Friday, October 26, 2007

Day 20: Celery/Celeriac

Here, I was looking to construct a two-tiered flavour with the creaminess of the celeriac, enhanced with coconut cream, serving as a background for fresh celery spiced with coriander. At the heart of the soup were five small, fresh bulbs of celeriac, organic and locally grown, which I purchased from Fare Shares for about a quid each. They looked not unlike the ones in this photo, only dirtier.

Antonio, who lives on Crampton Street, helped me this morning and he says he's going to make soup himself one day soon. We went to buy bread at Oli's and, having walked through East Street, ended up getting the rest of the necessary vegetables there, too, including a magnificent head of celery.

Back at base, Antonio peeled the celeriac roots while I toasted and ground a good handful of coriander seed, which I added to the mirepoix cooking in the bottom of the soup pot. Antonio picked the leaves off the head of celery and put them to one side for later incorporation.

We added the celeriac, diced, and celery, chopped, plus four litres of Marigold bouillon, brought the soup to the boil and simmered for 20 minutes before finally added the celery leaves, turning off the gas and leaving the pot to stand with its lid on for ten minutes before blending.

The soup was whizzed up with the Dynamic liquidisizer, then we added another litre of bouillon plus half a block of creamed coconut melted in a litre of boiling water and whizzed it again. The soup was still a bit stringy, so I passed it through the sieve into the smaller, 6 litre soup pot for service.

Again, I used the creamed coconut for texture rather and put some spice in the base of the soup to counteract or compliment its flavour, which improved the creaminess of the celeriac. Hopefully. This was a very green soup. Louisa wrote, 'although it looks like snot it didn't taste like it' and some one else wrote, 'the soup was out of this world'.

I counted out 29 bowls, which equals yesterday's record. A couple of those were left over Caulinut soups, served to a couple of guys who came in early doors, and a couple were refills for hungry folks. My portion size is a pretty consistent 250ml, this soup incorporated six litres of liquid and every drop of it was eaten, so you do the math.

I didn't take any photos, so here's a shot of the London Park Hotel, which is being demolished to make way for a tower designed by Richard Rogers. It's got 44 storey and is 13 meters (45 foot) shorter than the Multiplex Tower nearby. No prank.

Soup Makers: Russell + Antonio
Soup: Celery/Celeriac
No. of bowls served: 29
Expenditure: £16.76
Donations: £26.12
Running balance: +£165.28

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