Minted Pea, Fennel & Granny Smith Soup [Raw]

You may have guessed by my absence that it’s been a tough couple of weeks for me. Wolvie was euthanized and less than a week later, Mr. AA suffered an injury that required emergency surgery. Thankfully all his fingers are still attached, but he’ll be off work for a while and will be starting hand therapy soon.

Bunny Toys

Striving to see the glass-half-full so as not to induce self-pity and misery, I’m happy to report that there has been a silver lining.

1. We’re bonding strongly with our other bunny at the moment which has cheered us both up – she really is quite a sweetheart. We’ve showered her with new toys, heat packs and lots of extra play/cuddle time so she doesn’t get too depressed or lonely.
2. It’s really nice to come home and have a hug waiting and a cup of tea made for me.
3. While my grief somewhat steered me into some terrible eating habits, I’m starting to get back into my normal routine. I know this will take time; I just need to be forgiving and patient with myself.

I’ve never been a big fan of fennel, but I’ve been fennel-curious lately. Despite loving fennel seeds in spice mixes, adoring liquorice and enjoying the occasional liquorice tea, the pungent smell of fresh fennel makes me instantly feel like a pregnant lady – my stomach turns. I feel the same way when I smell absinthe, aniseed or star anise which is strange because I know all of those smells are fairly similar. Anyway – I’m pleased to say that if you feel the same way I do about the smell/taste, don’t fret. You don’t really notice the fennel in this soup because it’s overpowered by the sweet peas and sour lime & granny smith apple.

Minted Pea, Fennel & Granny Smith Soup
Serves 2 / Yields approx. 800ml

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Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Tangy Chive Oil

Today’s recipe is another one that will require my cashew béchamel sauce. Soup may not seem that exciting, but to get a soup this rich and creamy and vegan (and soy free!) is quite an accomplishment. Brace yourselves, chefs and other dairy enthusiasts – because this concept will knock your socks off.

Cream of Cauli Soup2
Yields approx 2.8L

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Rustic Mashed Soup

This is a hearty winter recipe that’ll warm you up! Actually, it’s less of a recipe and more of a concept; it’s a meal-soup. It’s not just some wimpy little weight loss tool; it’s something proper and filling with protein in it, that’s less likely to give you the farts than a bowl of beans.

Now… There’s no real rules to this. If you don’t like parsnip, use cauliflower! If you don’t like potato, use sweet potato! If you don’t like pumpkin, maybe you should get yourself checked out…

The title of this post is the fancy pants name for the recipe; What I’ve decided to affectionatelly nickname it is “Root Soup” – because of the root vegetables in it, and its double entendre value. For anyone who is unfamiliar with Australian colloquialisms, “root” is another word for the f-bomb.

Veg

The inspiration for this came from two separate people in my life. The first being a very close friend who has generously shared many pumpkins from her garden with me this winter. She recently suggested that I add some oats to my pumpkin soup for a change of scenery & texture. Of course I was unable to resist this simple little tip, however I’ve opted to use quinoa instead of oats because quinoa is gluten free, high in protein, and a whole grain.

The second person that influenced this soup is a co-worker who proudly brought in his first attempt at pumpkin soup for lunch one day but looked at me sheepishly and told me that he mashed it with a potato masher because he didn’t have a blender. While he said this in an embarrassed, I-cook-like-a-student kinda way, I was pretty impressed and thought that mashing the soup was a brilliant idea! Thus, I have stolen it and created a recipe that’s 50% in his honour! Hah!

Rustic Mashed Soup

This makes 6-8 servings.

1kg Jap Pumpkin, peeled, seeded & cut into very large chunks
1 tsp Fresh Garlic or Ginger, minced
2 Carrots, cut into half moon shapes
1 Cup Potato, diced with skin on
2 Cups Parsnip, peeled & diced (remove the woody centre)
2 Cups Veggie Stock (try using my vegetable stock concentrate!)
6 Cups Water
2x 15cm (6″) Sprigs Rosemary
Some Black Peppercorns (or not, depending on how you feel about pepper)
1/2 Cup Quinoa
S+P

  • Roast pumpkin for 40 minutes at 220C/425F. You can dry roast this or use a little spray of oil. Don’t panic when you see some burned bits on your pumpkin – it’s supposed to happen. It adds an awesome flavour to the soup.
  • Quickly sauté garlic/ginger in a smidge of oil, then add carrot, potato, parsnip, stock & water.
  • Tie rosemary & peppercorns up in some muslin like a bouquet garni*. Don’t sweat it if you don’t have any muslin, you can also just finely chop up the rosemary leaves and crush the peppercorns. Simmer with lid on for 10 minutes.
  • Add quinoa to the pot and cook with lid on for a further 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, remove the rosemary and carefully add the roasted pumpkin to the pot, trying not to let crap splash everywhere. Grab your trusty potato masher and mash away until you get a consistency/texture you’re happy with.
  • Season with S+P, serve with a little seedy seasoning and a few leaves of fresh rosemary. Easy peasy!

*If you don’t have anything like this, I’d suggest throwing the rosemary in with the pumpkin while it’s roasting. Whatever you do, don’t add the rosemary loose to your pot of soup because you’ll be pulling out bare twigs at the end and the loose rosemary leaves will be unpleasant.