Velouté d'Epinards, Fancy Name For Spinach Soup

SpinachSoupR.jpg

Either the green appeals to you or it doesn't but hey I'm not judging it by its color.  I got a eww from my son, Viktor, when I placed a bowl of this soup in front of him which led me to throw in a few ravioles (mini ravioli) to tempt him.  It worked.  He polished off the bowl and I couldn't help but feel smug about it.

Green happens to be one of my favorite colors.  There's something soothing about it along with the scent of fresh cut green grass on a hot summer's day.   During long family road trips as a kid Mum was always telling us to look out the window at the greenery.  "It's good for the eyes", she would say.   Green to me is a peaceful color and when I have a bowl of this soup set in front of me there is this moment of calm and I am grateful for the nutrients that are about to replenish my soul and connect me to Mother Nature.

This is a pure soup which leaves your palate clean and keeps your body feeling snug and toasty.

Vélouté d'Epinards

INGREDIENTS//Serves 6

• 400 grams spinach, fresh
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 medium size onion
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 leek, chopped
• 2 medium size potatos, small cubes
• 2.5 cups vegetable broth
• 2 cups almond milk
• 1/4 teasoon chili powder ( I used Espelette red pepper)
• 1 sprig rosemary
• Black pepper and salt, adjust accordingly.

Toppings:

Fried or roasted chickpeas, toasted pine nuts, ravioles (I used ravioles du Dauphiné)


INSTRUCTIONS

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and then brown your onions and garlic.

Add the leek and potatoes and and cook until the leeks soften.

Add the vegetable broth and bring it all to a boil and then turn down the heat to let it simmer.  Throw in the sprig of rosemary, add the almond milk and wait until the potatoes are cooked through.

Finally add the spinach and let it cook until it starts to wilt. 

Turn off the heat and let it stand.  Take out the sprig of rosemary before whizzing up the soup.



NOTE

I enjoy this soup simply on its own but you can add ravioles, fried chickpeas, pine nuts, etc.
You can adjust consistency of the soup by adding less or more broth as well as keeping it more or less chunky by controlling the blending time.
 

Roasted Pumpkin Ginger Soup

 Ingredients: onion, cardammon seeds, ginger, Esplette red pepper, coconut oil, coconut milk, vegetable broth, roasted pumpkin

Ingredients: onion, cardammon seeds, ginger, Esplette red pepper, coconut oil, coconut milk, vegetable broth, roasted pumpkin

I didn't think I could have mishaps with my camera while taking photos of food that doesn't move, food that sits still, and no-motion food but just before the hols I broke my 50mm lens taking pictures of the the raw veggie makis —um, let's just say I had two left feet while jumping over my very still food set.   Then, today my camera somehow fell out of my hand and took a dunk into the soup before splashing everywhere and all I could recall was orange patchy blotches everywhere. 

Clumsy, clumsy me, and a very lucky, lucky me as I had a protection filter that actually did what it was meant to do, protect my lens—close call.   We are all cleaned up now.

Soups are the thing for me lately.  I'm purging myself from refined sugar, dairy products, wheat, and alcohol this month so it's just easier for me to keep a big batch on hand and heat it up whenever I want.   Besides, it's less hassle when I don't have to think about what to eat myself.  Thinking for the three others in my family is plenty enough for me.  Wouldn't you agree?

I usually have a variety of dairy replacements at home but I don't exclude it.  We like to mix it up day to day so it makes it easier for me to snatch a bottle of dairy replacement out of the fridge when I am making something that normally needs some dairy product.  These days I'm just making more of a conscious effort of what I consume than usual.   I'm taking care of myself instead of neglecting myself.  I call it my period of restoration.   This is my jump start into the new year.

RoastedPumpkinGingerSoup-2.jpg

Roasted Pumpkin Ginger Soup

INGREDIENTS//Serves 4

• 700 grams pumpkin, roasted with skin
• 1 small onion
• 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) knob ginger
• 2 cardamom seeds
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• 1/4 teasoon chili powder ( I used Espelette red pepper)
• 2 cups (500ml) vegetable broth
• 1/2 cup (100ml) coconut milk

Toppings:

Crushed sea salt, grilled sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds, goji berries




INSTRUCTIONS

In a large pot, drop your coconut oil and add the onion, ginger, and cardammon seeds. 

Cook until the onion is brown. 

Add the vegetable broth.

Cut up your roasted pumpkin with the skin into chunks and add it to the pot along with the coconut milk and the chili powder.

Bring the soup to a boil.  Then turn off the heat and let it stand before you use your hand mixer or blender to liquify it.

Use a mortar and pestle and crush some sea salt, grilled sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Sesaon with this topping accordingly. 


 

Creamy Broccoli Soup Without The Cream

 Creamy Broccoli Soup—and it's vegan.

Creamy Broccoli Soup—and it's vegan.

Slighty behind from all the holiday celebrations, nevertheless, Happy New Year!   After a fun-filled holiday in the south of France I returned to Paris only to meet "Flu"...

