Mother’s wild garlic soup

My mother is massively into gardening and always has been, but her way of gardening has changed over the years. When I was little we had the best garden a child could ever had, because my mother grew just about anything, so you could just walk around the garden munching on fruit and berries all the time.

We had two types of cherries, two types of plums (the yellow ones were the best), strawberries, wild strawberries, serveral types of raspberries, currants, goose berries, black berries, tay berries and so on. Plus we grew lots of vegetables and I got my own vegetable patch to grow as well.

My grandmother’s garden was similar and I used to pick strawberries and eat sorrel that I picked myself while my grandmother was gardening. All this foraging as a child and my time as a scout has made me realise how much nice things nature has to offer, and at this time of year wild garlic is one of the best things you can find in the woods (or my mother’s garden).

Although mother still grows lots of edible things it is less now that I’m not there to munch away every day of the summer. Instead the garden is a lot more grown up in terms of style and incredibly pretty.

But back to the wild garlic. I have used it in mayonnaise before, which is divine and together with lightly cooked asparagus and parmesan it makes and incredible starter, but I decided to try my mother’s soup recipe with the wild garlic this time.

The ‘recipe’ is more of a sketch really as I was told no measurements, but use your own judgment and make the soup your way. Just don’t add too much stock to begin with, you can always add more later.

Mother’s wild garlic soup – a sketch

a large bunch wild garlic leaves

mild olive oil

vegetable or chicken stock

cream

maizena (corn starch) or other thickening agent

salt, white pepper

Fry the wild garlic leaves in the oil until it has wilted. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Blend the soup smooth with a stick blender, add cream and maizena and bring to the boil again. Cook until ut thickens. Season to taste.

Cream of corn soup topped with crispy chorizo, grated cheddar and spring onions

The soup season will soon give way for the salad season, but before it is completely over I would like to serve you this delicious soup.

It is a pretty straightforward cream of corn soup, but topped with lovely crispy chorizo, grated cheddar and salad onions. It is the ultimate soup topping for this particular soup and for some reason I picture a cowboy making this in his battered metal saucepan over an open fire. I don’t know why this image pops up but it might have to do with the slight texmex-vibe the combination gives off. To make this connection even more visible, try serving it with tortilla wedges fried crispy in butter. Delicious!

Cream of corn soup topped with crispy chorizo, grated cheddar and spring onions, serves 2

1 can (400 g) tinne sweet corn

200 ml water

1 tsp concentrated vegetable stock

75 ml cream

salt, white pepper

a dash of sherry vinegar

Topping:

1/4 chorizo, roughly chopped up

2 salad onions, chopped

2 tbsp grated cheddar

To serve:

1 wheat tortilla, cut into six triangles/wedges

1 tbsp butter for frying

Rinse the sweetcorn and drain. Place in a saucepan and add the water and stock. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Fry the tortilla pieces golden brown in the butter. Drain on kitchen towel. Fry the chorizo pieces in the same frying pan. Drain on separate kitchen towel.

Mix the corn with the water until smooth. Pour it back into the pan. Add the cream and vinegar. Bring to the boil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into bowls and top with grated cheese, chorizo and spring onions. Serve with the fried bread.

Butternut squash soup with roasted garlic

One of the most popular cookbooks in Sweden in the autumn was Lotta Lundgren’s amazing Om jag var din hemmafru (translates: If I was your housewife). The design of the book is very spectacular for a cookbook with glossy sexy pictures, not just of food, and the texts are amazing as well as the recipes. It is no surprise that Lotta has a background in advertising.

I bought this book as soon as it was published but haven’t have time to properly read it until now. Love it though! And it was also about time I tried one of her recipes, this fabulous soup with roasted butternut squash, garlic and onions.

The only changes I made to the recipe was to exchange a regular onion for a red onion, and to use less stock as my butternut squash was rather small.

Butternut squash soup with roasted garlic, serves 4

1 butternut squash

1 regular onion (or a red onion)

4 garlic cloves

1 lemon, the zest and juice

400-600 ml chicken or vegetable stock

200 ml cream

salt, pepper

Place the squash, onion and garlic cloves whole with the peel on on a roasting tray. Place in 200C oven. Roast the garlic for 20 minutes and the rest for 50 minutes. Leave to cool a little. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Scrape out the flesh. Cut off the roots on the onion and squeeze out the whole thing. Peel the garlic. Grate the zest off the lemon and purée the squash, onion, zest and garlic. Heat up the stock in a saucepan and add the purée, then add the cream and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper and add a few drops of lemon juice.  Lotta suggests serving the soups with parmesan shavings or crispy bacon, I just added a dollop of creme fraiche.


A vegan New Year’s Eve menu

I like to be challenged in the kitchen, and that is why I thought it was a good idea to cook for my friend Jenny and her boyfriend James on NYE before heading to a party. Last time I invited James I cooked a whole lot of mezze dishes inspired from my trip to Syria and Ottolenghi’s book Plenty.

