Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Whenyouhaveacold Soup

I was in Ireland recently for a wedding.  It was a glorious occasion - the sun shone, the bride and groom were beautiful and the food was divine.  I didn't take any photos though, so I won't tease you with stories of the dinner in Dromoland Castle, nothing about all five courses, the sorbet, the petit fours...oooh no, it would be too much...

Instead I thought I'd share a soup recipe I got from my father in law.  He made and served it to Mountain Man and I on the day we left Ireland after the wedding, to come back home to Malmö.  It's the kind of soup you can make with whatever you have in the fridge, is terribly forgiving and will stretch to feed whoever happens to turn up (as we did).  We gulped it down half an hour before we had to be at the airport, after a manic weekend of wedding glamour and intense visiting.  It was so good I could have had 3 bowls and curled up in a corner, happy.

This week I have been suffering from a nasty head cold and so I dug out the recipe he had emailed me and made the soup, albeit with one or two ingredients missing or replaced with something else.  I figured it would cheer me up, boost my immune system and be a fairly easy lunch for the week.  It was.  My father in law calls it 'whatsleftoverveg soup', for me it's 'whenyouhaveacold soup'.

In a nutshell, you take a couple of cloves of garlic and an onion  and dice small.  Cube 3 carrots and a couple of sticks of celery (size matters, small is good, but whatever you decide, keep it consistent) and put them with the onion & garlic into a saucepan with a dash of good quality sunflower oil and a smidge of real butter.  Saute for 10 minutes or so, then add 1 litre of stock, half a tin of tomatoes and a teaspoon of each of the following spices - smoked paprika, cummin, ground black pepper - and 8-10 whole green cardamon pods.  If you like a bit of heat, now is the time to add in some chilli powder or harissa paste.  I added half a teaspoon as it needed to suit Mountain Man too.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, then add in half a tin of beans,  half a leek and a bunch of chopped parsley & coriander.  Continue simmering until the veg is al dente and serve up with some crusty bread and butter, or as I did some Swedish 'hard bread' or crackers (more on those in the next blog). 

You may notice there are lots of 'half' things here.  That's because I halved the recipe (apart from the tinned tomatoes, which I accidentally put in an entire tin of, hence the very very red soup) but if you want, double the recipe and freeze half the soup.  I also left out a potato, as I didn't have any, but I think it is a worthy addition, so do add it in. 

The onion, leek & garlic are fantastic cold fighters, natural antibiotics and great for your immune system generally.  I am definitely feeling the benefit of a bowl every day this week and it is dead easy to make.  When you do serve it up, adding a dollop of greek yoghurt and a squeeze of lime makes it particularly moreish.  It's all run out now, so I'll have to make more tomorrow, maybe with some ginger added, for extra ooomph.

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