She was relentless and kept me homebound.  She had no plans for me to do a thing.  She wanted me all to herself.  So I obeyed and paid attention.   All I could do was to make offerings of fresh lemons and limes, slices of ginger, lots of honey, some golden powder named tumeric, and sea salt.    She wanted us to have a steam bath...many times.  I think I had 5, 6, 7, I dunno,  I was quite delirious really.  I can't say I much enjoyed bathing in my own sweat.  She finally realized that she overstayed her welcome and left me with some tidying up to do.

Back up on my two feet and I'm ready for some reboot!  I am thinking soups, soups, and more soups.  It's still brrr here and it's the best way for my family and I to get our veggie intake. 

Not being in the mood for dairy these days,  I easily replaced the cream and milky bit in this recipe with almond milk which was what I had on hand.  Give it a try.  I think you may be surprised.  You'll find a gorgeous creamy texture without the fat.  It's a light but very filling soup.   Keep healthy!   xx-M

Creamy Broccoli Soup

INGREDIENTS//Serves 4

• 1 broccoli head, cut into florets and roasted
• 4 cloves garlic, sliced, divided
• 3 tablesoon olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
• 1 carrot, chopped
• 1 celery stalk
• 1 onion, small
• 2.5 cups vegetable stock
• 1 cup almond milk


INSTRUCTIONS

In a large mixing bowl combine the broccoli, half of the garlic, olive oil, sea salt, and toss.

Pre heat the oven to 200° C ( 400° F°).

On a baking sheet spread out the broccoli and bake for 20 minutes until you see the tops get dark and toasty.

During this time, prepare the soup. 

In a medium size pot, add some coconut oil, onions, carrots, celery and cook until slightly softened.  Add your vegetable stock and bring it to a slow boil.

Add your roasted broccoli along with the almond milk and let it simmer until bubbling slightly.

Then turn off the stove and let it cool before whizzing it up in a blender or using your hand blender.

 

 

Five Veggie Soup

Walking home one day with another mother after picking up my kids from school, thoughts of dinner started to arise.  When I asked her what she was making, she told me: something very simple, vegetable soup.  I am a big fan of vegetable soups and a big fan of simplicty so I asked her how she made hers, and it's true, it is so simple and so healthy that the most complicated part was to remember the list of the five veggies.  After that, you just throw it all in a pot and toss in a bay leaf if you want.  Great thing is that you've got five different veggies in it and you can add more or less of one or another to achieve a slightly different variation in its taste, texture, and color; my kids think they are getting a different soup when they see that it's green.

FIVE VEGGIE SOUP

INGREDIENTS//Serves 4

• 3 zucchinis, chopped
• 2 carrots, chopped
• 1 leek, chopped
• 2 celery stalks, chopped
• 2 potatoes, medium size and chopped
• 1 bay leaf (optional)
• Salt (adjusted to taste)
• 3.5 cups water
INSTRUCTIONS

In a large pot, add 3.5 cups of water (or about 1 litre for a thinner soup consistency) and the potatoes. 

Bring it to a boil and then add the rest of the ingredients.

Cover the pot and simmer on low-medium heat until the vegetables soften. 

Let it cool and then pour it into a blender to liquify. 

If you need to re-heat the soup pour it back into the pot and re-heat on low heat.

NOTE

I added more carrots this particular time so the soup is more orange in color. 
To adjust the consistency of your soup, you can first add all the vegetables into the blender, and liquify it by gradually adding the amount of liquid left in your pot until you achieve the consistency you like.

 



 

Spring Watercress Soup

Welcome spring, oh how I've been waiting for you to arrive.  I'm craving spring greens like watercress but somehow the salad route is not the way I want to go.  It's still pretty gray and cold these days in Paris so I think a warm detox soup is in order.  Watercress is apparently a powerhouse veggie, high in many nutirents especially vitamin K and vitamin A—good for the bones and the eyes, and a versatile vegetable that can be steamed, eaten raw as a salad, and liquidized into soup.

Watercress Soup (Soupe au Cresson)
 

INGREDIENTS//Serves 6

• 40 grams butter
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 shallot, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 4 potatoes (small to medium), rough chop
• 1.5 litres of vegetable stock
• 2 bunches watercress, rough chop


INSTRUCTIONS

In a large saucepan, heat up your butter and then toss in the onion, shallot, and garlic.  Sauté for about a minute or two.

Add the potatoes and sauté them all together until translucent.

Add 1.5 liters of vegetable broth to the ingredients, cover, and bring it to a boil.  Then lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft.

Rinse the watercress clean.  Tear off about a half inch of the ends and rough chop the rest.

Add the watercress.  Cook for a few minutes or until the watercress has wilted.

Allow the soup to cool.  Using a hand blender, mix until smooth. 

Rewarm over low heat before serving.  Serve with a drizzle of olive oil or a dallop of crème fraîche with some toasted pine nuts.

NOTE

I never ate so much butter until I arrived in France.  It's just superior to the American one.  Simple as that.  No competition.  I use butter to sauté my alliums and potatoes in this recipe but you can choose your oil of preference.

