Tag Archives: soup

Soup Season with Poetry Stores

12 Jun

Winter doesn’t need to be dreary with this colourful soup spread, featuring recipes from “Clean Soups” available from Poetry Stores. All homeware and linen also available from Poetry Stores. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

Finally, Winter is here! It is the season of soups, cozy blankets and marathon movie nights.

If you’re in need of soup recipe inspiration, look no further than Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson’s book “Clean Soups” available from Poetry Stores. It is a brilliant book stuffed to the brim with delightful soups varying from clear broths to thick purees. They also provide fresh ideas on how to serve their soups, including toppings like kale crumble, herb drizzle, nut cream and a few different salsas.

The nourishing smell of properly made soup permeates right through to your soul. Start with this incredible “magic mineral broth” – a vegetable stock/broth that forms the basis of many of their other soups, yet also to be enjoyed as is. I used this broth to also make their recipe for Moroccan carrot soup as well as minted pea soup. The chermoula works perfectly as a topping for the carrot soup and as a bread dip.

Chase the winter chills away with a fabulous floral watercolour table cloth and tableware from Poetry Stores – all homeware items pictured available in store and online.

Magic mineral broth. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Magic mineral broth: (makes about 6 liters)

(Recipe from Clean Soups by Rebecca Katz & Mat Edelson)

  • 6 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds
  • 2 unpeeled brown onions
  • 1 leek, white and green parts, cut into thirds
  • 1 bunch celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
  • 4 unpeeled red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 2 unpeeled white-fleshed sweet potatoes, quartered
  • 1 unpeeled orange sweet potato, quartered
  • 5 unpeeled cloves garlic, halved
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 (20 cm) strip kombu*
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 4 whole allspice or juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 liters cold, filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed

Rinse all the vegetables well, including the kombu. In a 12 liter or larger stockpot, combine the carrots, onions, leek , celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, parsley, kombu, peppercorns, allspice berries and bay leaves. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for at least 2 hours, or until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. As the broth simmers, some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables begin to peek out.

Strain the broth through a large coarse-mesh sieve (use a heat-resistant container underneath) and discard the solids. Stir in the salt, adding more if desired. Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

*Kombu is edible dried kelp/seaweed.

Roaste Moroccan carrot soup with chermoula. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Moroccan carrot soup: (makes 6 servings)

(Recipe from Clean Soups by Rebecca Katz & Mat Edelson)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • sea salt
  • 1,5 kg carrots, cut into 2,5cm pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1,5 litres magic mineral broth (see above)
  • 2,5 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (or half lemon half tangerine/orange juice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dark maple syrup plus more if needed
  • chermoula, for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onions and a pinch of salt and saute until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the carrots, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chilli flakes, saffron and 1/4 teaspoon salt and saute until well conbined. Pour in 125 ml of the broth and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the remaining broth and another 1.4 teaspoon salt and cook until the carrots and tender, about 20 minutes.

Put the lemon zest in a blender and puree the soup in batches until smooth, each time adding the cooking liquid first and then the carrot mixture. If need be, add additional broth to reach the desired thickness. Return the soup to the pot over low heat, stir in the lemon juice, maple syrup and a pinch of salt, and gently reheat. Taste; you may want to add another squeeze of lemon, a pinch or two of salt, or a drizzle of maple syrup. Serve with chermoula or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Sweet pea and mint soup: (makes 6 servings)

(Recipe from Clean Soups by Rebecca Katz & Mat Edelson)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, white part only, rinsed and chopped
  • sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 300 g frozen sweet peas, defrosted, or 465 g freshly shelled peas
  • 1 small head butter lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1 cup pea sprouts (if available)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint, plus more for garnish
  • 1,5 litres magic mineral broth (see above)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more if needed
  • 6 tablespoons full-fat plain yoghurt, for garnish (optional)
  • pea shoots, for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the leek, pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and the lettuce and another pinch of salt. Pour in 125 ml of the stock to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from the heat.

Pour one-third of the remaining stock into a blender, add one-third of the vegetable mixture, one-third of the pea sprouts and the mint. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a soup pot over low heat. Divide the remaining stock in half and repeat the process two more times. Stir in the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste, you may want to add an additional squeeze of lemon and a couple of pinches of salt. Serve garnished with the yoghurt, pea shoots and a bit of mint, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Credits:

Food preparation, styling and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography and styling: Tasha Seccombe.

Creamy roasted butternut soup with spicy roasted seeds

27 Feb

Thick, roasted butternut soup with spicy roasted seeds and a drizzle of fresh cream (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

When I was a student, there used to be a place in Church Street called Spice Café that served various soups daily with a slice of bread of your choice. They used to make the most delicious butternut soup – extra thick, super smooth and very creamy. I used to order two bowls in one sitting, my gluttonous nature taking charge.

Although butternut soup has become something of a retro classic (even hated by some), it remains one of the most comforting meals to eat. There’s a school of soup makers that relishes the simplicity of the-two-ingredient-butternut-soup (butternut and cream), but sometimes that can resemble baby food. I prefer a soup made with roasted sliced young butternut, scattered with brown sugar, cinnamon & cumin. I add an onion and a small stick of celery, some good quality stock and fresh cream. If you’re in the mood for a special touch, reserve the seeds of the butternut and roast them with more spices to create a delicious crunchy topping.

Spicy roasted pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on top of your roasted butternut soup (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Here’s to the ultimate thick butternut soup – such a meatless Monday favourite. Enjoy!

Ingredients for soup: (serves 4)

  • 1-1,2 kg young butternut, peeled & sliced into 1 cm thick slices (reserve seeds and keep aside)
  • 1 onion, peeled & quartered
  • 1 stick celery, sliced
  • 30-45 ml olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 5 ml ground cinnamon
  • 2,5 ml ground cumin
  • 15-30 ml soft brown sugar
  • 375 ml warm chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 125 ml cream

Pre-heat oven to 220 C. Arrange the slices of butternut , onion and celery on a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper, preferably in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil then season with salt & pepper, cinnamon, cumin and brown sugar. Roast for 30-45 minutes until the edges start to caramelize and the butternut is tender.

Place the roasted veg plus all the roasting juices in a deep medium size pot, then add the stock and cream. Use a stick blender and process to a very smooth pulp. Adjust seasoning and add more stock or cream, if necessary. Reheat just before serving.

Tip: If you prefer an ultra smooth texture, push the soup through a fine sieve after blending.

For the roasted seeds:

  • reserved seeds from your butternut (see above)
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • salt flakes
  • ground black pepper
  • 2,5 ml paprika
  • 2,5 ml dried thyme
  • 2,5 ml smoked chilli flakes

Pre-heat oven to 180 C. Remove most of the stringy bits from the seeds, then rinse them under cold running water. Drain well and pat dry. Arrange the seeds on a baking tray, then drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper, then scatter with paprika, thyme & chilli flakes. Roast in the oven for 10-15  minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Let it cool on the tray, then store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.

To serve:

Serve the soup in bowls with a swirl of cream, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some toasted seeds.

Spinach & ricotta gnudi with chicken and herb broth

29 Jun

Spinach & ricotta dumplings in a light and fragrant broth, topped with parmesan cheese. (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Spinach & ricotta dumplings in a light and fragrant broth, topped with parmesan cheese. (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Although most people associate soups with substance and texture, there is something strangely mesmerizing about an understated, translucent broth. This fragrant liquid can pack surprisingly bold flavours and is a fantastic vessel for carrying beautiful treasures like bright vegetables, botanical herbs, curly noodles or delicate dumplings.

My recipe for spinach & ricotta dumplings in a chicken & herb broth is actually 2 dishes in one. The dumplings are cousins of Italian gnocchi – a comforting dish that I usually serve with a bright red pommodoro sauce and grated parmesan cheese. The broth is a light version of traditional American chicken soup that is often associated with “getting better soon”, but also fabulous as a flavoursome home-made stock for making risotto.

This is one of the most comforting meals that I can possible imagine, especially in the cold weather that we’re experiencing in the Cape Winelands. Serve it as a light lunch/dinner with grated parmesan cheese and some buttered toast to soak up the broth.

