Monday, 10 June 2013

Just in Time for Winter

Winter will always be the season of soups. They prove to be an easy meal when you have a cold and really don't have the energy to do much more than lie in bed wishing it was over.

The classic soup- pumpkin can be a drag to peel and chop so I went to for a less physical alternative- carrot!

And another good thing about soup is that it is not necessary to chop the vegetables all 'nicely' because in the end it all gets blended up anyway. The important thing is making sure the vegetables are cooked through and soft.

And my goodness, you end up with a sweet, moreish soup. Maybe it was because I used half of the proposed 150g of butter...

The original recipe also contained 1 bouquet garni but who has time to sort that out! For those of you who aren't aware of what this is; sprigs of thyme and parsley, and a bay leaf are tied together with non coloured string which gets placed in the liquid so the flavours diffuse and is then removed at the end. An alternative is to tie up the dried versions of the herbs mentioned in some muslin cloth.

SO do have a try of this simple, budget conscious recipe and let me know what you think!

Curried Carrot Soup

75g butter
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp curry powder
500ml chicken stock
A sprinkle of dried coriander, to serve

Melt the butter in a saucepan and sweat the onion, garlic and carrots until softened.

Meanwhile toast the cumin seeds in a separate saucepan until fragrant. Add the toasted cumin seeds and curry powder to the vegetables and cook a further 2-3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and 100ml water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Once the vegetables have cooled down, blend the soup until smooth. Delicious!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Swiss Swiss Everywhere

On a chilling but sunny Saturday morning, we ventured out to the 4th annual Swiss market at the Danish House in Penrose. There was a light, family environment with many people experiencing all that is Swiss. The food on offer included Spätzle (a type of egg pasta) with caramelised onion and cheese,and an assortment of traditional breads and pastries. We picked up a classic pretzel  and a hazelnut pastry- both delicious with the pretzel a bit on the smaller side.

Spätzle making in progress

Also available were Swiss food products which you can not easily find in New Zealand supermarkets, like Fondue mix and Rosti mix- how Swiss! The best and most affordable knifes in the world (Victorinox!) were even there. I got a packet of three small ones a few years back in Switzerland and they are still going strong- even after being in the destructiveness of the dishwasher.

It is wonderful to see such events in Auckland to give you an insight into another culture which might not be so apparent in everyday life. I say 'keep it up!' to the organisers of this small and popular market.

Monday, 25 March 2013

A new discovery

So it's been a while since my last post- a pretty awful long time. Moving to a new city and studying again can do that to you. My new city you ask? Is Auckland... a city which I am really excited about. There is so much on offer here. Including the French Farmers Market at La Cigale, Parnell. On Sunday I picked up some figs! Something you'd rarely see in the colder Christchurch climate. With contemplation about what I'd make..

A fig and almond tart it was, courtesy of Donna Hay.
I left them on the counter for a day... bad move! Make sure to store them in the fridge.

Makes 2

1 block store-bought puff pastry, thawed and halved
75g butter, melted
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup plain flour, sifted
7 figs, quartered
1/3 cup caster sugar, extra

Preheat oven to 200C.
Roll out pastry halves into long rectangles. Place on baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper or silicone parchment.

Using a small, sharp knife score a 1cm border around each sheet.
Place the butter, sugar, eggs, ground almonds and flour in a bowl and mix well to combine.
Spread half the mixture over each pastry sheet.
Place the figs and extra sugar in a bowl and toss gently to coat.
Top the pastry with the figs and bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden.