Corn, zucchini & tomato soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh corn tastes magical, barely cooked and cut from the cob it has an almost grassy sweet lightness that is otherwise totally lost and catapults it far, far away from possible associations with chicken feed. It only needs a minimum of dressing (butter & salt; lime & chilli; epazote) or other ingredients as company to shine like in this perfect summer salad or today’s soup. This simple dish has become an instant hit at supper time with even the most demanding of customers (small Michelin testers, only ‘slightly’ less well-mannered) and is my go-to summer soup this year.

What I originally only intended for the children is a real winner for all of us when the temperatures are high and even the thought of dinner feels like a lead weight in the stomach. Basil gives it a deserved kick and apart from salt & pepper there is no other seasoning necessary. Served lukewarm or even cold like a Gazpacho it transports well in a Thermos for a picnic or beach/pool day and can be spooned (in it’s thicker version) or sipped from cups.

Measurements or proportions are intentionally given in a lackadaisical way since the sizes of these veg can vary and I tend to use the stuff I’ve got in my veg box and anyway, who wants to fuss about a soup on a hot day?

 

More summer soups & salads: corn-tomato-basil salad; pea shooter, chickpea salad with cucumber, tomatoes & peppers, broad bean bruschette, lettuce cups with red pepper-lentil balls;

 

Corn zucchini tomato soup


Sweet corn-zucchini-tomato soup

 

2-3 ears of sweet corn
1 zucchino / courgette
3-6 tomatoes or 1/3 bottle tomato passata
chicken or vegetable stock
salt, pepper
basil

 

Cut the corn of the cob and chop all other ingredients. Place in a saucepan with a little chicken stock to taste and cook for the briefest of time, maybe 10 minutes. Season, add freshly torn basil, puree and pass through a sieve to get rid of all the corn kernel skins for a smoother soup. Serve a thicker puree/soup for small babies and a thinner version for more adult eaters at room temperature or even cooled.

 

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Spinach-ricotta gnocchi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I was going to write another quick post soon after the last one but… – who would have thought that having twins means not only, to employ the well worn but nevertheless true cliché, double the joy but also double the work, double no time & double no sleep. Lucky the people who have grandparents, aunts & uncles and the whole extended family around to alleviate the daily grind and provide small pockets of breathing space. We don’t, so it has been a hard year with fantastic experiences, precious moments coupled with absolutely back (& spirit) breaking times. I thought we had it covered. Continue reading

Teriyaki chicken (Surf Cook)

Teriyaki-Chicken--surf-cook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a wonderful guest post from my friend Jeanette, the fabulous Surf cook, creatrice of gorgeous fish recipes that always evoke the scent of sea air & the sound of the waves rolling onto the beach and thus enchanted on a regular basis force me to change whatever dinner plans I had. (I am just a tad envious of her endless supply of fresh seafood – I soo wish I could have a regular fish box delivered to our door, too.) Apart from that she’s a great fountain of food knowledge from all over the world, having extensively traveled and tasted herself through countless authentic cuisines as this Teriyaki chicken proves again. Thank you very much, Jeanette, for this and much much more. I am especially happy about the advice further down and am sending this directly to my husband: can we have this for supper on Friday, please? Continue reading

Spring onion tart with wild green garlic

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I always have spare bits of pastry dough in the freezer from when I make some for a smaller tart or when plans change and many days they have been supper savers or made light work of a quick fruit tart for dessert. If you’ll do the same you know what I am talking about: making pastry is not exactly hard labour but sometimes it seems that way. Then you are really glad to have homemade frozen short crust at your finger tips. Just remember that labelling helps is really essential when you do not want to end up with savoury filling in a sweet dough.

Spring brings us again the bounty of fresh vegetables, delicious rich eggs and cream and about time to! There is fragrant Bärlauch (wild green garlic leaves) again and wonderful fresh spring onions, both perfect for a tart to celebrate the beginning of spring. They may seem simple, almost humble ingredients, though the result is a more than impressive. Feel free to glam it up with asparagus, morels etc. which I am not averse to but please try this simple version out first, it is worth it. Continue reading

mushroom and barley ‘risotto’

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Typical April weather calls occasionally for, no, demands the food equivalent of woolly jumpers or cashmere cardigans: soups and stews to keep warm and cozy when the temperature drops suddenly from 20 to 5 degrees. My grandmother’s vegetable and barley soup usually fits that bill being nurturing and full of great memories at the same time, though I’ve had plenty of vegetable soup already in past couple of weeks (my back-up lunch when I could not be bothered). There were bags full of various mushrooms from my last market trip and so a mushroom & barley ‘risotto’ or ‘pearlotto’ was just the thing to go for.

I love the different textures of these mushrooms, especially the intensity and sylvan notes of the trompettes de mort while king oyster deliver bite as well as substance and shiitake a decidedly mushroomy taste. It doesn’t always have to be porcini although I would be the last person to prevent you from adding a few. Continue reading

Finnish rye flat breads

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Before the big event, we decided to slip in a little time away in the Alsace and I’ve put everything on the back burner. Though now it his high time for the ‘bun in the oven’ post – I have been dying to do so for months. And, there’s one more thing: let’s make it buns! See, there is a reason for the erratic posting, extreme tiredness, some serious cooking ennui (bread & cheese for supper again, darling) and questionable dishes that should never ever see the light of day again (someone else managed to render the ‘Spanish’ chicken from Food 52 absolutely inedible?). On the other hand you are suddenly super busy getting all the (strictly necessary, right) paraphernalia and wonderful things and, even if you don’t coo at the sight puppies (really?), you’ll definitely swoon over maritime striped bodies in miniature sizes, tiny embroidered shirts and the cutest red corduroy dungarees, which I just had to buy for late spring… and those adorable blue bloomers, of course. Just to clarify: I am pregnant with twin boys. Puppies would be nice, too. One thing after the other.

 

The other buns: mini rye flat breads with a slight sourdough tang. Wholemeal or stoneground rye flour and the fermented buttermilk-yeast starter dough give them a rustic appearance, masses of flavour and just a little rise. They are perfect little buns for a hearty lunch or supper and make irresistible brunch fare with some fitting (as in going on the Scandinavian route) fishy things and herby spreads Continue reading

Purple sprouting broccoli with anchovy sauce

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The beginning of a new year always seems to call for some sort of detox, cleanse or diet (or all three together) and generally imposing on us an imperative to repent for our ‘sins’ aka holiday excesses. This requires some will for martyrdom and in most cases sets one up for failure within a few days anyway. A big part of the phenomenon called French paradox is the absence of regret and the ability to savour (and indulge in) the food without fretting constantly. So, why not leave all the guilt where it belongs and just eat a few more greens? Especially when those greens are purple sprouting broccoli and come with this wonderfully assertive dipping sauce that is reminiscent of bagna cauda and gentleman’s relish. Continue reading