soup

all season garden pass

Cavolo Nero, Potato, Leek & Tarragon Soup

At this time of year, we’re pretty much living on the bounty between our garden and the Farmer’s Market, which when I think about it is in essence the same as our garden. Isn’t that the brilliant thing about Farmer’s Markets? They’re essentially like having an AAA pass to lots of different veggie patches beyond your own; patches that grow produce as you would, and provide produce that tastes like you’ve just picked it yourself. I really love that, because not all of us can grow everything at the same time in our own gardens, but all together we can grow everything at the same time. Oh God, someone save me sounding like a tourism ad!

It’s just that I never want to fall into the trap of comparing the Farmer’s Market to a supermarket. It’s an entirely different creature, made up of gardeners who are willing to share a portion of the 6-8 organic broccoli they may have in their garden, some of the season’s first pick of tarragon, or olive oil that has been pressed only 1 day ago –  pack it in their car, drive it to a shed somewhere, unpack it, put a beautiful handwritten sign with it and stand behind a trestle waiting to tell you about it should you ask. If I think about it too deeply it makes me want to pay $45 per head of broccoli and even then I’d feel like I came out the victor in the exchange.

My brain’s been fairly firmly entrenched in market-land of late, with our ongoing Saturday morning ‘shop’ at the Barossa Farmer’s Market being joined by a stint at the very first Full Moon Farm Gate last Saturday night. Just when you think your appreciation for those masters of the handmade and homegrown couldn’t be any greater, a hot mug of locally wildcrafted saffron soup is being placed into your hands, and you’re well aware your belly’s not the only thing feeling full from the offer. It’s an incredible thing to be able to give thanks in person to those who sustain the community you live in. Full hearted thanks.

This soup is a combination of Syd’s potatoes, Thatch’s tarragon, Al’s leeks, Amelie’s limes and our cavalo nero. And there you have another reason to love Farmer’s Markets – first name basis with those who are busy growing food for you. Love it.

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Cavolo Nero, Potato, Leek & Tarragon Soup

serves 4

 

1 bunch organic cavalo nero, roughly chopped

4-5 russet potatoes, cut into 1.5cm cubes

3-4 organic pencil leeks, chopped into 1cm rounds

1 generous handful organic tarragon, chopped

1 litre organic vegetable stock

2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

Squeeze of fresh organic lime

Himalayan salt

Freshly ground white pepper

 

Super simple. Heat a large saucepan, add the coconut oil, leeks and potatoes. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the leeks are golden, add the cavalo nero, stir for a further 2 minutes and then cover with the vegetable stock. Let the soup come to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender.

Remove from heat, season to taste and add the tarragon and lime juice just before serving.

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the first cauliflower

Cauliflower & Toasted Mustard Seed Soup with Macadamia Parmesan

The first cauliflower of the season arrived in our garden over the weekend. It was a little on the small side but was bound to continue shrinking if it was left to the fat green grub that was sharing it with us. Fair’s fair, he’d eaten the equivalent of a small acreage so it was our turn to make soup. Actually there were a hundred other things I imagined making with the cauliflower but the day seemed to finish before it began and soup was the only thought left. I don’t want to say it as though soup is in some way a secondary option but it’s not exactly rocket science. Either way, I love it, and as simple as it is, I’m always keen to find new ideas for blending things into a puree to dip sourdough into, so hoping the soup thing can still be helpful to other ‘meal in a bowl’ lovers. I’ve been adding macadamia parmesan to everything lately so it went on top with some rocket flowers and surprisingly the spice of the toasted mustard seeds didn’t seem out of context with the pseudo Italian theme the ‘cheese’ and rocket started. Fifteen minutes to a warm belly worked too. It has been crazy cold out here on our hill. Yep, soup and more soup. And then some watching of hungry caterpillars while you eat it. Dinner and a show. How low can lo-fi go you ask?

 

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Cauliflower & Toasted Mustard Seed Soup with Macadamia Parmesan

makes a big saucepan full

 

1 head of organic homegrown cauliflower, or similar

3 organic homegrown potatoes

1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds

1 litre organic veggie stock

2Tbsp organic coconut butter, or extra virgin olive oil

 

1/2 cup organic, raw macadamia nuts

1 Tbsp organic savoury yeast flakes

1 tsp sea salt flakes

 

fresh organic rocket flowers, if available

 

 

Roughly chop the cauliflower and potatoes and panfry for 4-5 minutes in the coconut butter until nicely browned around the edges.

Add the vegetable stock to cover and leave to simmer until the cauliflower and potato are cooked through. 

 

Toast the mustard seeds in a dry pan until they start to pop. Remove from heat and grind with a mortar and pestle into a powder. Add to the soup.

Puree the soup with a hand blender until smooth and creamy. Check seasoning and salt to taste.

 

To make the macadamia parmesan, simply blitz the nuts, yeast flakes and salt in a food processor until they pull together and resemble crumbs.

Serve the hot soup with a sprinkling of parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and some rocket flowers if you have them.

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happy campers

Chicken-less Noodle Soup

Campfires and soup just go together. And tea and campfires. And toasting sourdough over the coals. And then add in some of your favourite people in the world, a trusty swag and a lovely van called Scooby and you have a pretty good chance of an excellent camping experience. Should said company also happen to be brilliant photographers and masterful soup makers, you could all but claim an A team of guest bloggers joining you on your travels. Serendipity.

 

I saw these pics come through from our talented mates at Messagemark and Denis Smith Photography today and couldn’t help but pretty please them into sharing. Our weekend in the Flinders also proved the perfect excuse to share Damien’s ‘Chicken Noodle Soup Without The Chicken’, something I’ve been meaning to get to for an age. This is last meal territory for me, I love it. So all round a chance for me to fly the flag of thanks for clever people who just happen to be my favourite happy campers. What a yummy set of memories to add to the ever growing bank – thanks guys!

tree huggers walking the track fire fire soup

 

Chicken Noodle Soup Without The Chicken

makes a generous pot full

 

500g organic udon noodles

1 organic red onion, chopped

4 organic carrots, grated

4 sticks organic celery with leaves, chopped

good handful of organic flat leaf parsley, chopped

200g organic firm tofu, cubed

2 litres organic vegetable stock

Murray River salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

organic extra virgin olive oil

 

Heat a heavy based saucepan and brown the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the grated carrot and chopped celery and stir through, cooking for about 2 – 3 minutes before pouring in the stock. Once the stock has come to a boil, drop the noodles in and continue cooking until the noodles are al dente, about 10 – 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the cubed tofu and flat leaf parsley, check for seasoning and leave to sit for 5 minutes or so. Super easy camp cooking!

alligator gorge toasty hand caving

favourite colour. edible green.

Lettuce, Tarragon & Chervil Soup

This time of year – when Summer is still holding hands with Autumn – is so, so lovely. The sun becomes golden rather than blazing and every night is a good night for sleeping. We had the most drenching rain here last week and today I noticed there was green peach fuzz all over the hills where the harshness of late Summer stood only a couple of days ago. It’s amazing how reassuring that first tinge of green can be, because I have to honest, in the midst of Summer’s heat there are times I can’t imagine anything growing, ever again, in the endless red dirt. But today, green.

 

I did the same thing the weather is doing but in a bowl over the weekend. That ‘neither hot enough for cold soup, nor cold enough for hot soup’ kind of thing. But definitely soup. The eternal diplomat. And finding the most beautifully fresh tarragon – really and truly French tarragon – at the Farmer’s Market only encouraged the plan. I’ve been making this lettuce and tarragon soup for what seems like ever. It changes each time I make it. That’s what soup is so good for huh?

 

I added fresh chervil this time and I think I’ll probably run with that as a new and improved future option. It sounds like a liquorice-y mouthful to have tarragon and chervil in the same bowl, and it is, but not too much so. That said, you probably need to really love tarragon and chervil to begin with for this soup to work its magic. I do. And it did. Yay for Autumn.

 

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Lettuce, Tarragon & Chervil Soup

 

1/2 large organic lettuce such as cos or iceberg (I used a mix of what the garden offered)

1 organic red onion

50 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 clove organic purple garlic

25g organic amaranth flour (or any plain unrefined flour)

750ml organic vegetable stock

20g organic tarragon

20g organic chervil

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

 

Roughly chop the lettuce, onion and garlic. 

Heat a heavy based large saucepan, add the olive oil and fry the onion for 3-4 minutes before adding the garlic and flour. Continue to stir for a minute and then gradually add the vegetable stock.

Bring to the boil and add the lettuce, tarragon and chervil. Simmer for about 15 minutes, and then using a hand blender, process until smooth. 

Season to taste and serve topped with fresh tarragon.

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