Tag Archives: soup

Family Recipes: Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese Dumplings

Mom's Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

I’ve been living in the UK for over seven years now. Along the way I’ve become a British citizenship, I’ve acquired a wonderful dog, and I’ve accumulated a lot of “stuff”. But I still regard Chicago as my “home”. It’s where I grew up and almost all of my family still live there, as do many dear friends. And even after seven years, I still get a little “homesick” sometimes.

Food is a natural way to go get my fix of virtual family time. I am very grateful to my mother who put together a family recipe book, a collection of recipes spanning three generations and nine households. I turn to this book often, with the most stained pages being Auntie Jo’s Sunshine Cake (now legendary across the globe), Aunt Sue’s Cranberry Chutney (a must-have at Christmas, amazing with Stilton), my sister’s Ranch Dressing (Clausen dill pickle juice is the key) and Grandma’s famous Oriental Coleslaw (especially popular with my friend, Henry).

SeasonedWithLove

The recent onset of cooler weather, paired with the end of tomato season, compelled me to turn to another page of the family recipe book: Mom’s Tomato Soup & Dumplings. This is a classic and probably shares the Gold with Matzo Ball Soup for Ultimate Comfort Soups by Mom. In fact, it’s worth saying that my mom is a soup genius – her Shorabat Addas and Green Lentil Soup are two favorites that I make frequently. (When is your book on SOUP coming out, Mom?)

Mom's Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

Back in the day, we used tomato soup from the Campbell’s can (jazzed up with fresh tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and grated cheese), but now that I grow my own tomatoes (and am wary of the salt and preservatives in tinned food), I make my own roasted tomato soup that is silky smooth without added milk, cream or cheese. The cheese element comes from the dumplings, which couldn’t be easier: mix up grated cheese, eggs and breadcrumbs then spoon in bits of the batter. The dumplings cook right in the soup.

Mom's Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

In this case I was prompted to use Davidstow Mature Cheddar in my dumplings thanks to my latest blog post on Great British Chefs featuring this very soup. You could use whatever cheese you have on hand – it might be fun playing with feta, parmesan, gruyere or a combination of cheeses. You could also add fresh or dried herbs. Feel free to use whatever bread you wish for the breadcrumbs – I tend to go for wholemeal bread crumbs but white works just as well and sourdough is absolutely dreamy.

Mom's Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

The soup is vegan without the dumplings. I haven’t tried vegan dumplings yet but there are a few recipes around, including these chickpea flour dumplings from Edible Mosaic and these rosemary dumplings from Post Punk Kitchen. In the non-vegan version, the eggs help puff up the dumplings making them nice and light. Without the eggs, the dumplings would seem very stodgy to me, so if anyone has some good suggestions for a vegan alternative, I’d love to hear them!

Mom's Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese Dumplings

Serves 4

For the tomato soup:

  • 1kg ripe tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Small bunch of basil, separated into leaves and stalks*
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • grated cheddar (optional garnish)

For the dumplings

  • 2 slices bread, crumbled (or about 1/2 cup bread crumbs)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F and cut the tomatoes in half. Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up in a baking dish. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about an hour, until the tomatoes are totally soft and beginning to char around the edges.
  2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot over a medium heat and add the onion, carrot and garlic. Cook for about 7 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, chop the basil stalks, and then add to the pan and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the roasted tomatoes (including any juices that seeped out) to the pan along with the vegetable stock. Stir and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover and leave to simmer for about 10-20 minutes (until the carrots are very soft).
  4. Purée the soup in a blender (I used a Froothie Optimum 9400 Blender which works a dream for this purpose) then return to the pot and gently reheat.
  5. Meanwhile, make the dumplings by mixing together all of the ingredients – you should have a moist doughy mix that’s easy to shape into small balls (about the size of a teaspoon).
  6. Drop the balls into the hot soup and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.
  7. Ladle the soup and dumplings into bowls and garnish with grated cheddar cheese and fresh basil leaves before serving.

* The impressive bunch of basil pictured in the top photo was grown by The Organic Farm Shop, who also supplied a few extra tomatoes to go in my soup. I also used their eggs for the dumplings and can only imagine that their award-winning homemade cheeses would have lifted this recipe even further. Their ingredients are top of class and the shop itself is a treasure, with a vegetarian cafe and Indian textile shop to boot. I highly recommend giving them a visit if you’re ever in the Cirencester area!

Vegan Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Vegan "cream" of cauliflower soup     Lunch today & on the menu for my #detox workshop this Tues at @Demuths!

Last night I hosted my New Year Reboot cooking workshop at Demuths Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath. The whole “reboot” concept is all about giving the body a chance to rest and recover after a season of excess, and get back to (or get started with) feeling awesome all of the time. The aim of the class was to provide strategies and recipes to help people design their own “reboot” according to their own personal tastes.

One of the strategies involves eating foods that are vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free. Another strategy involves eating a lot of soup (easy to digest, nutrient rich meals – kinda like smoothies)!

One of the soups I demonstrated was this “Cream” of Cauilflower soup. Blended cashews give this soup its velvety creamy texture – no dairy required! And based on the mmm’s of the students, I’d say this was one of the top recipes of the evening.

5.0 from 2 reviews

Vegan Cream of Cauliflower Soup
 

You don’t need milk, cream or potato to make soups creamy – use cashews instead. You also get the protein and healthy fat bonus that comes from using cashews. Plus, adding cashews or any nut to your soup will ultimately make them more satisfying, keeping you fuller for longer and keep you from needing to snack later in the day. You can use this same recipe to make all kinds of vegan creamy soups – broccoli and celery are great here.
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 liter of water or stock
  • a large handful of raw cashews
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
  1. Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottom pan. Cook the onion on a medium heat until it is soft, without letting it brown.
  2. Add the cauliflower and 125ml water. Raise the heat slightly, cover and let the cauliflower cook for 15-18 minutes, until tender.
  3. Working in batches, puree the cooked cauliflower with the stock and the cashews, then return to the pot and heat thoroughly.
  4. Serve garnished with sauteed mushrooms, kale chips or whatever tasty garnish you can think of!

Indian-Style Pumpkin Soup

Indian style pumpkin soup

I’ve had a jar of Danival Organic Puree Pumpkin languishing in the back of my cupboard (bottom shelf) for years. I bought two jars of the stuff to make pumpkin pie and a failed experiment with the first jar led me to conclude that was NOT the pumpkin pie puree I was looking for (but really, is there any substitute for Libbys?).

But with this recent detox and the sudden inclusion of lots of soup in my life, I decided to unleash the pumpkin in hopes of a quick lunch soup fix. The fix was a success, using a recipe from the ever reliable How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. It’s my most loved and most used cookbook and once again it delivered the goods. His recipe uses fresh pumpkin but here’s how I did it using pumpkin puree.

Indian-Style Pumpkin Soup
Recipe type: Soup
 

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder (I made my own using Mark Bittman’s fragrant curry powder recipe)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 500g jarred or canned pumpkin puree (or 3lbs fresh winter squash like butternut or acorn, peeled and chopped)
  • vegetable stock or water
  • salt

Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onion and cook slowly until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add the curry powder, garlic and ginger and fry for another minute or so until fragrant.
  3. If using pureed pumpkin, remove the pot from the heat. Add a little water and scrape up any spices that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. (If using fresh pumpkin, add the pumpkin with enough water or stock to cover and simmer until the pumpkin is soft.)
  4. Put the onion mixture into a blender with the pumpkin and enough water or stock to achieve a desirable soup consistency.
  5. Put the blender contents back into the pot and on the heat. Let it heat thoroughly. Taste, season and serve.

 

Clean Detox Day 15: Cream of all the soups!

Clean detox day 15

Breakfast: A variation on the black and blue smoothie, made with blackberries, mango, avocado, kale, flax seeds plus a dash of cinnamon and a couple drops of orange flower water.

Lunch: Besan cheelas (Indian chickpea flour pancakes) with Indian cabbage salad and coconut coriander chutney. Not sure why I took so long to make these pancakes – they’re quick, easy and awesomely delicious, plus that have that eat-with-your hands delight that makes them all the more satisfying. You can also make them non-Indian style (the Italian version is called farinata). I love to wrap the cabbage salad inside the besan cheela and eat with chutney, so I made some coconut coriander chutney following this recipe but it was a little mealy (the recipe uses desiccated/dried coconut). Maybe I should have soaked the coconut first? Or maybe I need to face a real coconut and bust out the hammer.

Clean detox day 15

Dinner: If I’ve learned one thing on my detox, it’s that if you saute any kind of vegetable with onions and garlic, then puree it with cashews and veggie stock, you get the most amazing silky smooth soup that’s basically a vegan version of all those “Cream of” style soups that I have such fond memories of. Today’s was a “cream” of celery soup inspired by my friend Sharon, garnished with that crispy kale I’m so into at the moment.

Clean detox day 15

I’m now scheming all kinds of other creamy soups I can make… cream of cauliflower… cream of broccoli… cream of asparagus! And let’s just give a shout out to the whole vegan protein bonus that the cashews bring to the soup. I reckon other nuts will be worth trying… almonds, brazil nuts… pistachios!