I wanted the NYE menu to be quite traditional, nice and vegan and because it was just for the three of us I kept it quite simple.

~ The New Year’s Eve menu 2011 ~

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Crostini with bean spread

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Jerusalem artichoke soup with coconut milk and fried chestnut mushrooms

Rustic baguette, olive oil and balsamico

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Butternut squash risotto with spinach

Salad with romaine lettuce, romano peppers, avocado and pomegranate

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Vanilla pannacotta with soy cream and passionfruit

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We had champagne to start as well, and thanks to Waitrose I got a great bottle of bubbly half price. At the champagne tasting at Harrod’s I tried some champagnes from Duval-Leroy, but not thiis one; their regular Brut NV, but because I liked the others and it is a good quality champagne house I bought this bottle and it was really good.

Vega Jerusalem artichoke soup with coconut milk, serves 3 as a starter

1 shalot, finely chopped

1 tbsp oliv oil

500 g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled

water

2 tsp concentrated vegetable stock

50 ml coconut milk

salt, white pepper

Topping: fried, sliced chestnut mushrooms

Fry the onion until soft in the oil. Add the artichokes to the pan and fry for a minute or so, Add hot water to cover and add salt. Bring to the boil and cook until very soft. Remove half the water, but keep it on the side, and puré the rest with the artichokes. Add the coconut milk and then adjust the thickness with the left over water. Add concentrated stock, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil again and serve.

Vegan butternut squash risotto with spinach, serves 4

1/2 butternut squash

1/2-1 onion

olive oil

100 ml dry white wine

1 litre vegetable stock

400 g aborio rice

2 handfuls fresh spinach

salt, white pepper

Peel the squash and remove the seeds. Cut it into chunks and place them in a roasting tray, add oil, salt and pepper and mix. Place in 200C for 35 minutes or until soft.

Fry the onions in olive oil in a casserole dish or large saucepan but don’t let it brown. Add the rice and stir for a minute or two. Add the wine and watch most of it evaporate. Then add a ladle of the hot stock and continue to stir while it cooks in. Add another ladle and repeat the procedure until all the stock is used up and the rice is soft. it usually takes 18-20 minutes depending on the type of rice. Add the spinach and stir until it is wilted. Season with salt and pepper and add the butternut squash. Feel free to serve with parmesan if you’re not vegan.

Vegan vanilla pannacotta with soy cream and passionfruit, serves 3

400 ml soy cream

2-3 tbsp vanilla essence

50-75 ml jelly sugar, or the same amount of caser sugar + enough veggie set or agar flakes for the amount of liquid

3 passionfruits

I tried my way through when I cooked this, to get rid of the particular aftertaste soy products have, and I recommend you do the same.

Add the cream to a sauce pan and the smaller amount of sugar and vanilla and heat it up. Then add the sugar and vanilla little by little until you are satisfied with the taste. Add the jeling agent if not using jelly sugar. Bring to the boil and stir so the sugar melts. Pour into dessert coupes or ramekins and leave to cool. Place in the fridge for a minimum of four hours to set. 

Before serving, place the inside of the passionfruits in a bowl and place enough on each pannacotta to cover the top. Serve and enjoy.

Warming chicken soup with beans and mushrooms

I like to eat soup at least once a week when it is cold outside, but mostly I stick to smooth soups, but it is about time I venture into different soups as well.

This chicken soup is perfect to use up leftover chicken and very tasty, warming and filling. I added some sambal oelek for heat and flavour, and although I made this with homemade chicken stock it works just as well with a stock cube or concentrate.

Chicken soup with beans and mushrooms, serves 3

1 carrot

1/2 onion

2 celery sticks

1 tbsp mild olive oil

500 ml chicken stock, homemade if possible

400 g tinned plum tomatoes or tomato chunks

400 g tinned borlotti beans

2 tsp sambal oelek

1 garlic clove

3 tbsp cream

1 tbsp maizena

7 sliced, fried button mushrooms

1/4 chicken, cooked and the meat shredded

salt, white pepper

To serve: grated parmesan

Peel the carot, rince the celery and peel the onion. Place it all into a food processor and mix. Heat up the olive oil in a 3 litre sacue pan. Add the minced vegetables and fry for a minute or so. Add the stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Stir occassionally. Rinse the beans and add them to the pot. Bring to the boil again and cook for a few minutes. Add sambal oelek and garlic, then cream and maizena. Then add the fried mushrooms and the chicken meat. Let it all heat up. Serve with grated parmesan.

Parsnip soup

I never get tired of soups during the autumn and winter, but I like to try new flavours and my aim is probably to try to make soup of most vegetables.

I have actually not made one with just parsnip in before, but this was really good. Parsnip is a sweet vegetable so it definitely needs the onions and garlic as well as the mushrooms on top to balance that out. Add a little truffle oil to enhance the mushrooms even more and this soup could be served at a dinner party as a starter.

