The festivities have come to an end, many rich foods were enjoyed and now the fridge and freezer are almost empty… simple food is craved once again. With the last remaining vegetables I decided to make a pot of soup. Nothing fancy, no special ingredients just a tasty wholesome bowl of soup, served with thick slices of home-made brown bread on the side. You might say I am kicking off the new year with a healthy start but it more comes down to what’s left on the vegetable rack. The soups flavor is determined by the combination of vegetables used and sometimes I like to throw in a granny smith apple for its sweet-tart flavor. I would have used fresh turkey stock but as my good friend Sarah had taken charge of Christmas Day and did an amazing job (I did boxing day), I had no turkey to cook.
With the soup on a gentle simmer and looking back over some photographs, 2013 will be the year for remembering when six friends went on a fabulous road trip across India, seeing the Tahj Mahal and dining at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur. A summer of family gatherings, meeting of old friends, amazing weather and lots of walks around markets and gardens. Seeing my son graduate and watching my husband finish a grueling triathlon in Thailand. Also, 2013 is the year I will always remember when my husband switched off the freezer when leaving for holidays in Bahrain’s hottest month… two weeks later my kids (they came back before us) came home to only what was described as a terrible stench. Thankfully household aromas are back to normal and I have a new freezer. I have only recently started freezing prawns again 🙂
Looking back and reviewing some of your favorite posts, you must be feeling the chill in the air as this warming and comforting Turkish Wintertime Drink -Salep has proved quite popular, also the Arabic Coffee. You still love some good old fashioned baking such as these Welsh Cheese Cakes, Victoria Sponge Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream and Date and Walnut Cake. For dessert you love a Creme Brûlée Shooter with Home-made Honeycomb. Making your home-made Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Sugar, Vanilla Bean Paste and Vanilla Salt products has also proved very popular. The technique for Smoking Dal Makhani, preparing a Foie Gras, and Lining your Cake Tins have also been favorites as well as making Smoked Mackerel Pâté with Preserved Lemons.
This year a trip to Melbourne is looming, my husband will take part in a full Ironman race and later in the year my daughter will be bridesmaid at a close family friends wedding. Who knows how the year will pan out and I am not one for making new year resolutions… do you like making new year resolutions? For sure I will keep on using my cooking utensils and photographing food and hope you continue to journey with me through 2014.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 800g of prepared vegetables (any combination of roughly chopped turnip, onion and carrot)
- 1 medium potato, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 stock cube chicken or vegetable
- 700ml of boiling water
- 3 sprigs of fresh time or 1/4 teaspoon of dried
- 1 bay leaf
- freshly ground black pepper
- for garnish, chopped parsley (optional)
How to make: Add the olive oil, vegetables, potato, apple and garlic into a large saucepan. Place saucepan over low heat and with the lid on sweat the vegetables for about 10 minutes, do not brown. Add the hot water and stock cube, stir until stock cube has dissolved. Add the thyme, bay leaf and a few twists of black pepper. Cover saucepan with a lid and simmer soup for about 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
Remove the bay leaf and using a stick blender or food blender (do let the soup cool for about 15 minutes), blend the soup to desired consistency. If you find the soup is a little thick, add a little more water. Season with salt, to taste. Ladle soup into warm bowls and serve with chunks of your favourite bread on the side.