Monday, 11 February 2008

A spring day with winter veggies

It was happy-making weather this weekend - lovely sunshine and warm enough not to need a hat for the first time. Of course it shouldn't be like this in February, but it was beautiful while it lasted. I spent Saturday pottering around and had a lovely long walk by the river. We've lived near rivers in both our previous home towns, and I miss them (it must be the ex-rower in me). I have to admit that rivers are generally much nicer on Saturday afternoons from the bank than 6.30am from a narrow carbon-fibre boat though.

By the evening I was back into seasonal mode and made roasted winter veggies for dinner, with a Cantonese-style glaze. I had loads of veggies left over, and since wasting food is an absolutely cardinal sin in my book I decided to roast them too, and turn them into soup. I wasn't sure how the glaze would transfer into soup, and was after something more hearty in flavour, so I did them with smoked paprika and a Schwarz spice blend for vegetables which The Scientist picked up in Sainsburys a few weeks ago. The vegetables smelt amazing, and I just whizzed them up in the processor with some stock until they were a nice consistency. The flavour was so good that I didn't need to add anything else except a little salt and pepper.

We had the soup for lunch the next day and it had all the hearty smoky creamy wintryness I'd hoped for (even if we had the patio door open as the weather was so nice, much to the cats' delight. They much prefer going out of the patio door than using their own catflap in the front. Perverse creatures). I'm sure the depth of flavour was partly because I used Jerusalem artichokes (see how I slipped them in again, Eco Sis?!) and parsnip, but it's a soup which could be endlessly adaptable. Mine also had swede, carrot, garlic and onion in it. It was good that I'm entering it for Holler from tinnedtomatoes and Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen's 'No Croutons Required' veggie soup event. The rules are that it be a soup a carnivore would love: The Scientist ate every bit and even managed to pick out the Jerusalem artichoke flavour. I still need to work on my photography though...

The recipe, such as it is:

Hearty wintry roast veggie soup

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (400 F)

Chop selection of seasonal root veggies into chunks (about 1 inch) and scatter over a lightly greased baking tray. Season with smoked paprika and selection of herbs/spices (I used Schwartz 'special blend for vegetables'). Roast for about an hour, until the veggies are tender. I added some onion and garlic after about 15 mins.

I let the veggies cool for a little while here, but that's really because I was eating my dinner, and it probably made no difference! Blend up in a processor with enough stock to make the consistency you like. Taste and season.

Serve to hungry and appreciative boyfriend.

I used about 2/3 of a large parsnip, 1 1/2 largish Jerusalem artichokes, a big carrot, 2/3 of a swede, a shallot and a huge clove of garlic, and it made three portions, but it depends a lot on how thick you like your soup, I suppose!


Jacqueline Meldrum said...

That sounds like a good tasty soup! I haven't tried artichokes in soup yet, so nice idea!
I do love your cats! I have some perverse cats too! thump, thump, thump at the patio door, I want in and then a minute later, thump, thump, thump at the patio door, I want out! But don't you just love them!
I am glad you submitted to the challenge, it is always good to come across a new blog!

LisaRene said...

Sounds like a delicious way to use up your excess veggies.

How wonderful that you used to row. I row twice a week on my rowing machine, which I love, but have never rowed for real. I love the rhythm of rowing and imagine doing it on actual water must feel wonderful!

Anonymous said...

The artichoke was definitely a good plan. It added a really nice layer of flavour to the whole affair :-)

Lysy said...

Jerusalem artichokes are a definite winner in soups, and they make good roasted veggies, too. Even The Scientist endorses them! I think that cats just love to be perverse - one of ours loves the whole 'I want to go out but now I'm going to sit in the open door and think about things for a while' routine. She also tried to eat thread (while I'm sewing) which we have to have chats about frequently.

I'm impressed with your rowing machine routine, Lisa. I hardly use one now - too much time spent doing indoor races on them when I rowed! There is something nice and peaceful about the clunk of the oars and the nice sunrises when you're on the water (and the cold and the wet and the being shouted at by a coach...) : )