 

Velouté de Panais

ParsnipOnionSoup.jpg

I love being reintroduced to a vegetable.  I must admit, I put parsnip on the back burner for a while.  I just got tired of roasting them or mixing them up with potatoes that I just plain 'ole forgot about 'em—out of sight, out of mind.   Most recently, I came across this delicious soup and I had to share because it's so simple to make and it's simply nutritious.  Via Brussels,  this recipe has landed on the right table.  Remember Lady Jo from the ginger biscuit recipe?  Well, this one is from another Jo (-hanna) and it's all in the family.

Velouté de Panais (Parsnip Soup)

INGREDIENTS//Serves 4

• 2 large parsnips or 4 medium size parsnips, chopped
• 1 onion, sliced
• 1 litre vegetable stock ( 1 vegetable stock cube)

INSTRUCTIONS

Wash and peel your parnsips. 

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and cook the onions for a couple of minutes before tossing in the parsnips.  The onions should be translucent and the parsnips should turn golden brown.

Add a litre of water to the parnsip and onion mix and add a vegetable stock cube.

Bring it to a boil over medium heat and then lower heat to simmer until the parsnips are tender.

Let it cool slightly.  With a slotted spoon scoop out the parsnips and the onions, and put it in the blender adding half the vegetable broth.  Purée until smooth and keep adding some vegetable broth that's left over and blend together until you get the soup consistency that you like.  The more broth you add, the thinner your soup will be.
 

NOTE

I was wondering what the soup would taste like without adding a vegetable stock cube.  So in my second batch of soup I omitted it.  The flavor of the parsnip is robust, sweet like a carrot but with a consistency of butternut squash.  It's like drinking a warm sweet nectar—too sweet for me.  The vegetable stock brought out the savoriness of the soup which was the perfect balance.
 

Heartwarming Red Split Lentil Soup

RedLentilSoup.jpg

Brrr, winter season is right around the corner and this soup fills me up and keeps me nice and toasty.  One of the best things I love about Paris is that it is full of ethnic diversities.  You can find pockets of many ethnic communities spread thoughout this city.  I love the idea of being able to dash over to the 15th arrondisement just to pick up a date syrup at a Persian grocery store.  This is where you will find a restaurant row of Persian cuisine and grocery stores a.k.a Petite Perse or Little Téhéran.  As I enter the grocery store, my sensory receptors are instantly heightened, things seem foreign and I am intrigued.  This is where I can easily pass an hour picking up every jar and package to decipher its labels, discover ingredients and wonder how these things are used.  What gives me pleasure is the feeling of having purchased my date syrup straight from Persia—minus the cost of airfare and flight time!  I appreciate every drop of syrup that comes out of the jar because I know it has traveled a long way.  Plus, it's a nice conversation piece.  "Oh, the date syrup? I bought that from  ̶P̶e̶r̶s̶i̶a̶,  umm—I mean the Persian grocers in the 15th..."

I can carry on about other goodies that I buy from Litte Africa (Chateau Rouge in the 18e), Chinatown (Ave de Choisy in the 13e, Arts et Métiers in the 3e, Belleville in the 10e, and Little Tokyo (rue St. Anne in the 1er and 2e) but it'll be a long list.  Today I was in La Chapelle (Little India in the 10e) for a baby bump portrait session.   I was early so I picked up some mangoes and red split lentils for this recipe and made a pit stop at the no-frills Indian take-out joint for its chai.  With my hands cupped around the chai, I stepped out in the cold and hovered over it.   I took in the scent of spices wafting up from my masala chai, lifting my head towards the streets in front of me and with a long exhalation felt removed from wherever it is that I come from.  It didn't matter. 
Today, I was in India.

Red Split Lentil Soup


INGREDIENTS//serves 6

• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• 3 carrots, diced
• 2 stalks celery, diced
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 bay leaf
• 1.5 teaspoons coarse salt (adapt according to taste)
• 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1.5 liters vegetable or chicken broth
• 2 cups lentil (red or yellow split lentils)
• 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
• 1/2 teaspoon curcuma (or tumeric powder)
• Bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)
• 1 wedge of lime

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium Dutch oven or heavy pot.  Then add the diced carrots, celery, onion, minced garlic and bay leaf.  Add some salt and mix.  Cover the pot and let it cook for 5 minutes.  

Uncover and add the cumin seeds, stirring it around.  Then add the tomato paste, the liter of vegetable broth and lentils.  Bring it to a boil. 

Turn down the heat to a low simmer.  Add the curry powder and curcuma.  Cover and let it simmer for about         15 minutes or until the lentils are soft. 

I usually take a cup of the soup and pour it in the blender with a small handful of fresh coriander.  Then I stir this back in with the rest of the pot.  It gives it a chunkier consistency.  Squeeze a bit of lime and garnish with fresh coriander.

NOTE

It's kind of a cross between lentil soup and lentil curry.  You can add more liquid to it for a soupier mix or less liquid for a thicker consistency.  If you opt for the thicker consistency, you can top it over some basmati rice for a more filling and curry like meal.

P.S.  I just had to throw this one in the mix...