TIP: Make the broth first, then keep it warm while you cook the gnudi. The broth also freezes well.

For the chicken broth: (serves 6)

  • 1,5 litres (6 cups) water
  • 400 g frozen chicken necks, thawed
  • 1 large knob of ginger, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced leeks
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled & sliced
  • a handful of parsley stalks
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1-2 chicken stock cubes, crumbled
  • salt & pepper

Method:

Place all the ingredients for the broth in a medium stock pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and cover with a lid, then simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to infuse for another 30 minutes, uncovered, then strain through a sieve. (Keep the solids for processing with your next soup or use in your next stew.)

For the gnudi/dumplings:

  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 200g baby spinach leaves
  • 450-500g ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano Reggiano, or Grana Padano) plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour plus more
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley (optional)

Method: In a large pan, heat the olive oil and sauteé the spinach over medium heat for about 5 minutes until just wilted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, add the ricotta, egg and yolk, salt, pepper, parmesan and flour. Roughly chop the cooked spinach, then add it with the parsley to the rest of the ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon until it starts to form a coarse-looking ball. Lightly dust a rimmed baking tray with flour. Using 2 large dessert spoons, shape heaped tablespoonfuls of dough into football shapes, then place on the floured tray and dust with a little more flour (you should have about 30). Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Carefully add the gnudi, then cook for 4 minutes until cooked through and tender (gnudi will quickly float to the surface; continue cooking or they will be gummy in the center). Using a slotted spoon, remove gnudi from water and divide among bowls.

To assemble:

  • 1 batch chicken broth
  • a cup of finely chopped mixed vegetables (leeks, celery, mushrooms)
  • 1-2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely grated
  • a handful of parsley leaves
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • cooked gnudi (about 4 per person)
  • finely grated parmesan cheese

Method: Bring the broth to a slow simmer. Add the finely chopped vegetables, ginger, garlic, parsley & chickpeas, then remove from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls with the freshly cooked gnudi, then top with grated parmesan. Serve immediately.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog.

Text & recipe: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography & styling : Tasha Seccombe

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

A New Year’s eve cocktail party with Poetry Stores: Part 3

19 Dec

A New Year’s eve cocktail spread from “The French Affair” by Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

For my last collaboration project with Poetry Stores this festive season, I’ve chosen some fabulous snacks for a glitzy New Year’s eve cocktail party. The recipes all come from The French Affair by Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen (available from Poetry Stores for R375) – a beautiful hard cover book with amazing photographs and mouth-watering recipes. Jan Hendrik played the part of both recipe writer and photographer, and I have tremendous respect for the amount of work that went into this book! He did an amazing job.

I have chosen a selection of cold cocktail snacks, including vichyssoise (a traditional French cold potato & leek soup), old-fashioned prawn cocktail with Marie Rose sauce, roasted pepper and tomato tart with anchovies, and dark chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing. All of these go well with a glass of bubbly, so don’t be shy to drink while you snack!

Thank you so much to Rilee Palmer from Poetry Stores for this amazing opportunity to work with your in-store books, homeware and kitchenware. It was an absolute feast of a project, and I look forward to many more of these in 2014.

We have used some of Poetry‘s beautiful pewter (silver metal) homeware: trays, flower shaped bowls and Moroccan inspired candle holders. They are available in different sizes and are the perfect way to create a festive atmosphere! They also make great gifts.

(Please note: Linen, cutlery and vintage copperware are the photographer’s own.)

Vichyssoise (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Vichyssoise:

  • 3 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups chopped leeks (white part only)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup double cream
  • chopped chives for garnishing

Method:

  1. Simmer the vegetables in the stock for 40-50 minutes, partially covered. Season with salt.
  2. Blend in batches using a blender or food processor until you get a very smooth consistency. Strain through cheesecloth to remove any lumps or pieces (optional).
  3. Add the cream, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold, garnished with chives.

Red pepper, anchovy and tomato tart (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Sweet red pepper, anchovy and tomato tart: (serves 6-8)

For the filling:

  • 350 g ripe red tomatoes
  • 4 medium red peppers
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 ml smoked paprika (or paprika)
  • 50 g anchovy fillets in oil

For the pastry:

  • 110 g cake flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 50 g butter, softened
  • 15 ml finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 5 ml chopped thyme

Method:

  1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Butter a 23 cm loose bottomed tart tin.
  2. Skin the tomatoes by placing them in a large bowl of simmering water for 2 minutes. Remove from the hot water and cover with cold water. Slip off the skins and cut in halves (or in thick slices if the tomatoes are very big).
  3. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Slice each pepper into 3 strips and mix with the tomatoes, oil, garlic and some seasoning. Spread out on a baking tray and roast for about 50 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  4. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Start cutting in the butter with a palate knife, then start rubbing it in lightly with your fingers until they mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the parmesan and thyme and 1 teaspoon of cold water. Bring the dough together and shape into a ball. Add more water if necessary. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out the pastry on a flat work surface lightly sprinkled with flour. Line the tart pan with the pastry, and prick with a fork to prevent it from rising. Bake at 180 C for 20 minutes or until a light golden colour. Cool slightly.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks and paprika along with the oil from the anchovy fillets. Arrange the peppers, tomatoes and anchovy fillets in the tart shell. Increase the oven temperature to 190 C, then pour the egg mixture into the tart shell and bake for 35 minutes, or until firm in the centre. Serve at room temperature.

Chocolate and apple sauce cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and fresh cherries (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Chocolate and apple sauce cupcakes: (serves 12)

For the cupcake mixture:

  • 3/4 cup (185 ml) cocoa powder
  • 1250 ml cake flour
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • 5 ml salt
  • 250 ml butter
  • 250 ml sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 250 ml dark chocolate chips

For the frosting:

  • 250 ml cream cheese
  • 60 ml créme fraiche or sour cream
  • 60 ml butter at room temperature
  • 2.5 ml vanilla extract
  • 500 ml icing sugar, sifted

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar with electric beaters. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the vanilla, then stir in the  flour mixture and apple sauce alternating between them. Fold in the chocolate chips and mix well. Bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out relatively clean (the chocolate chips will be melted, so it cannot come out 100% clean). Let it cool completely.
  5. To make the frosting, combine the softened cream cheese, creme fraiche, butter and vanilla and beat until creamy. Slowly add the icing sugar and beat on a medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl until smooth and fluffy. Spread or pipe the frosting evenly over the cooled cupcakes and top with berries or chopped nuts.
  6. Credits:All recipes by Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, from his book The French Affair (available from Poetry Stores at R375).
    Food preparation & text: Ilse van der Merwe of The Food Fox

    Photography: Tasha Seccombe

    Styling: Ilse van der Merwe & Tasha Seccombe

    Homeware: Poetry Stores

Gazpacho

12 Nov

Traditional Spanish gazpacho – a cold tomato soup (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

I’m a huge fan of Spanish food, and it has always been a life long dream of mine to visit Spain with my husband as part of an extended Mediterranean food-travelling mission.  I’m longing to experience authentic Spanish, Italian, and French cuisine right there where it all started. I want to meet the local farmers, producers and shop keepers and I want to eat with them.

When I think of Spanish food, I always think of traditional tapas like jamón, prawns and squid, but also of paella (especially seafood paella) and gazpacho. Gazpacho is a fantastic cold soup for summer, made with tomatoes, peppers, stale bread, olive oil and vinegar. It is texturally just a joy to eat, and a perfect starter to an extended Spanish summer dinner party. It is always best to chill it for a few hours in the fridge in order to give the flavours time to release their magic – it is even better the next day, and the next. So make it ahead of time and serve ice cold.

The beauty of gazpacho, to me, lies in choosing perfectly ripe bright red tomatoes. Don’t use pale pink tomatoes that have been refrigerated for a few days, I find that they lose quite a bit of flavour that way. Rather leave your tomatoes on the counter for a day or 3 to ripen fully before you make this soup. That way you will have maximum flavour – it really does make a difference!