When tomatoes and peppers are back in my life, I’m thinking an almond version of the classic African peanut soup will be worth a try. Next week!

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Clean Detox Day 13: Greens, beans and more crispy kale

Clean detox day 13

Breakfast: “Green smoothie” with mango, peach, kale, avocado, fresh ginger & mint.

Lunch: Black beans, quinoa, mexican slaw, avocado. Could have used some salsa!

Dinner: Pureed carrot and chickpea soup with crispy kale and tahini sauce.

I really feel like I’m on a roll with the soups and smoothies. Also, I could probably eat crispy “kale chips” every day.

Clean detox day 13

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Roasted Pepper “Dip” with Tomatoes and Cumin

Moje de Pimientos Asados con Tomato y Comino

Today I’m catching up on some highlights from my summer road trip through France and Spain. And since it seems I’ve been talking a lot about chilled summer soup revelations lately, here is a story about such a revelation from mountain high!

I was nearing the end of my summer road trip through France and Spain. I had just bid my travel buddies farewell at the airport in Bilbao and had four nights before I needed to catch my Brittany Ferry in Santander and reluctantly head back to Britain and life as usual.

I had already set my sights on the Picos de Europa, part of the Cantabrian mountains, about 20 km inland and conveniently just a couple hours drive from the Santander ferry port.

Picos de Europa

The mountains called to me, not only for its proximity to my exit point, but for its impressive massifs magically packed together in a relatively small space. People rave about the wonder and awe of the Picos. And I liked the idea of hiding away in the mountains for a few days before having to face the real world again.

I chose as my base Posada de Tollo, a mountain house about 10 minutes’ drive from Potes, the main market town in the Picos. I chose it for being unabashedly dog friendly and for reviews that its food was “scrummy”. But the place had a lot more going for it than that.

TOLLO 1

My first impressions were of the clean and modern entry room with Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin posters on the walls, Leonard Cohen playing on the radio, and Berta. Berta had a nose ring and wore black from head to toe except for a few dramatic grey streaks in her long hair and a pair of ginormous slippers, designed in the style of ogre feet (with painted toenails and all!).

After checking in I said I’d like to have dinner at the posada in the evening, and Berta got all excited because this was the first year she was cooking with vegetables she’d grown in her garden. She also seemed to like the challenge of cooking for a vegetarian.

I spent the afternoon walking to and from Potes via the Picos’ wonderful system of hiking trails (a whole other story in itself) and was ravenous by the time I got back. So when Berta brought out a huge basket of bread and a giant bowl of something red and seemingly delicious, I became almost giddy. (Forgive the lousy photo, but I was working with my iPhone and the rapidly fading light of Spain at sunset. Life could be worse.)

Moje de Pimientos Asados con Tomato y Comino

Berta explained that the dish was a “soup” traditional to Extremadura, a community in western Spain where her family is from. The soup is made with roasted red peppers, fresh tomatoes and – what was that spice I tasted? Berta called it “comino”, and because my Spanish is pathetic, I had to use powers of deduction to realise it was cumin! Not toasted, she said, just ground to a paste with garlic and salt, then mixed in with the tomato and red pepper and a generous amount of “good” (Berta stressed this word!) olive oil.

The dish is called “Moje de Pimientos Asados Con Tomate y Comino”, which translates to “Roasted Red Pepper Dip with Tomato and Cumin”. And being a “dip”, you’re meant to sop up the “soup” with lots of bread.

This vegetarian soup was as magical as the Picos. Of course, part of the thrill was having a home cooked meal made by a recipe that had been passed down through the generations as it were. But also, it was just really really good. Pure, simple, seasonal ingredients: a true case of the sum being more than the parts! And the cumin – a real dash of genius, giving the soup just a little hint of smoky earthiness.

terraza_2_b

And the final lesson: life is too short for lesser quality olive oil. Use the good stuff, and use it generously!

Roasted Pepper “Dip” with Tomatoes and Cumin
 

Also known as Moje de Pimientos Asados Con Tomate y Comino.
Ingredients
  • 4 red peppers
  • 3-4 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • olive oil
  • salt

Instructions
  1. Roast the peppers in the oven or over an open flame until black all over. Remove into a sealed container. Once cool, peel the peppers, de-stem and de-seed them, then slice into strips.
  2. In a mortar and pestle, pound together the garlic, cumin and a good pinch of salt until it forms a paste.
  3. Dice the tomatoes into big chunks (you can peel them if you’d like by blanching them in boiling water).
  4. Combine everything together with a good glug of quality olive oil. Let sit for an hour or so to let the flavours marinade. If it’s not “soupy” enough for your taste, add a bit of water (and more olive oil if you’d like) to the desired consistency.
  5. Serve cold or at room temperature with bread.