Parsnip soup with fried mushrooms, serves 2

500 g parsnips, peeled and cut into smaller pieces

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed

water

1 tsp concentrated vegetable stock

100 cream

1 tsp dried thyme

salt, white pepper

To serve:

6-7 chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced, fried in butter and oil + truffle oil

Fry the onion in olive oil in a large sauce pan without it browning. Lower the heat and add the garlic. Fry for 30 seconds. Add the parsnips and fry for a minute or so. Cover the parsnips with boiling water. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cook until the parnips are very soft. drain 1/3 of the water but set it aside. Mix the 2/3 with the parsnips until smooth. Add more of the water if needed. Bring the purée to the boil and add cream and thyme. Season to taste with stock, salt and pepper. Add some milk if the soup is too thick. Pour into bowls and top with the mushrooms and truffle oil. Serve straight away.

Celeriac soup

I really like soups in the autumn and have to have my fix once a week at least. And basically anything will taste good in a soup, so that is why I want to try lots of different ones.

This time I couldn’t wait to try celeriac soup, as I have a new found love for this root vegetable. I have so far used it in both slaw and gratin, and with great results.

Inspired by this Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe this soup came about. I didn;t follow it exactly, but used the base for it. I always like a bit of cream in a smooth soup, and in this one there is just a tiny bit of cream, but it still gives the soup that velvety consistency and taste.

I served this with childhood memories; bread with the crust cut off, with melted cheese on top. The ultimate comfort food!

Celeriac soup, serves 2

ca 350 g celeriac

1 medium- large potato

1/2 leek

olive oil for frying

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 l vegetable stock

salt

white pepper

3 tbsp single cream

2 tbsp dry white wine

Peel the potatoes and celeriac. Cut into equal-sized pieces. Wash the leek and slice it thinly. Fry the leek in the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Turn the heat down and add the garlic and thereafter the celeriac and potato. Add the (hot) stock and bring to the boil. Cook until all the vegetables are very soft, about 20-25 minutes. Blend the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and add cream and wine. Leave it to simmer for a few minutes. Adjust the seasoning and serve.  

Broccoli and Stilton soup

This soup is not Scandinavian at all, but something I have embraced in my new country. The combination of sweet broccoli and tangy stilton is lovely and makes this soup both filling and comforting (no wonder considering the amout of cheese…)

Although containing a lot of cheese, there is just a hint of Stilton in the flavour, and that is exactly how I like it, and this way you can serve it to non-Stilton lovers too.

 

Broccoli and Stilton soup, serves 4

750 g broccoli, including the stem, cut in small pieces

water

600-700 ml homemade chicken stock, hot

50 ml water

150 ml single cream

75 g Stilton

salt, white pepper

Cook the broccoli until very soft in salted water. Drain. Add the stock and blend until smooth. Add water and cream and bring to the boil. Add the cheese (crumbled) and let it melt while stirring. Season with salt and pepper. 

Jerusalem artichoke soup 2.0

Jerusalem artichoke is one of my favourite root vegetables and something I would love to grow if I had a garden. Since I don’t, I get mine in Waitrose or at Borough Market.

This soup was well liked on Saturday, which I am grateful for, since it was the best version I have made so far. Richard, Christopher’s brother, described the flavour similar to smoked bacon and I see what he means. I will try his suggestion of topping the soup with crispy bacon instead of girolles next time.

Jerusalem artichoke soup, serves 4 as a starter

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

600-700 g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled

water

2 tsp concentrated chicen stock (like Touch of Taste)

50 ml single cream

salt, white pepper

Topping: Girolles fried in butter, salt and white pepper and some fresh chopped shallots.

Fry the onions soft in a large saucepan on medium-low heat. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and fry for a minute or so. Cover with boiling water. Add salt. Bring to the boil and cook until the artichokes are soft. Drain away half of the cooking water, but save it for later. Puré the artichokes with the remaining water with a blender or stick blender. Add the cream and enough of the cooking water to get the thickness you require. Add the stock and season to taste. Bring to the boil again and serve. 

Carrot and coriander soup

I made this British classic for the first time last week, and fell in love, if that is possible with a soup.

I love the smooth velvety texture and the combination of sweet carrots and flowery coriander really works. We will certainly eat this a lot this autumn and winter!

Carrot and coriander soup, serves 2

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

600 g carrots, peeled and cut into smaller pieces

water

vegetable or chicken stock

50 ml single cream

salt, white pepper

1/2 bunch fresh coriander, chopped

Fry the onion until soft but not brown in the oil on medium heat, in a large sauce pan. Add the carrots and fry for a minute or so. Pour boiling water to cover the carrots and add a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and cook until the carrots are soft (about 15 minutes). Drain  most of the cooking water, but set it aside. Pureethe carrots and add enough of the cooking water so you have a very thick soup. Bring to the boil and add cream and stock until you have the thickness you want. Season with salt and pepper. Add the coriander a minute or so before serving.