Ingredients: (serves 6 as a starter)

  • 1 kg tomatoes, skinned*
  • 1 red pepper, seeds and pith removed
  • 1/2 small English cucumber, seeded and peeled (optional)
  • 1 large slice good quality day-old bread, soaked in water, then squeezed to remove excess water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red/green chilli, stalk removed (I also use the seeds, but you can remove these it you prefer)
  • 45 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 ml apple cider vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
  • salt and black pepper

Method:

*To skin your tomatoes, use a sharp small knife to cut a shallow “x” on the bottom of each tomato. Heat a large pot of water to boiling point, then drop the whole tomatoes into the boiling water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Quickly remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and drop them into ice cold water. Now peel off the skins (they should come off easily) and set aside.

  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes, pepper, cucumber (optional), and bread into large chunks.
  2. Place in a food processor with the garlic, chilli, olive oil and vinegar. Process to a relatively smooth liquid, leaving just enough texture to your liking. I prefer my gazpacho a bit smoother than most people, but it’s up to you!
  3. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and add more vinegar or oil if necessary. Transfer to a suitable container for your fridge, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. The flavours will develop over time.
  4. Serve ice cold, with an extra garnish of chopped tomato, peppers or cucumber and a swirl of extra virgin olive oil.

 Note: The gazpacho in the photograph was made without cucumber. I sometimes add it, and sometimes don’t. The cucumber gives a great lightness to the soup, but if you prefer a deeper red colour, just leave it out.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

Courgette soup with Boursin cheese

27 Jun

Thick, decadent courgette soup with Boursin cheese, perfect for Winter! (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

My friend Francille told me about this soup recipe a few weeks ago while we were discussing Winter menus – she’s a serious recipe collector and her book collection puts mine to shame. One of her friends heard this recipe on the radio somewhere, and it was passed on via hearsay. So there’s no way to tell where it originally came from!

This is an extremely simple recipe, containing only 5 key ingredients: courgettes, garlic, chicken stock, tomato paste and Boursin cheese – a soft and creamy French cowsmilk cheese similar to cream cheese. Boursin cheese can be found at most supermarkets with a well stocked cheese section, but if you cannot find it you can sibstitute it for plain cream cheese and some freshly chopped parsley & chives. The result with the Boursin cheese is just absolutely delicious, so make the effort to get a hold of it!

The result is a rich, thick and decadent soup with deep flavours – perfect as a starter if served in small portions, otherwise also great as a main course served with fresh artisanal bread like a proper sour dough. If you are counting kilojoules, don’t even bother – this one is only for those who love to throw caution to the wind!

This soup is a great reason to love Winter. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • roughly 750 g courgettes, sliced
  • 15 ml tomato paste
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 150 g Boursin Cheese (garlic and fine herbs flavour) – OR 150 g plain cream cheese plus 30 ml chopped parsley & chives
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley and/or chives for serving (optional)

Method:

  1. In a medium size stock pot, heat the oil and fry the garlic over low heat for a minute. Add the sliced courgettes and tomato paste, and fry for another minute, stirring.
  2. Now add the chicken stock and bring to the boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the courgettes are tender.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, then use a stick blender to carefully blitz the soup to a very smooth consistency.
  4. Add the Boursin cheese, then blend again until smooth and creamy.
  5. Return to the heat and season to taste. Reheat until the soup just reaches boiling point, then remove from the heat and serve hot.
  6. Garnish with extra herbs if necessary.

 

Credits:

This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog.

Recipe, text and food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from thefoodfox.com

Photographer: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius and Tasha Seccombe.

Salmon bisque

18 Mar

A hearty salmon bisque from Savour. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

It’s time to start planning your Easter menu – no holiday can be complete without some serious culinary indulgence! Over the next 3 weeks I’ll be featuring 3 recipes from 3 cookbooks, all available from Poetry stores as part of our special Easter collaboration.

First on the menu is a thick salmon bisque, the recipe taken from Savour by Marc Hirschowitz, Karen Alsfine and Estelle Sacharowitz. This hearty soup is perfect as a starter, but can easily be eaten as a main course served with freshly baked bread. The most interesting part of this recipe is that it is made with tinned salmon and tinned cream of tomato soup – basic pantry ingredients that makes this dish also possible on a camping trip! But if you have access to great fresh salmon, fresh tomatoes and cream, it would take the soup to new heights.

