Saturday, 12 May 2012

Leith's Carrot and Coriander Soup

Today was one of those rare days when the 'rents take Miss A out, meaning that hubs and I get some precious peace for a few hours.  Of course, I made a lot of noise about welcoming the time to catch up on all the long overdue housework that I don't get time to address (most notably the epic mountain of clean laundry that lives on the bed in the spare room) but having successfully decided to bake some gingerbread butterflies to restock the biscuit barrel, made a fruit loaf and started the soup for my tea, I killed the hour that it took the husband to get organised so only had time to give the floors a cursory mop and off we went for a walk along the Wilts and Berks Canal.

What's up doc? Uninspiring soup, that's what.
A couple of hours later, we returned home to trade wellies and mud-spattered jeans for something a little more suited to an afternoon in Tetbury and let the dogs out for a while.  The spaniel was suspiciously loitering in the corner of the kitchen near a puddle of yellowy liquid and I assumed that he'd had a little mishap (he has a dodgy tummy so sometimes hews up on the floor).  Further floor mopping meant I'd done more housework in one day than I'd done in the last month so consoled myself with insisting we went for a club sandwich at the Blue Zucchini in Tetbury.

I love that place.  It's one of those really cool restaurants-cum-coffee bars where you should go to eat brunch and read the Sunday papers.  When it's sunny, we normally sit outside on the pavement tables and watch the world go by.  In fact, last time we were there, I was on day two of my blog and wondering what the hell I'd committed myself to.  In all honesty, I really didn't expect that I'd still be writing daily by now.  Or at least if I was, I assumed it would be a quick one or two lines saying 'I liked this recipe or this recipe was crap'.  Not boring the world to tears with the trivial details of my life.

Having planned to starve all day to allow me to eat one of their gorgeous clubs, I was....erm....mightily disappointed to see that they've changed the way they serve things and you now get double the amount of chips in a little bucket on the side.  In fact, there were so many that for once, I couldn't finish mine (of course, hubs managed to help out!) and now I feel like I won't eat again for about a week.

Blue Zucchini Club Sandwich Sept '11
Blue Zucchini Club Sandwich May '12

Returning home, I went to put the cooled gingerbread into the biscuit barrel and noticed that the worktops were covered in sticky, wet liquid.  And then it hit, that the dog hadn't made the floor messy - he was cleaning up the liquid part of the soup.  In a vain attempt to be tidy, I'd poured the soup into the blender ready to liquidise later and the stock had seeped out of the jug and run everywhere.  Grrrrrr!  Another black mark against my Kenwood Prospero!

Luckily I managed to salvage the soup by just adding more stock and blending it.  But still being full from lunch, I only had a spoonful to test the seasoning was okay and it's now gone into the fridge for a meal tomorrow.

Wilts and Berks Canal
So the verdict on one spoonful of soup?  Well the recipe is from my Leith's Simple Cookery book.  When I first got the book, I flicked through and was disappointed that a book by an institution such as Leith's should use lots of pre-prepared sauces and the like in their recipes so I've barely looked at it since.  But now I'm so short on time I realised that there can be compromise.  And if some of the recipes call for a shop-bought tomato sauce, there's no reason that I can't make my own if I feel so inclined.  So you will see more Leith's inspired recipes as I crawl towards the finish line of this year.

And of course, soup isn't exactly known for being a complicated thing to make.  I picked Carrot and Coriander because I bought a giant bag of value carrots for a cake I promised one of my colleagues I'd bake this week and needed another way to use them up.  I normally only use one or two carrots a month (hubs doesn't eat veg and Miss A doesn't like carrots - yet) but had a fit of thrift and bought the 1.5kg bag for 50p as it sounded like a good deal.

The flavour was good and nice and light for springtime; although I think I overdid the herbs a bit and consequently, it tasted like a sweet chicken and coriander soup, such was the subtle flavour from the carrots.  I think I would probably make it again if I had a need to use up a massive bag of carrots, but I wouldn't go out of my way to make it if I didn't have any carrots in.

You can find the recipe on this website.

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