Monday, 29 April 2013

Love and peas soup

I love making soup. The preparation and cooking process is soothing - almost meditative - and the aroma wafting through the house is very cosy on a cold day. Soup can be simple or complex, and is delicious with just 5 ingredients or with 20.

I'm not a huge recipe person. I will look at recipes to get inspiration, and then adapt according to the ingredients I have available - usually, whatever is in season. I'm lazy, so I don't like doing mid-week shopping trips after a long day at work. And, I REALLY don't like buying produce at the big chain supermarkets. I'm very much a farmers' market kinda gal. Plus, the quality of produce is usually poor at the big chains compared to markets, and more expensive. I'm frugal, so shopping at farmers' markets is win-win.

So here's a delicious soup recipe that will bring love and peace (peas?) into the hearts of your family and friends. It's been awhile since I cooked with dried peas, and after this recipe I think I'll be using them a lot more. I used yellow split peas for this recipe but green ones would work just as well. Peas pair really nicely with root vegetables - perfect for winter!

1.5 cups split peas (yellow or green)
1 diced yellow onion
1 large carrot
1 large potato (or 3 small potatoes)
half to 1 cup chopped cabbage
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 chilli pepper (optional if you like heat)
2-3 cups vegetable stock
Dried rosemary

Sauté onions (in water or a little olive oil) for 1-2 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables, garlic, rosemary, and chilli pepper and sauté for another minute. Add split peas and vegetable stock, and bring to the boil. If needed, add a little plain hot water to cover the vegetables. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until split peas are cooked.

(Note: you could add any dried herbs in place of rosemary, such as thyme, oregano, or basil. If using fresh herbs, add them right at the end of cooking, just as you're about to serve).

I don't pre soak my split peas, and they cook within about 45 minutes. Next time I'll try soaking them and see if it shortens the cooking time at all.

This soup is really thick and filling. My family had it as a stand-alone meal with some plain rice on the side.

I forgot to take a photo of this soup. Oh well, gives me incentive to make it again very soon!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Roast winter vege soup

It's not winter YET, but I'm definitely starting to feel a little chill in the mornings! Autumn is definitely here, and the winter produce has slowly overtaken the mangoes and stone fruit (sigh).

There's still a lot of versatility with winter produce! Especially soup, which my family loves this time of year.

We had a bit of an unseasonal heat wave in March, but this week has been real comfort food weather. Pumpkins are cheap and plentiful, and lend themselves well to comfort food. Here's a roast vege soup recipe I whipped up this week.

1 butternut pumpkin
4 carrots
1 sweet potato (optional)
4 cloves garlic
1 onion, diced
Chili pepper (optional)
Low sodium vegetable stock

Roast the pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato, and garlic at 200 degrees Celsius for 30-45 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked. Allow to cool, then peel the skin off the pumpkin and potato.

In a soup pot, sauté the onion with the chili pepper (if you're using). You can sauté in water or a LITTLE olive oil (I prefer water). Once the onion is transparent, add the roast vegetables from the oven and enough vegetable stock to cover. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. The soup will probably be chunky at this stage, so you can serve as is or use an immersion blender to purée some of the soup. Add a sprinkle of black pepper and you're done!

This soup is really warming and filling, especially if you serve it over rice.

Lots more winter recipes coming up, stay tuned!