The recipe states that you can serve it chunky or smooth – I prefer a smooth and thick bisque, easily achieved with the help of a stick blender.

Ingredients:

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 200 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 30 ml cornflour
  • 500 ml milk
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes, crumbled
  • 1 x 415 g tin salmon, deboned and flakes (or 400 g flaked cooked salmon)
  • 1 x 400 g tin cream of tomato soup (or 400 g skinless grated tomatoes with 1/4 cup cream)
  • 5 ml sugar
  • 2,5 ml Worcester sauce
  • 8 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 10 ml finely chopped fresh chilli
  • 30 ml sherry
  • fresh cream for serving
  • chopped parsley for serving
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly ground red peppercorns for garnish (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot, then add the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Fry over medium heat until they are soft.
  2. Add the cornflour, then stir. Now slowly add the milk and stir well. Add the crumbled stock cubes and stir well.
  3. Add the flaked salmon and stir well. Add the tomato soup (or fresh tomatoes and cream), sugar, Worcestershire sauce, spring onions and chilli.
  4. Add the sherry and stir, then simmer for 15-20 minutes until the soup thickens.
  5. If your soup is too thick, add more water of milk. If you like a smooth consistency, use a stick blender to create a smooth texture. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with a swirl of cream and some chopped parsley (and optionally freshly ground red peppercorns).

Credits:

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Homeware and linen: Poetry stores, ranging from R99-R299.

Recipe from Savour, available from Poetry stores at R350.

 

Beetroot soup with Greek yoghurt & chives

4 Feb

Organic beetroot soup with Greek yoghurt & chives (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

My friends at Genesis Farm surprised me the other day with another basket full of beautiful organic vegetables: an assortment of chillies, some quirky-looking carrots, perfectly round squash, a few large beetroots, and the most beautiful red noodle beans that looked like purple little snakes!  It’s always such a treasure to cook with organic produce that’s just been picked from the farm.

The first thing I made was a summery beetroot soup – something that’s meant to be eaten cold, but can also be enjoyed warm. The organic beetroots were just so sweet and full of flavour, and really didn’t need a lot of work to be turned into something special. And the colour is quite spectacular!

This is my version of a cold, summery beetroot soup – perfect for a light rustic lunch, yet striking enough to serve as a starter at a fancy dinner table. Add a dash of good quality vodka to turn it into a classic Russian “borscht”.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large organic beetroots, trimmed and washed (not skinned)
  • 400 ml chicken stock
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 30 ml chopped chives
  • 50 ml double cream Greek yoghurt (or crème fraiche)
  • 50-100 ml cream (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a large pot, add beetroot and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 60 minutes until tender (smaller beetroot will cook quicker). Remove from the heat, then drain water and let it cool until easy to handle.
  2. Remove skins (they should come off quite easily if just nudged with your fingers). Don’t worry if your hands stain, just wash them well with soapy water afterwards. The red colour on your hands should disappear after a few washes during the day.
  3. Cut the beetroot into smaller chunks, then add them to a food processor with the stock, lemon juice, chives, yoghurt, cream, salt and pepper. Process to a very smooth consistency, then test seasoning and add more salt/pepper if necessary. Remember, cold soup will need more seasoning than hot soup.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve cold or at room temperature with a swirl of extra yoghurt or cream and some chopped chives.

Tip: If your soup is too thick, add a bit more chicken stock. If you are using small beetroots, start by adding less stock. The soup should be thick and really smooth, but not thick like baby food.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food & recipe: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Tasha Seccombe.

 

Creamy leek and potato soup

5 Jun

Creamy leak and potato soup (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

These days I see bunches of leeks everywhere, so I figured they must be in season! I only recently became a real fan of leeks after eating them whole and roasted, with some extra butter and parmesan shavings. They are so simple, so tender and PACKED with flavour.

Make a meal out of these beautiful pale-green leafy veggies by turning them into a thick, creamy soup. I fry them in lots of butter over medium-low heat, then add potatoes, stock and cream. Leeks are so flavourful that you don’t have to be heavy on the seasoning. Puree and serve with nutty browned butter.

