Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Garlic + orange = soup?
I have been having a runny nose for four weeks now. FOUR WEEKS! Arrrgh. Naturally, the only thing I feel like eating was soup. Not a problem as I love soups. Thick creamy soups. Yummm.
Since I can remember ... well, till yesterday, my favourite soup has always been mushroom soup. I remember as a kid, it was a treat when my mum opened a an of Campbells mushroom soup for us at dinner. As it was an appetizer, the three of us kids had to share one can. Hardly enough but we didn't complain because the soup was a precursor to her delicious mains of either pork or chicken chops and home made fries.
I don't take canned soup much anymore not because they're not tasty but because it is so easy to make soup from scratch. And so satisfying. Plus, if I make it myself, I can make (and eat) as much as I want! I usually have soup as my main meal anyway so I really am not being greedy. OK?
So anyway, as of yesterday my favourite soup is now a toss-up between the age-old mushroom soup (creamy of course) and Jamie Oliver's sweet roasted garlic soup. Don't worry, it's not dessert sweet, it's the sweet taste of raosted garlic and and caramelized onions.
Garlic soup again? If you recall, I recently tested out Julia Child's garlic soup some time back (you can read it here). Twas great that one .. butt this one is even better. Read on.
I'd forgotten how sensational Jamie Oliver is. I think I remember watching the Naked Chef on TV for the first time some eight years ago or so. I forget exactly when but I was instantly captivated by Jamie. He was the first TV chef who didn't make cooking sound so .... technical. Exact measurements? He threw them out of his kitchen window. His instructions always sound something like "bash it ..." or "chuck it" or "whack it ..." -- there is no need for a glossary of cooking terms with the Naked Chef. He demystified cooking and makes it look really fun. Easy peasy, as he'd say.
It's been a while since I watched Jamie on TV or flipped through his recipe books. Recently I took down a couple of his books from my shelf and bookmarked a few recipes. the first was this soup: Sweet Garlic, Bread and Almond soup.
The star ingredient for this soup is garlic, delicious roasted garlic. Three huge heads (yes heads, not cloves) of garlic.
You may balk at the amount of garlic used as did Jamie's mum, he explains in the book. But, once roasted, the garlic loses its pungent flavour and what you have is a nice "jammy sweetness" that's uncomparable (see pic above).
This is a really hearty soup. Instead of garnishing the soup with crutons, Jamie's sweet roasted garlic soup requires you to add a substantial ammount of bread in the soup. Told you it was hearty! The bread also makes the soup quite thick, but you can if you prefer dilute it with more stock.
I just changed a few things around to make it suit my taste better. Besides, Jamie always encourages people to play around with his recipes and to have fun with them, right? I replaced the cream in the recipe with milk as I didn't have cream and usually prefer milk anyways. I also didn't have whole almonds so I used some ground almonds instead. Jamie uses Ciabatta bread which I didn't have so I used my homemade wholemeal bread instead.
Turned out delicious. DEEELICIOUS! This is my new favourite soup. Trust me, you have got to try it. Like right now!
Sweet Garlic, Bread and Almond Soup
3 large bulbs of fresh garlic, broken up with skins left on
1 medium white onion, peeled and finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil
285ml double cream (I used 200 ml milk)
1 litre vegetable stock
1 large ciabatta bread (I used 4 slices of toasted wholemeal bread), broken into pieces
200g whole blanched almonds, lightly toasted in the oven. (I used 1/4 cup ground almonds
seas salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 oranges, peeled and segmented
handful of fresh coriander/mint leaves
Roast the garlic in a preheated overn (180C) for 30 mins or till they are soft to the touch. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onions for about 10 mins (low heat) or till they are really soft and transluscent. Add the cream and the stock and bring to simmer for about 10 mins.
When the garlic is ready, squeeze out all the sweet ans pasty goodness and "chuck" the skin aside. Whisk the garlic into the soup and add the bread and almonds. Let it simmer for 5 mins. Transfer to a blender and whizz it till smooth. Return to heat for another five mins.
Serve and garnish with the orange segments and mint/coriander leaves.