Thursday, October 11, 2007

Day Nine: Carrot & Coriander

Today I set out to copy the soup that made the New Covent Garden Company famous, Carrot & Coriander. Well, I say copy, but I didn't use any nutmeg and instead concentrated upon building coriander flavours by toasting a generous handful of coriander seeds in a dry pan, then grinding them in an electric coffee grinder. This spice I put in the base of the soup, which I finished with an injection of intense fresh coriander flavour, produced by putting the stalks of a couple of bunches of the herb through a masticating juicer with a stalk of celery to produce a bright green chlorophyl-rich liquor.

Six kilos of carrots, a big onion, a head of celery and a bunch of coriander cost me a fiver in East Street market. Back at base, I chopped the onion and sweated it in a little oil in the bottom of the soup pot with the lid on, adding the ground coriander seed and then the leafier parts of the celery, chopped up. I peeled and chopped up all except two of the biggest carrots and added them to the pot with four litres of Marigold bouillon, simmering for twenty minutes. Then I pureed the soup with the stick mixer.

To finish the soup, I used creamed coconut instead of dairy cream to give a rich, smooth texture and this is actually becoming a bit of trademark of Pullens Soup Kitchen. If I'm making the soup, I'd prefer it to be vegan and dairy free, but the addition of a little fat always gives a more unctuous mouth feel (as I'm sure they'd say at the New Covent Garden Soup Company). I melted a block of creamed coconut in a little boiling water before adding it along with the green liquor from the juicer.

The texture of New Covent Garden's patented carrot 'n' coriander is varied with the inclusion of chunkier pieces of carrot, so I grated the two big carrots I'd held back into my soup, added another couple of litres of Marigold bouillon to the pot and brought it back to the boil before serving, garnished with fresh chopped coriander

Customers for my better-than N.C.G.'s c'n'c soup were slow to arrive and it was half past one before Gordon showed up. He said there wasn't enough salt in the soup, which is what he always says. I offered him LoSalt but he wasn't impressed and said next time he'd bring his own Maldon salt, which is fine by me. I mean, I wouldn't mind him smoking a cigarette after thoroughly enjoying his soup, but it's against the law, innit.

Some people from the workshops in Iliffe Yard are getting very good about bringing their own bowls to get their soup and then scuttling back to their drawing boards, or kilns, but if no one hangs around for a chat it can be a bit boring, so I was pleased to see Natty and Oskar, who held the fort when I had to leave at 3pm. Louisa kept the Soup Kitchen open till six and served another eight or ten bowls to people including Amy, who wrote in the log bok: 'Awesome! Great job!!'
Soup Maker: Russell
Soup: Carrot 'n' Coriander
Other ingredients: Creamed coconut
No. of bowls served: 24
Expenditure: £9.70
Donations: £18.83
Running balance: +£85.19

No comments: