Wednesday, February 6, 2008

04.02.08: Carroty Gingernut

Seba. & I went foraging at 9.Elms this a.m., but we were late and the pickings were slim. In the market, I scooted ahead to suss out the main ingredient, hoping to find a discarded case of Jerusalem artichokes. Chance would be a fine thing but, as it happened, I did discover a trove of butternut squashes that had been well squashed. I suppose they'd fallen off the back of the lorry and the lorry had kept on reversin'. Out of the squished tubers, I picked up about ten butternuts with only superficial bruises, or the odd bit that wanted cutting out.

Meanwhile, by some kind of innate Gallic instict, Seb had assembled the basis of a mirepoix: onions, celery, carrots, plus a goodly selection of herbs. He found asparagus, too, of which we'll be hearing more about tomorrow... Back there in the then, there was an abundance of carrots and not a few scattered tomatoes. So one picked up a few of the less dodgy-looking specimens. The other main ingredient of this soup is carrots and we picked up quite a few to put with a bag of organic carrots I had left over from the weekend.

Back at base, we laid out the pickings on a table, as per the picture on the left. Seba got busy peeling carots and butternut squashes and chopping them up. I washed the tomatoes and put them in roasting trays with roughly chopped onion and peeled cloves of garlic, as per the picture on the right. Then I went and got ginger from our friendly local Sino/Viet market on Walworth Road and creamed coconut from Oli's, along with the bread.

Upon my return, I sweated a mirepoix of onion, celery and lots and lots of carrots, prolly 4kg. Peeled and finely chopped a lot of ginger: maybe 250/300g and added it to the soup pot. Put the roasted tomato/onion/garlic in another pot, covered it with 2 litres of Marigold bouillon, then whizzed the mixture and passed it through a seive to remove the pips and skin. To the main soup pot, I added the peeled and cubed squash - let's say 5kg - with another 2 litres of Marigold. Simmered for 20 mins, rested for five and then introduced Brenda the blender to the soup. Finally, I added the liquidised tomato, plus 100g of creamed coconut dissoled in a litre of boiling water. Gave it a last loving blending with Brenda.

Et voila: a gingery, carroty soup that was almost sweet, with a velvet texture if I say so myself. It went down very well with everyone, including our final visitor, Tracy, who brought in the Pullens newest resident, Johnny. Being three weeks old, he's strictly a breast milk man and didn't partake of the soup, directly, but ginger gets into the bloodstream so no doubt he'll know about it sooner or later.

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