I am a bad, bad browniegirl. A couple of weeks ago I promised that I would post a second recipe that I developed using the wonderful fresh produce in a hamper from ZZ2 so that I could participate in their #mouthwateringbox campaign. Well….life happened…or should I say school holidays and other stuff happened and that went onto the backburner in my mind and would have stayed there had I not been reminded by a comment from a dear friend on one of the banting groups this evening who is having a problem with eating avocados suddenly. She can’t take the texture. So I dropped her a note and made a few suggestions as to how she could maybe stomach them and suddenly I was reminded about the post that I was meant to write. Oh my! I do apologize to all my readers. It is already late at night and last night I was up into the wee hours so I have that little fist beating at the side of my left temple telling me it is way overtime to get some sleep and rest. So without further ado…..my second recipe that I developed using the ZZ2 fresh products – a delicious soup just in time for this icy cold snap that we are having. The wind is howling around the eaves as I write this and I am warm and cosy with a gas heater warming my study. My dog Tasha has hogged best spot right in front of it ;)
ROASTED KOHLRABI CAULIFLOWER AND AVOCADO SOUP
4 small Kohlrabi bulbs – leaves removed and peeled, cut into cubes
½ head of cauliflower – cut into florets
30ml Olive Oil
2.5ml Freshly Grated Nutmeg
5ml Garam Masala
1 Large ZZ2 Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
5 Sprigs Thyme – leaves stripped off
1 Bay Leaf
4 Cloves ZZ2 Non Radiated Garlic – peeled and roughly chopped
1 liter chicken stock
The heel of a piece of Parmesan Cheese *see note below*
1 ripened ZZ2 Avocado Pear – cut in half, pit removed, peeled then cut into cubes
125ml Fresh Cream
Maldon Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Preheat the oven to 200deg Celcius
Place the cauliflower and kohlrabi cubes into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the spices.
Drizzle over the olive oil and place on the middle shelf in the hot oven
Roast 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Remove and set aside
To Make the Soup:
In a medium saucepan sauté the onions, bay leaf and thyme in about 2 tsp butter until they are limp and translucent
Add the garlic and sauté another minute or two
Add the roasted vegetables, the parmesan heel and chicken stock, bring to the boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally with a spoon, trying to break up the parmesan heel now and again
Turn off heat and allow to cool for about 15 minutes then remove and discard the bayleaf and bits of parmesan heel left over and blitz in the saucepan with a hand held stick blender/immersion blender until the veggies are smooth. You can do this in a food processor too if you have one
Add the avocado pear (keeping about 8 cubes aside for garnishing later) and blitz again until smooth
Add the cream and stir through then force the soup through a fine mesh sieve (placed over a large jug) to make it silky smooth
Pour the soup back into the saucepan and return to a medium heat and heat through
Check for seasoning and adjust according to taste with salt and pepper
Divide soup into 4 bowls and garnish as preferred
Grill two streaky bacon rashers until crispy then set aside (finely shredded biltong is also divine)
Cut the avocado cubes into smaller neat dice
Divide the avocado dice between the 4 bowls of soup then crumble the bacon over the top
Finely chop 125ml soft ZZ2 Sundried Tomatoes
Garnish each bowl with some of the sundried tomatoes sprinkled on top then add some basil and parmesan shavings
Serve the soup with delicious crusty country bread or seed loaf slathered with butter
Don’t ever get rid of your parmigiano reggiano rinds. These rinds, which a friend told me are known as heels in Italy, add the most wonderful flavor to soups and stews. Pop them into a Ziploc baggie as you get to the end of each one and keep them in the freezer for those times when you need one to add to a soup or stew for extra flavor. Just be sure to remember to remove the heel before blitzing the soup!
And then, for all my South African readers, you still have a couple of days to enter the delicious giveaway from ZZ2. Pop over and tell them what dish YOU would create with this same box of mouthwatering ingredients (shown in the pic below). You have until Friday 10 July 2015 to head over to the ZZ2Facebook page and leave your entry as a comment on their page. All entries will go into the grand draw and the lucky winner will be the recipient of their own Mouthwatering Box, plus a nifty avocado tool PLUS a R1000 Checkers Voucher. This competition has nothing to do with browniegirlblog or myself and the lucky winner will be drawn by ZZ2 themselves.
Enjoy, and do enter into the give away. I am heading over that way tomorrow to look for your exciting ideas.
Disclaimer: I received the mouthwatering box plus a R300 Checkers Voucher from ZZ2 Farms. The words, opinions, recipe and photographs are my own.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to participate in the ZZ2 #mouthwateringbox campaign I received this amazing box of delightful fresh products and had to create a delicious dish using two or more of the products found in the box. My imagination went crazy looking at all these fabulous veggies. I immediately opened up a packet of the sundried cherry tomatoes, a new product now on the shelves! They are so so good….just like sweeties. I had to stop my grandsons and myself from chowing through them all before I could produce a recipe! Be sure to read through to the end as there is something for you, my readers, in this too!
I did a lot of planning and have actually made a couple of dishes using these wonderful products which included onions, non irradiated garlic, 2 x sundried tomatoes, 2 x Romanita tomatoes, 2 Avocado Pears, 1 x Spanish Sante tomatoes, 1kg LSL Tomatoes, 1 box Bacio on the vine, 1 box Rigoletto on the vine and a very nifty little avocado tool. What a stash!
Here is the official dish that I am sharing with you:
4 Skinless Chicken breasts – patted dry, tenderloin removed and butterflied open with a sharp knife.
25g ZZ2 Sundried Cherry Tomatoes – reconstituted in 50ml boiling water & 10ml Olive Oil for 20 minutes
1 ZZ2 Non Irradiated Garlic clove – crushed or finely grated on a microplane
12 big Basil Leaves or more if smaller ones
4 Bocconcini Balls – cut into 4 slices each
½ ZZ2 Avocado Pear – pit removed and peeled then sliced into 12 thin slices
Salt and Pepper to season
16 Streaky Bacon slices
For the Sauce:
30mls White Wine
5mls Dijon or Wholegrain Mustard
I served this delicious meal with roasted ZZ2 vine Rigoletto tomatoes, steamed snow peas and a velvety smooth, garlicky parmesan cauliflower mash
And now, dear South African readers, as promised earlier here is something for you! This is an invitation to you to tell ZZ2 what dish YOU would create with this same box of mouthwatering ingredients. To enter for this fantastic give away please pop over between today and 10 July 2015 to the ZZ2Facebook page and leave your entry as a comment on their page. All entries will go into the grand draw and the lucky winner will be the recipient of their own Mouthwatering Box, plus a nifty avocado tool PLUS a R1000 Checkers Voucher. This competition has nothing to do with browniegirlblog or myself and the lucky winner will be drawn by ZZ2 themselves.
Enjoy, and do enter into the give away. I look forward to watching out for your exciting ideas.
Disclaimer: I received the mouthwatering box plus a R300 Checkers Voucher from ZZ2 Farms. The words and recipe are my own.
Mushrooms! One of my absolute favourite ingredients to cook with. They are so versatile and there is so much that you can do with them. For the two years that I was undergoing my reconstructive surgeries I was unable to eat anything with a particular texture and mushrooms were just taboo…I did have some in bought cream of mushroom soup – most of it tasteless white stuff in a bowl or cup that I could not really identify with any mushroom….that deep earthy umami flavour was just missing and I longed for mushrooms, big brown ones stuffed with yummy delights and braaied outside over the coals, or delicious little marinated buttons that I could just pop in my mouth and taste the burst of flavour….whole baby mushrooms in a lively rich Boeuf Bourguignon or in a creamy beef stroganoff, or sliced porcinis and exotics in a delicious creamy mushroom and blue cheese risotto… ..Stir fried shiitake and exotics in an Asian Stir Fry! Oh I could go on and on! I have had my fill of mushrooms in all kinds of dishes since I have been able to eat them again these past 3 months or so and I am not tiring of them….last week, during the incredibly cold winter snap where the snow was falling on the surrounding mountains and we here at the coast were shivering in the bone biting accompanying wind and rain, I suddenly had the yearning to be holding a steaming bowl of homemade soup in my hands. I managed to get hold of my son who happened to be working locally that day and he went via the shop and bought me some fresh mushrooms and leeks and I set about picking thyme and parsley from the garden during a break in the rain. The aromas that filled the house were amazing. When hubby got back home from work he was very appreciative of the homely delicious smells that wafted out to meet him on the driveway. I put a phone pic up on facebook of my saucepan full of sauteeing mushrooms leeks, thyme and garlic and got a lot of reaction out of it with friends asking for the recipe.
Unfortunately with all the rain our telephone cables got wet, as they do, so I was without internet for the better part of the week and weekend. Today I was so excited to get onto my blog, it is a very welcome and bright sunshiny day and I have 3 loads of laundry flapping in the slight breeze! And here I am in the dashboard of my blog finally and hoping for enough time on the interwebs to be able to write up my recipe and publish it in time for Meatless Mondays…..
EASY MUSHROOM SOUP
Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a starter
250g Fresh Portabello Mushrooms (or Portabellini) – wiped and sliced
250g Button Mushrooms – wiped and sliced (Keep 4-6 small mushrooms aside for later)
15g dried Porcini Mushrooms – roughly broken up and placed in a bowl
250ml Boiling Water – pour over the dried mushrooms and leave to soak while preparing the rest of the ingredients
4 Large Leeks – finely sliced and washed well to remove any sand
2 cloves garlic – peeled and finely sliced
10 Sprigs Fresh Thyme – leaves stripped off and twigs discarded
50ml Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1,5liters Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 Cup fresh flat-leaf parsley – washed and chopped (keep 5ml for garnishing later)
1 lemon – finely grated zest and juice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil to drizzle on soup when serving
Place a large saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil and butter, then add your leeks. Saute until leeks are limp
Add the sliced fresh mushrooms and the garlic and thyme and sauté until the liquid from the mushrooms is almost evaporated
Strain the soaking liquid from the dried porcini mushrooms, add the mushrooms to the pan and add the liquid from them to the pan as well, being careful not to add the last few drops as they usually have a bit of grit in them from the mushrooms
Add the stock and a good grinding of black pepper. Bring to the boil, cover partially and simmer gently for about 20 minutes
Remove from the heat and using a stick blender blend the soup in the saucepan until it is smooth (use a regular blender if you don’t have the stick blender)
Return soup to the heat, season to taste with salt and more pepper if needed and stir in the parsley (keep 5ml back for garnishing)
Finely grate the zest from the lemon and set aside then squeeze the juice into the soup
Stir through the mascarpone and season to taste. You want a good balance of salt, pepper, sour from the lemon, sweet creaminess from the mascarpone and the earthiness of the mushrooms
Using the last few whole mushrooms slice them thinly then add a knob of butter to a small frying pan and add the mushrooms together with a roughly bashed clove of garlic (I don’t even peel it just use as is)
Saute until the mushrooms are brown and crisp but not burnt. Discard the garlic and drain the mushroom slices on paper towel
Add 5ml finely chopped parsley and some finely grated lemon zest, black pepper and salt flakes to the mushrooms – mix together and set aside for garnishing the soup
Ladle hot soup into warmed soup bowls and sprinkle a bit of the mushroom mixture on top of the soup in each bowl
Drizzle a few drops of extra virgin olive oil onto each bowl and serve with delicious seed bread or crackers
Soup weather! The rain pelts down in sheets, driven almost horizontal by a bitingly cold north westerly gale that howls around the eaves, battering the trees and my poor herb pots on the little patio outside. I huddle down under the blanket with my book and stare morosely out at the miserable spectacle and my thoughts turn to food. I don’t know about you but I always think of food when I am cold and then I become energized. Soup is what I need right now. I go to the kitchen and switch on the gas to boil water for a cup of warming rooibos tea and check out the contents of the fridge and vegetable basket. I come up with a head of cauliflower, garlic, onions and some delicious orange sweet potatoes that I bought the day before on a visit to a food market. Could I use them together in a soup? I pick up my smartphone and ask Mrs Google’s advice….and it turns out that yes, it has been done by many others before me. So I draw some inspiration from this one by Allyson Kramer (Manifest Vegan) that stands out from the rest because it contains Garam Masala…and I love adding spice to my food!
As soon as there was a slight break in the rain I rushed outside with my kitchen scissors and picked a handful of thyme and Italian parsley and headed to the kitchen to cook! Using Allyson’s basic recipe as inspiration I pimped to my heart’s content and came up with one of the most delicious soups I have made in a while. Roasting the cauliflower and sweet potato brings out a wonderful depth of flavour and mellows out the garlic, sweetening it in the process. This soup was totally sublime and my other half, who eats soup mostly with long teeth and trepidation, declared it a winner and said he would definitely eat it over and over again. Sweet soupy words to my ears because I love soup and will eat it at every opportunity. Being able to add another to the short list of his favourites is a grand thing for me!
Before I give you the recipe for this delicious soup let me give you one *tip that I always use….I read this somewhere years ago and I have used it so many times since then. Don’t ever throw out those rindy end bits of parmesan cheese when you can no longer grate any more cheese off them, you know that hard pale rind that has parmigiano reggiano stamped on it, rather put them into a ziploc baggie and freeze instead. When you are making soup pop one into your pot of soup and fish it out at the end of the cooking time before blending or serving. You don’t actually eat the rind. All it is doing is imparting the most wonderful flavour to the food. I have been known to do this when I roast a whole chicken as well, popping the “heel” into the cavity along with half a lemon and some fresh parsley or thyme sprigs and removing it before carving. You don’t need any more flavouring than that to give you a royal meal.
ROASTED SWEET POTATO AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP
(Serves 4 as a main meal or 6 – 8 as a starter)
1 large head cauliflower rinsed and cut into florets
4 large sweet potatoes – peeled and cut into 2,5cm cubes (mine were orange)
1 Head of Garlic – just the top sliced off
1 large onion – peeled and chopped
2 litres Vegetable Stock
Few sprigs of Fresh Thyme – leaves picked off and sprigs discarded
15ml Garam Masala (or use a bit less if you prefer)
2,5ml Nutmeg – finely grated
1 frozen Parmesan heel (see *tip above)
30ml Olive Oil
30ml Coconut Oil
250ml Full Cream Milk or Coconut Milk
Handful Italian Parsley sprigs – finely chopped (makes about 30ml)
Parmesan shavings or Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese for serving
• Preheat oven to 200degC
• Place cauliflower florets in a single layer on one half of a large baking tray and the sweet potato cubes in one layer on the other half of the baking tray. Tuck the head of garlic in the middle somewhere
• Sprinkle the vegetables liberally with the Garam Masala and the nutmeg and then drizzle with the Olive Oil
• Roast uncovered for about 20 minutes until the edges of the sweet potato begin to caramelize slightly
• Meanwhile place the onion and thyme in a large saucepan with the coconut oil (or 30g of butter if you prefer) then sauté over high heat for a minute or two until the onion is glazed and limp
• Remove the roasting tray from oven after the 20 minutes and scoop the sweet potato into the saucepan. Stir and continue sautéing it with the onions over a low heat.
• Give the cauliflower a quick shake and then return it (and the head of garlic) to the oven and reduce the oven temp to 180degC. Roast for another 10 minutes until the florets are nicely browned but still a bit crunchy. Remove from oven then squeeze the garlic cloves out of the skins into the saucepan with the onion and sweet potato. Discard the skins. Cover the cauliflower loosely with foil and set aside until needed
• Add the vegetable stock and milk and the parmesan heel (rind) to the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat, cover the saucepan with a lid at a slight angle and allow to boil gently for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring now and again, until the veggies are soft and the parmesan has imparted its delicious flavour to the pot
• Remove the parmesan heel and discard then add half the cauliflower florets to the saucepan and blend the soup until velvety smooth. I use a stick blender in the saucepan but use any blender you have
• Return to the heat and stir through the remainder of the roasted cauliflower florets
• Stir through the finely chopped Italian parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.
Top each plate with a dollop of Double Fat Yoghurt and a few shavings of parmesan cheese
Serve with your choice of LCHF/banting bread or cracker
Lately I have been struggling to cook. When you cannot eat the food yourself you lose that passion to cook awesome meals. It has been 10 months now since I last ate and chewed my way through an ordinary every day meal….one that you take for granted until something happens and you find yourself spending your days longing for a piece of steak, or a slow roasted leg of lamb. Pork chops done in cider with cranberry would be delicious…..as would perfectly pink duck breast served with some awesome sticky citrus sauce or some yummy quince jelly. A delicious lemon and thyme roasted chicken would hit the spot right now. But instead my days are filled, in reality, with whatever smoothie I can make with the ingredients and fruit that I have on hand, or what soup I feel like sipping….I can manage soft stuff like flaky fish, well cooked finely minced beef or lamb, soft pasta, pureed or smashed veggies….in other words stuff that doesnt require any heavy duty masticating! As in chewing people before your minds start wandering off the subject here. So with the struggle to cook comes the struggle to blog…they go hand in hand. You passionately bake or cook something that looks drool worthy on the photos and sounds delicious reading through the ingredients….you will be passionate and proud to get it up on your blog. That just hasn’t been it for me in a while. So when I DO manage to do something delicious (even if it is the dreaded soup or a smoothie) I feel a bit of that old passion returning and it gives me hope to know that the fires are not entirely ashes….that some embers are warmly flickering inside there, just needing some little bit of life breathed into them to burst into flame again. I hope those embers can withstand another 7-9 months….I sometimes feel that I cannot, but I am only just over half way through my treatment program. Next surgical procedure happens mid May. And then I feel depression settling around me like a heavy, grey, dull, asphyxiating blanket. Almost like when that very thick peasouper of a fog comes rolling in off the icy ocean to settle in the valley where I live….Above the valley the sun is shining…..2 miles out of town the sun is shining and everyone is having a wonderful day….while in the valley we feel only the damp dankness of the fog. We see no shining sun….we believe that the rest of the city is shrouded in the same wet blanket. I constantly remind myself, daily, that I will not look beyond THIS day…..
Well, on THIS day I decided to make a new soup – not new in the sense of us never having eaten it before but new in the sense that I have never made this one before. At the end of last week I was at the Food Lovers Market and they had some beautifully fresh crisp green asparagus spears there so I bought almost 1kg of them with the intention of using them in a number of different ways. Needless to say they came in very handy for the soup that I made today – a creamy delicious green asparagus soup that has left me with a warm full belly and enough passion to do a blog post immediately! YAAY! And there is enough left over for 2 more helpings! Last week I made some stunning roasted butternut, sweet potato and apple soup. So very good….and I have about 5 portions left in the freezer for when I want some. Tomorrow I am making my Cold and Flu Busting Chicken Noodle Soup because yes…….I am fighting this head cold which seems to be winning at the moment. I cannot afford to be ill right now. I am into the final run of planning for the SA Food and Wine Blogger Indaba and it is taking up all my time and energy. Can not be in bed with a thick head now with so much to do. The pressure is on and I have to get the booking open this week.
So for now……..here is my recipe….I stood with paper and pencil next to me as I worked and wrote down what I was doing so that I could put the recipe up here. And it turned out really delicious.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Cut tips from the asparagus (about 3cm from top) and reserve for garnish. Chop the remaining asparagus stalks up into 3cm pieces and set aside
Place large saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil, butter, onion, leeks and garlic and sauté for about five minutes, stirring often, until onion is limp and translucent
Add the asparagus pieces and the thyme and saute for another 5 minutes
Pour in the hot stock and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, with the lid on, for about 15 minutes until the asparagus pieces are tender
Take off the heat, cool slightly
While the soup is cooling bring about 500ml water to a rolling ball in a small saucepan with a good pinch of salt
Add the reserved asparagus tips and boil for about 3 minutes just until done. Refresh immediately in some icy cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside until needed.
Add the chopped parsley, zest and juice of the lemon to the slightly cooled soup and blend until smooth with a stick blender or food processor
Return to the saucepan, add the cream or crème fraiche (if using) and the parmesan cheese. Season to taste and stir over heat just until heated through
Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a few asparagus tips and some extra parmesan cheese
Later this week I will be my making my families favourite broccoli and feta soup (YUM!) and then my Spicy Carrot Honey and Ginger Soup will follow….also fabulously warming and healing. I DO love the cooler weather!
Have a great new week everyone. Its a short one again for us in South Africa….and another short one next week too. Brownieboy is taking a day or two off in between and has a about a week or so off work. He needs it badly as he is suffering with a bit of stress and exhaustion, so the time off is going to be good for him!