Now THAT, my dear friends, is the perfect dinner for Fall-time in the Cape Winelands.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 100 g butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 600-700 g trimmed leeks, finely sliced (trimmed of the darker green leaves, so you only use the lighter parts)
  • 600 ml warm chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if you prefer)
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 125 ml cream
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. In a medium-sized stock pot on the stove top, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and leeks and fry in butter on medium-low heat, slowly softening the vegetables without browning them. This will take about 10-15 minutes (make sure the leeks are free of any dirt before cooking them – some organic leeks might need a rinse)
  3. Add diced potatoes, and fry for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add stock, then cover and simmer until potatoes are completely soft.
  5. Remove from heat, then process to a fine purée with a stick blender.
  6. Return to heat, add cream and seasoning, and heat through (without letting it boil). Serve with browned butter and freshly baked bread. t

Tip: This soup should be a really thick liquid – not a paste. If your soup is too thick, add a bit of stock and mix very well.

Browned butter:

Browned butter adds an amazing nuttiness to anything – it almost tastes like caramel! It was Nicola’s great idea to add this to the soup.

Melt about 100 g of butter over low heat – the butter will separate and the butter solids will become darker until it smells deeply nutty and toasty. Remove from the heat and drizzle over the soup.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Pictures: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.

Roasted organic tomato soup

20 Apr

Roasted organic tomato soup, straight from the farm.

Nothing beats fresh organic ingredients, straight from the farm, still warm from the sun. My friend John House recently surprised us all by buying a neat piece of land outside Stellenbosch, and starting his own organic vegetable farm. It’s been a year since John started to work the soil at Genesis Farm, and now his crops are standing tall with huge basil plants, different kinds of tomatoes, beautiful peppers and chilli’s, and all kinds of other organic produce.

You can immediately taste the difference in a freshly picked organic tomato, straight from the vine: it still tastes of the sun and the earth – sweet, intense tomato flavours unlike any store-bought fruit. So, with my basket filled to the brim with the reddest plump tomatoes, I knew I had to make a proper, chunky roasted tomato soup. I had eaten some really tasty tomato soup at Nook Eatery a few times, and knew they had the recipe posted on their blog. I took a few notes and adapted the recipe for what I had on hand. The soup is intense with real beefy tomato flavours, packed with umami. I used the tomatoes whole – no skins or seeds were discarded (but if you are a picky eater, feel free to push the cooked soup through a sieve).

Ingredients:

  • 3 T (45 ml) olive oil
  • 200 g leeks, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced/crushed
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • about 16 ripe organic tomatoes (medium to large), chopped into chunks
  • 2 cans of whole Italian tomatoes, chopped into chunks
  • 2 T (30 ml) sugar
  • 1 T (15 ml) salt
  • 2 t (10 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 T (45 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 2 T (30 ml) tomato paste
  • to serve: handful of fresh basil leaves, more olive oil and fresh cream

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a large heavy based pot on the stove top, heat olive oil, then fry chopped leeks, onion, carrot, garlic and thyme until soft and slightly brown (I didn’t chop it by hand, but used a food processor – saved a lot of time).
  3. Add the tomatoes (fresh and canned), as well as the sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar and tomato paste. Stir to mix thoroughly. Transfer to a large deep roasting tray, then put in the oven to roast for 1 hour (stir after 30 minutes).
  4. Remove from oven, discard thyme sprigs, then process untill the right texture is achieved (I found that it stays quite chunky after processing, which is perfect).
  5. Serve with cream (I love lots of cream in my soup) and a dollop of basil paste.

How to make basil paste:

In a large pot, bring some water to a simmer. Have a large bowl filled with iced water ready next to it. Blanche the basil leaves for 3 seconds (not more, not less) in the boiling water, then remove at once with a slotted spoon and immerse immediately in iced water. Remove from iced water, lightly squeeze out excess water, then pat dry with a tea towel. Transfer to a food processor or pestle & mortar, along with enough olive oil to form a paste and a pinch of course salt flakes. Process/pound to a paste. Store in an air tight container in the fridge and use within 3 days.

(Contact John House from Genesis Farm on 082-215 6968. Their website will be live by next week.)

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