Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Soup, and Scone Pinwheels

I've been feeling a craving for soup made with rich meaty stock lately. I made soup from lamb shanks the other night, cooking the bones for two hours on the stove with lots of veges and barley and lentils, then after I'd cut most of the meat off, chucked the bones into the slow cooker with another couple of soup bones, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and a slug of vinegar (to help release the calcium from the bones, according to Sally Fallon) and simmered it for about 24 hours. I took some of it out halfway through and refilled the crockpot with more water, and ended up with one litre of thick, gelatinous stock, and two litres of thinner, but still tasty broth in the freezer.

Today was definitely a soup day, so I defrosted a litre of the broth and added half a cup of soup mix (the packet stuff from the supermarket, or just use whatever combo of barley and legumes you prefer), a sauteed onion, and a couple of cups of diced root vegetables. I ended up adding probably close to a litre of water as the soup simmered away for an hour while the lentils and barley cooked, but just keep an eye on it and make sure the water level never gets too low. Then just before serving I added some diced zucchini and Brussels sprouts. We ate it with grated cheese on top, and warm cheese and chutney pinwheels on the side.

Cheese and Chutney Pinwheels
(recipe adapted slightly from Alison Holst's Dollars and Sense Cookbook)

2c flour (I used 1/2c wholemeal and 1 1/2c plain)
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
25g olive oil
1/2c milk
1/4-1/2c cold water
~1/3c chutney
~1/2c grated cheese

Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Pour in the olive oil, milk and 1/4c of the water, and stir. Add a little more water if necessary until the dough comes together. Roll it out on a floured bench - or, if you're like me and your children have stolen the rolling pin - pat it into a rectangle shape about the size of your average baking tray. Spread it with chutney and sprinkle with grated cheese, leaving a 2cm clear edge on the long side which is furthest away from you. Moisten the clear edge with water or milk to help it stick, then loosen the dough with a palette knife or spatula and roll it up from the long side which is closest to you. Cut it into 2cm thick slices with a sharp knife, and lie the slices flat on a greased baking tray, leaving room to spread. Cook at 220C for 10-12 mins or so, until the pinwheels are golden on top and cooked through. Makes about 15.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quick Bean and Pasta Soup

I'm trying to make soup for lunch when we're home during the day, because gawd knows we could do with upping our vegetable intake a bit, and toast for breakfast followed by toast for lunch isn't cutting it. But I'm a lazy tart at heart and toast is easy. So I've bestirred myself a couple of times this week and started cooking the soup around 11:30 when people are starting to get grumpy from lack of protein, and we've had some nice warming meals. It is definitely soup weather!

The bean and pasta soup I made yesterday was a definite hit. I wasn't happy with the balance of flavours in the previous soup, which I'd made using stock powder, so I made up a rich vege stock the night before. A carrot, handful of celery sticks and leaves, two onions, some bayleaves, peppercorns and a clove of garlic, cooked down to a gorgeous brown broth, probably about 4 or 6 cups full (who notices that sort of thing).

I didn't bother browning anything the next day because I had my beautiful stock, but you can if you want. I also used dried garlic, because I have heaps, and it kept the emphasis on speed of preparation, but if that strikes you dead in your foodie heart then by all means use the real stuff. Ditto the beans.

stock, glorious stock
1 can five bean mix
2 sticks celery, with leaves, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 potatoes, diced
~1 tsp dried garlic
1/3 cup risoni
1 tsp dried basil
1 slug mushroom soy sauce (optional, but it adds a bit of oomph to the broth)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything except the risoni, bring to the boil, and simmer until the potato is nearly tender. Check the seasonings, then add the pasta and simmer for about 8 minutes, or until tender. If you like a thicker soup, mash roughly so that some of the potato is broken up.

We served it with grated cheese on top, and the smalls insisted on toast, since apparently toast is an essential part of the Authentic Soup Experience, but it really doesn't need it. Very filling!

New (old) cookbook!

I was unable to resist adding a new recipe book to my collection this week - The Findhorn Family Cookbook. Down to earth, sensible, tasty, easy vegetarian recipes which aren't unnecessarily penitential about butter and salt and sugar, plus commentary about being at one with our vegetable brethren - how could I leave it on the shelf? I haven't cooked anything out of it yet, but I promise to report back.