The soup I made came from the latest edition of the Vegetarian Times. All too often I browse through my VT magazine, pick the recipes I must make some day and then forget them too quickly. It is one reason I started blogging, to capture some of the recipes that pass fleetingly through my head.
I have to thank fellow bloggers, Jacqueline and Lisa, for inspiring me to make this carrot soup with fennel pesto. They hold the No Croutons Required (NCR) blog event that challenges other to make a vegetarian soup or salad each month. The theme for August is carrots. I use carrots in my cooking all the time but I teeter between loving and disliking carrots when they are all alone. I am also a little fennel-shy. But I know what is good for me and I love participating in NCR.
Today started off inauspiciously with us sleeping in and arriving late for Sylvia’s swimming lesson – I even managed to put her underwater before discovering I hadn’t taken one of her socks off. The day could only get better. And it did.
Sylvia had a lovely time in the pool after her lesson. She can now stand in the lowest end of the middle pool. We had a great falafel from Half Moon Café for lunch. Then I managed to hand wash some jumpers and bake a sour cream banana cake that had both been on the top of my to-do list for days. While things were going well I made some frugal freezer stock. I needed it for the soup. I even made some rhubarb and strawberry crumble for dessert.
It wasn’t smooth sailing all the way. I decided to use an apple, cranberry and lime juice instead of white wine because we don’t drink a lot of white wine in winter. The juice is delicious but it is a bit sweet for the soup. Fortunately the flavours of the pesto were strong enough to counter the sweetness. But next time I will use wine. I also didn’t have quite enough lemon rind and decided to add parsnips and sour cream.
At the end of the day, the soup went down well with a chunk of Turkish bread. The pesto took my soup from ordinary to amazingly complex. The fennel was just enough to make an impact but not dominate. Its liquorice flavours melded well with the other strong flavours. I would definitely make the soup again, if the inspiration came my way.
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: PPN Creamy Spinach Walnut Pasta
This time three years ago: Rumbledethumps: death to the red hag
Carrot soup with fennel pesto
adapted from Vegetarian Times September 2010
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large leek, chopped
- 4 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 800g (about 8 medium large) carrots, scrubbed and chopped
- 2 small parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 750g vegetable stock
- 1 cup white wine (I used apple cranberry lime juice and a splosh of whiskey)
- 1-2 cups water
- sour cream, to serve (optional)
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp pinenuts
- 1 tbsp fennel fronds or fresh dill, finely chopped (I used dill)
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- ½ tsp salt
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
Heat oil in a stockpot and gently fry leek and shallots for about 5 minutes (or if you are like me, fry them as they are prepared and then set about preparing carrots and parsnips). Add garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Add carrots, parsnips, stock, wine and 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes. Puree and add another cup of water if required. Serve with sour cream and fennel pesto.
To make fennel pesto: dry fry the fennel seeds for about 4 minutes. Grind in a mortar and pestle. Dry fry the pine nuts till lightly fried. Add pinenuts to mortar and pestle with dill, garlic and salt. Mush into a paste. Stir in 1 tbsp of olive oil and add more oil if required.
On the stereo:
Children of Lir: Loudest whisper