Sweet potato and lemongrass soup

With the big freeze hitting London, all I want to eat it food that warms you through. This soup is definitely warming, filling and of course – tasty.

The slight ‘exotic’ combination of sweet potato and lemongrass really works and it is a nice alternative for a mid-week meal.

The vegetable puré itself is velvety and thick enough without the addition of dairy product, however I think a dollop of creme fraiche while serving adds another flavour, and it cuts through the lemongrass nicely.

(To make this vegan, use vegetable stock and omit the creme fraiche.)

Sweet potato and lemongrass soup, serves 2

2 sweet potatoes

1 lemongrass

1 tbsp olive oil

400 ml chicken or vegetable stock

salt, black pepper

To serve: a dollop of creme fraiche and a drizzle of olive oil

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into even-sized pieces. Cut the lemongrass in half lengthways and then across so you have four pieces. Heat up the oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the lemongrass and sweet potato and stir for a few minutes to enhance the flavours. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Then cook with the lid halfway on for about 15 minuter or until the vegetables are soft. Remove the two thickest pieces of lemongrass then puré the everything into a thick soup consistency. Add more stock or hot water until it has the thickness you want. Bring to the boil again and season. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a drizzle of a flavoursome oil. 

Turkey mince lemongrass scewers

I confess – I am a cookbook junkie. There are piles of cookbooks to read at home, and it usually takes me some time to go through them, yet I buy more cookbooks.

One wonderful cookbook I got sometime last year and have been neglecting since is Om jag var din hemmafru (If I was your housewife) by Lotta Lundgren It has great recipes, amazing layout and pictures and still I haven’t had the time to try many recipes. But last week I actually managed to try one more.

I tried chicken mince scewers on lemongrass, but I actually used turkey mince as I can not find chicken mince anywhere in this country and I still had my food processor in a moving box, otherwise I could have minced the chicken meat myself. It worked very well with turkey mince however, you just need to be more careful with the oven cooking time as turkey is so lean it easily can get dry.

Lotta’s chicken (turkey) lemongras scewers, serves 4

Adapted and translated from Lotta Lundgren’s recipe.

4 chicken fillets / 500 g turkey mince

2 thumbs of ginger

4 tbsp plain flour

12 lemongrass (I divided three lemongrass in four instead)

½ tsp salt

100 ml toasted peanuts

(50 ml sesame seeds – I omitted these)

Trim the meat and mince. Peel and grate the ginger, squeeze out the juice and mix with the mince, flour and salt.

Coat your hands with oil or water and divide the mixture into 12 portions. Place a lemongrass in the middle of each mince portion and shape into an oval. Repeat with the remaining mince and lemongrass scewers.

Crush the peanuts. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan. Mix with the peanuts.

Fry the scewers on all sides until golden brown. Then place on a baking tray and let it cook until done in the oven, about 15 minutes in 175C. Sprinkle with the nut mixture when finished and either serve with a salad or with rice and a cold sweet chilli sauce (creme fraiche + sweet chilli sauce + salt).