 

Picos de Europa

I went to Spain with Brittany Ferries (0871 244 1400; www.brittany-ferries.co.uk), which has sailings from Portsmouth to Santander. It’s about a two hour drive from the Santander ferry port to Potes, the main market town in the Picos de Europa.

I stayed at Posada de Tollo (Mayor, 13, 39575 Tollo, Spain; www.posadadetollo.es), about 10 minutes’ drive from Potes. It’s a mountain house with friendly owners, friendly dogs, home-cooked meals and incredible views of mountain summits and villages.

Clean Detox Day 12: More velvet in soup form

Clean detox day 12

Breakfast: Green smoothie made with 1 pear, 1/2 peach, 1/2 avocado (~60g), 1 date, 1cm cube of ginger, mint, ice and enough rice milk to blend.

Lunch: Everything salad made with leftover bean, fennel and tuna salad from day 10 to which I added lentils, carrots, radishes, lettuce, cucumber and avocado. It wasn’t hugely inspired but it was quick and tasty.

Dinner: Another revelation involving soup and courgettes. This time, pureed courgette and cashew soup. The soup itself was VERY simple – onion, garlic, celery, veggie stock and courgettes (peeled to make the soup so white and velvety) plus a small handful of toasted cashews. It all got blitzed in the vitamix into a silky smooth puree. The cashews added that extra hint of richness you might otherwise get from cream.  A recent conversation with fellow detoxer and Rave Coffee friend inspired me to top the soup with crispy kale chips, now officially known as The Best Soup Garnish Ever. I was going to herb up this soup with dill and parsley but when it came to tasting, I found that I liked its simplicity, and I think the kale would have overpowered the herbs anyway.

Clean detox day 12

I’m trying to go gung-ho on soups-for-dinner for the rest of the detox, as stipulated in the Clean Program Manual. But even with the cashews, I’m finding it a challenge to not go to bed hungry, and extra challenging to go to the gym in the morning. I have even woken up in the middle of the night, ravenous! Occasionally I cave, which basically voids the whole 12-hour without food window, but there could be worse detox transgressions.

I feel I need more protein, most likely, and pureed vegetable matter just doesn’t cut it. So more pureed pulses and nuts, I think. I may also bust out the juicer attachment of my food processor and make myself a juice to have with dinner. Sounds messy, but also really nice. I may never drink wine again (as if).

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Clean Detox Day 11: A new use for tahini

Clean detox day 11

Breakfast: Black and blue avocado smoothie with mint and orange flower water (boom!).

Lunch: Grilled salmon and chargrilled cauliflower and carrot salad with dill and capers (if you’ve never grilled carrots before, you must – it’s a special kind of awesome).

Dinner: An amazing new soup! Made with onion, garlic, carrots, chickpeas, coriander and cumin seeds. This was like eating velvet. I garnished it with a couple steamed broccoli florets (inspired by this chickpea soup), lemon and tahini sauce, za’atar and fresh parsley. Really good and very satisfying. I basically used smitten kitchen’s recipe for carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas but omitted the crisped chickpeas and instead subbed about half the carrots in the soup with cooked chickpeas. It worked and I’m loving this tahini thing as soup drizzle.

Clean detox day 11

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Clean Detox Day 9: Uses for refried black beans

Clean detox day 9

Breakfast: A very serious smoothie inspired by Laura made with cucumber, spinach, avocado, carrots, blueberries, blackberries, nectarine, dates, lemon and ginger. It worked!

Clean detox day 9

Lunch: What I call “pretend tacos”, and my use for day 7 leftovers – refried black beans and mango salsa with avocado served in little gem lettuce taco “shells”. On the side, more leftovers: butternut squash and cabbage salad with lime, mint and cilantro.

Dinner: Black bean soup made very lazily by blending refried black beans with veggie stock. It was actually awesome and I’d do it again, maybe adding carrots to the mix. To garnish: the rest of the leftover butternut squash, white onion and avocado.

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Clean Detox Day 8: Orange flower water, hake and beetroot gazpacho

Clean Detox Day 8

Breakfast: Black and blue berry breakfast smoothie with avocado, mint, dates and a dash of orange flower water (I highly recommend that dash – inspired by Persepolis!)

Lunch: Pub lunch in the sun with my neighbours at The Old Lodge on Minchinhampton Common. I had hake and steamed vegetables with pesto. Fizzy water to drink (detox success: I resisted my neighbour’s Prosecco temptation).

Dinner: The beetroot gazpacho revelation. Details and recipe in this post: Beetroot Gazpacho Soup.

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