Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I’m always telling everybody whenever the opportunity presents itself that I’m not a salad or soup lover. Though I am a vegetarian, eating raw vegetables is not something I enjoy. I don’t know what it is about soups I don’t like, but they’re not my favourite food.
Just the other day, a friend and I were just discussing that growing older seems to be doing something to the part of the brain that works the taste buds! She agreed that we seemed to be more willing to give some foods on the “don’t like” list, a second chance.
I still do not like aubergine/ eggplant very much but can take in small doses if cooked in a certain way. Cooked salads, pasta salads and raw salads with fruit and nuts are acceptable. And a couple of weeks back, I actually felt like having soup!
Of course, it could have been because I wasn’t feeling to well but I think I am slowly developing a taste for certain soups. This time I had caught a bad respiratory infection and all I wanted to something warm to drink, at regular intervals, to sooth my irritated throat.
Now there is only so much tea that one can drink in a day so I needed something else. A cousin suggested rum (and coke) but I don’t drink alcohol. So the other option that came to mind was soup.
The vegetables in my fridge were down to a minimum, and vegetable bin yielded some tomatoes, carrots and red bell pepper. So that decided what was going into my soup.
A search on the ever resourceful net led me to this recipe which I adapted to my taste. This isn’t really a soup which one can throw together at one’s whim as the vegetables need to oven roasted, but it is one which cooks up without too much effort.
I made it in slightly larger quantities, refrigerated it and then warmed it up whenever I wanted some hot soup. If you plan to do this, it would be better to leave out the milk and substitute it with more stock (or water).
This thick soup is a nice balance of very slightly sweet and spicy flavours with a faint tang from the orange juice.
Roasted Tomato And Carrot Soup
(Adapted from Epicurious)
2 medium onions
8 to 10 medium tomatoes
5 big carrots
1 big red bell pepper (capsicum)
1 cup orange juice, sweetened
11/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (adjust to taste)
1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
salt to taste
First prepare the vegetables for roasting.
Quarter the onions, cut the carrots into 1/2” rounds, the bell pepper into large pieces and put them all together. Quarter the tomatoes and remove the seeds and pulp. This ensures that there isn’t too much liquid when the tomatoes are roasting.
Lightly oil two baking sheets. Add about 1/2 tbsp oil (out of the 1 tbsp) each to both the chopped tomatoes and to the other vegetables. Toss them so they are well coated with the oil.
Now spread the tomatoes out on one baking sheet and the other vegetables on the other, ensuring they are in a single layer.
Bake them at 200C (400F) for about 45 to 50 minutes or till the vegetables are well roasted.
Let them cool and then purée the roasted vegetables in the blender, adding the orange juice, till smooth. Then add the milk and blend till well mixed.
In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil and sauté the garlic paste in it. Turn down the heat and then add the cumin powder and garam masala. Do not allow it to burn.
Now add the puréed vegetables. Mix well and add as much of the vegetable stock as needed to thin the soup to required consistency.
Add salt and chili flakes to taste, bring the soup to a boil and then turn down the heat. Allow the soup to simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Take the soup off the heat and serve warm with the basil cream (recipe below). This recipe serves 3 to 4.
I made the above soup to sooth an irritated throat but should you want to serve it as part of a regular meal, you can also make a Basil Cream to serve with it. All this cream needs is some fresh basil and some cream.
The Basil Cream really does add that “special” something to the soup. You can refrigerate the extra cream for a couple of days and it does make an excellent dip as well.
There used to be a time, when I used to have not just green thumbs but green fingers too. In the past couple of years though, I have had a tough time just trying to get a few pots filled with growing herbs.
I plant the seeds or cuttings, and they would sprout a few leaves only to invariably die on me and leave me feeling miserable.
It looks like the green is creeping back into my thumbs again, as I have for the first time in ages, managed to have some semblance of an herb garden growing in my pots. Right now, my herb garden consists of only 3 types of basil, some mint and curry leaves but it’s a beginning.
Some of my home grown basil went into this Basil Cream, so as far as I’m concerned, it had the sweet taste of success! Seriously though, I never knew basil and cream could taste this good.
(Adapted from Epicurious)
200ml cream (I used 25% fat)
15 to 20 fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp salt
Put the cream in a small pan and slowly bring to a boil. Add the salt and basil leaves, keep stirring and cook till the basil leaves wilt. This should take under 10 seconds.
Allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes and then purée it in a blender till smooth.
Pour the cream back into the pan and warm slightly just before serving.