digg This

For the winter blues: Sri Lankan coconut dhal

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Hello! How are you, how’s the world at your end? Here in the UK, we’re cocooned in layers of snow of varying thickness, depending on where you are. When I was coming home tonight, around 6.30 pm, I felt this thick layer of snow under my feet is starting to freeze. I wonder what we’ll wake up to tomorrow. As idyllic as it all looks, us Mediterranean types are not faring to well in these conditions. All I want to do is hibernate until the sun shines back on us again. But though I refuse to believe it, the life goes on. There are jobs to do, people to see, dinners to cook… Yes… Dinners… Here’s what kept me awake and re-energised me this evening. Remember that delicious Sri Lankan dhal I was telling you about earlier? Here’s the recipe. Without the photos for now, until my camera awakes from its winter sleep. (I meant to take photos this evening, but my camera failed me.)

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This dhal is a serious contender for the title of my favourite dhal, so far held by the seductive Bengali Red Dal. It has a rich gutsy flavour of red lentils cooked with onion, garlic, chillies, and cumin and black pepper, imbued with the heady aroma of curry leaves, and with a squeeze of lime to heighten your senses. I normally prefer to eat my dhal on the same day I make it, but this one I find improves with time. That is if you can stay away from it and leave some for tomorrow. I’m proud to day that this time I managed to do just that. Not even I can eat this much dhal at one sitting!

Let not the long list of ingredients intimidate you. This dhal is really very easy to make, and you can leave it to look after itself while you’re doing something else. Like making Sri Lankan coconut rotis, for example. Yes, that’s a good thing to do. (Recipe coming soon.) 

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Sri Lankan coconut dhal

 

SOURCEJasmine’s recipe

PREPARATION TIME: under 5 min

COOKING TIME: about 45 min

CUISINE: Sri Lankan

SERVES: 3 – 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a main

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of red lentils

1/4 red (medium to large) onions, or 2 shallots

2 large cloves of garlic, sliced

3 green chillies, roughly chopped

a handful of fresh curry leaves, shredded

1/3 tsp turmeric

2/3 tsp roughly ground cumin and black pepper mixture

1 scant tsp of fenugreek seeds

1/5 – 1/4 can of coconut milk

Juice of 1/2 lime, or more to taste

3 – 4 dried red chillies

salt to taste

a handful of (preferably fresh) curry leaves

1 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee

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

1 1/2 tbsp fried onions (or 3 – 4 shallots, shredded and then fried as below)

 

METHOD:

Place the lentils in about 2 – 3 cups of water. Then chop the chillies, onions, garlic, shred the curry leaves and add them to the lentils, together with turmeric, fenugreek and the cumin and black pepper mixture. Boil together until the lentils turn soft.

When the lentils are soft, add the coconut milk and stir through.

Before you’re ready to eat, prepare the tadka or tempering for the dhal. I usually don’t have fried onions at hand, so this is what I do. I heat the oil and then add the chillies and the curry leaves to it. when the curry leaves are starting to turn crisp, I pop in the onions/shallots, and cook them until they’re almost copper brown. Then add a few more curry leaves (if you want, which I invariably do), and the tempering spices. Stir for 10 s or until they release their fragrance. Now pop the contents of the pan into the lentil mixture, reserving perhaps some for the garnish. Stir, put the lid back on, and leave it for a minute or two for the flavours to mingle and make friends.

Don’t forget the lime. I sometimes add it before adding the tadka to the lentils, and sometimes after the tadka. Either way, don’t leave it out. It really does make all the difference.

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More dhals from this blog:

Bengali Red Dhal

Minty dhal (2 versions of  recipe)

 

Also:

More recipes with beans and lentils

More Sri Lankan recipes

 

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We’re at the 8th helping of My Legume Love Affair hosted and organised by the talented Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. This is my entry for the event.  

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The best carrot soup ever!

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 Farmers’ market finds

 

Creamy. Gently spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. Cooled with a hint of mint. Fired up with some spicy, garlicky rose harissa. – In short, the best carrot soup ever! 

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!

Here is something you could do if you don’t have the harissa (I used the Belazu brand.). It’s basically a simple tarka or bhagar with garlic and chilies. Heat some oil and add dried red chilies. Fry for a 10 – 15 second, but be careful not to burn the chilies. Then add the chopped garlic. Remove from the heat and let sizzle. Stir into the soup. – Although it doesn’t reach the complexity of the flavour of a good quality rose harissa, the chili and garlic really do take the soup to an entirely different level.

I found this great website about British carrots. Check it out for some fantastic carrot recipes and fascinating facts.

This is my entry for Eating with the Seasons: DECEMBER. Join me and send me your seasonal recipes by 15 December!

These days, I have very little time to cook, or to take photographs. Or live for that matter! I miss my blog and reading other blogs… A couple of more weeks and I should be back to normal… Fingers crossed.

UPDATE 15/12/2008: I made it with pumkin tonight (and milk instead of yoghurt). It was lovely and creamy. It worked great, too!

And now the famous soup:  

 

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Creamy carrot soup with rose

 harissa

 

SOURCE: the basic carrot soup recipe is from ‘Mousewood Cookbook’ (1977), via

Slashfood

PREPARATION TIME:10 – 15 min

COOKING TIME: 30 – 40 min

CUISINE: ?

SERVES: 2 (generously)

 

INGREDIENTS:

0.5 kg carrots, peeled and chopped

water

chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tbsp butter

1/2 large yellow onion

3 small cloves of garlic

a small handful of almonds and cashews

1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp dried mint

75 ml single cream (or less, according to taste)*

2 tsp rose harissa

salt and pepper

a handful of grated cheese (I used Double Gloucester)

 

METHOD:

I. Cover the carrots with water and  stock and boil until tender.

II. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a pan, then add the onion and a pinch of  salt. (The salt will draw out the moisture from the onion and make it cook more quickly). Add chopped garlic and nuts and saute until the onion is soft. When the onion is soft, add nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir and cook for 5 – 10 seconds to give time to the spices to release their flavours. Stir in the mint.

III. Put the onion mixture and carrots into the food processor and blend until smooth. (It’s easier to blend if you retain some cooking water and add it to the soup later on as necessary.)

IV. Return the vegetable puree to the pan, add cream and check for salt. Add water to achieve desired consistency. Stir in the rose harissa and the black pepper and heat through.

V. Fold in some cheese into the soup, and sprinkle the rest on top. Add another pinch of freshly ground black pepper and serve. Enjoy! 

Serves two generously for a hearty lunch or dinner.

 

 

Verdict

This is the best soup I’ve ever made, and one of the best ones I’ve ever had. How’s that for a verdict? 🙂

 

NOTES

*You can also use milk instead of cream. The soup is already rather rich because of the addition of nuts and cheese.

The soup lends itself to lots of variations. For example, you can use different types of nuts to add richness. Different dairy products instead of cream. You can also play with different spice combinations.

Also, I really like the idea of adding a tarka to perk up the flavours of soups! 

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Other soups at Maninas:

Dalmatian fish soup

Fragrant and aromatic salmon soup with noodles

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