Roasted Cauliflower Soup

IMG_8930During a busy week in a restaurant kitchen, I was checking the walk-in cooler doing the order for the following week. I came across three big cauliflowers that for some reason hadn’t been used. As the weather was rainy and cool, I decided to roast all the cauliflower and make soup. It sold out the same day. So here it is, simple, nutritious, with the depth of flavour that roasting gives. Enjoy! Continue reading

Roasted Carrot & Apple Purée

IMG_8745Textures and colours have always been important to me when it comes to food. I’ve had two memorable meals that were so off the mark that they made hospital food look good. Both were served on plain white china. Just setting the mood.

The first was served in a small home eatery on one of the Gulf Islands. Dinner was sliced chicken breast, mashed potatoes and cauliflower. Sounds great, yes? No added herbs, sauce, gremolata, or anything resembling colour or flavour, bland, bland, and bland. I could not believe that someone was proud to serve this to paying guests. Of course, maybe they weren’t. Maybe they didn’t care.

The second was at a major restaurant chain. We stopped in for a quick supper during a shopping trip. I ordered Fettuccine Alfredo, looking forward to a velvety sauce full of flavour. What I got: soft noodles smothered in a cream sauce. I couldn’t detect any cheese flavour at all. As well, there was nothing else on the plate, no sprinkling of herbs, not even a sprig of parsley. Disappointment prevailed.

When I plan a menu, I love to incorporate lots of colours and textures, as well as great taste. I’m happiest when I hear people exclaiming how beautiful it all looks, and then look forward to the silence as they all tuck in.

When planning a buffet, I like to have a purée of some sort as part of the mix, nothing soft and mushy, but something with deep, interesting flavours that is firm, as well as having a velvety texture. For an upcoming job, I want to have carrot purée tucked in amongst the other vegetable dishes, to compliment them in colour, but also that has enough flavour of its own, that people will go back to it for seconds.

So here’s what I’ve come up with. Continue reading

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Apple

IMG_6548This was one of those nights!  Hadn’t really spent any time thinking about dinner, but my husband’s on a special diet right now, and knew that I had to put something together!  Looking in my diverse pantry, I kept seeing things that would really be good, but most of them were on the “no” list.  So using some really basic items (all of which were on the “yes” list), I pulled a really tasty soup out of a hat.  It is filling, so we were satisfied with just the soup, no side dishes, no bread.  I feel guilty eating a variety of foods when the one other person eating just has a whole long list of “no’s”.

Of course, now that I’ve made it, I know I’ll make it again. It is so easy, vegan, too, if that’s required.

I had two lovely little pumpkins from jollity Farm sitting waiting patiently for me to put them to good use.  A quick peel & chop and they were in a pot, gently simmering until soft, drained, and then mashed.

I really suggest this as a main course soup, maybe on a really cold winter’s night, before a game of scrabble or crib.IMG_6529 Continue reading

Kale & White Bean Soup with Fresh Chorizo & Rosemary

IMG_3396The last day of this season’s Soup’s On program, we served large pots of seemingly never ending turkey vegetable soup to a crowd of friends and neighbours.  So many dropped by to get their last fix of the Soup’s On experience to last them until fall.  When we had served the last tray of sweets and the kitchen was back to its sparkling self, there was a bit of sadness that we wouldn’t be doing this for the next five months.  Of course, there was also feeling of relief as we looked forward to the next five months of living in one of the best places on earth during its summer weather.

However, when I got home that day, with the program’s finances to be balanced and the summary to be written up for our files, for some whacky reason I felt the need to make soup.  I’m sure there’s an analyst out there that could explain this to me.  Maybe it was because I hadn’t done the soup for lunch that day (I had done the baking) and felt that the day was somehow incomplete?

Or perhaps it was because that morning I’d soaked beans thinking that they’d be part of our dinner.  Well, now dinner was going to be soup.  We had a pound of fresh Chorizo sausage from Jollity Farm, and I had recently done a similar version of this for Soup’s On in early March, so started to pull it together as I worked on the accounts.  Multi-tasking doesn’t always work when cooking, but soup is very forgiving.

This so easily becomes a vegetarian soup, just leave out the sausage, and add in ½ t of dried chilies when you’re sautéing the onions.

Enjoy it like it might be the last bowl of soup you have, until the weather changes next fall. Continue reading

Senegalese Soup

IMG_3247Just said good-bye to our guests after a fun-filled Easter weekend.  The sun is shining, it’s t-shirt weather and we have hundreds of daffodils blooming.  Perfect weather for walks, photography and sitting outside visiting.  We had a summerlike lunch on the porch yesterday, with bowls of Senegalese soup, and warm, delicious cornbread.  I think that when we eat out of doors we tend to linger longer, as we nibble and visit.  Three of our four visitors are extremely gluten intolerant, so go with the flow; we simply had a GF weekend.

I’ve made this soup many times, always with great reviews, people asking for seconds, and the recipe passed on.  The combination of apples and curry is a lovely pairing, and makes this a very pleasing soup, as well, not only is it vegetarian, but easily gluten free.

Continue reading