Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Meatless Monday: For those who detest Cauliflower Soup

Mills Beach. Mornington.
It's cold in Melbourne, and after a long bracing walk along the beach and up the cliff, I wanted soup for lunch to help warm me up.

Cauliflower isn't my favourite vegetable, but it was cheap and in season, so I'd bought one yesterday ... because it seemed a good idea, not because I really wanted one. So, there I was walking along planning Cauliflower soup - until I got distracted by a group of animated geology students discussing rock formations with more hand waving and enthusiasm than you would have thought possible. I felt sorry for the students as I imagined them picnicking on the beach.
But maybe they ended up at the pub which would have been pleasant :-)

Cauliflower Soup

  • onion - 1 small - roughly chopped
  • garlic - 1 large clove - chopped
  • chilli - sprinkle of dried
  • potato - 1 extra large - roughly chopped
  • cauliflower - 1/4 chopped or broken into bits, including the stem
  • a shake of salt and a grind of pepper
  • stock cube or stock
  • about a teaspoon or so of Tikka Masala paste
  • a small slosh of white wine (not necessary, but the cask isn't very nice so it seems a good use for it)
  • a smidge of olive oil or butter


  • Melt butter or heat oil, add onion, garlic & chilli. Stir till sizzling then add the small slosh of wine just to stop it sticking. 
  • Add the potato and cauliflower and stir.
  • Add soup stock (or water and stock cube) and Tikka Masala paste. The stock doesn't need to cover the vegetables entirely.

The cauliflower soup cooked in about 20 minutes, I buzzed it with the wand thing and ate it with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of coriander. It was good and didn't taste strongly of cauliflower.
I've never grown coriander successfully before, but this year I have mounds of it. I've made Coriander Pesto which is nice as a dip with fresh veggies and just discovered that I've managed to dry some by leaving it in an open container of the bench. (I'd chopped it to use on something earlier in the week). The wood heater in the evening and general chill the rest of the time must have provided just the right conditions! 
I've cut a bunch, chopped it and laid it on a plate to see if I can repeat the drying process - it'd be great to have some stored for when the plants die off.

Any suggestions for additions?

*I have no idea why the formatting shows white behind some areas, that's new but I can't be fussed trying to figure it out.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Meatless Monday - Mushroom soup

Grey soup? Bleah
Mushrooms? Yech

Whoa! It's not that bad, mushrooms can do taste good and this soup is really easy to cook.

  • Garlic, of course
  • Chilli, naturally! 1 small killer one if you're game, or a shake or two of dried
  • Potatoes, 3-4 small, roughly chopped. I left the skin on - fibre is good for us
  • Onions, 2 small, again roughly chopped - peeled because onion skin doesn't taste good
  • Mushrooms, a few generous handfulls, roughly chopped. Wild would be good if you're confident you know what you're picking. Note: Please be extremely confident if you harvest wild mushrooms. People die slowly and painfully from organ failure when they get it wrong. 
  • Salt and pepper. A pinch of the first and a grind of the second. 
  • Butter, a small dollop
  • Wine, a decent slosh
  • Stock or a stock cube. Possibly a cup or two, maybe a bit more 

  • Yogurt for topping
  • Parsley or coriander to add colour


  • Melt butter (it tastes nicer than olive oil in this soup) I use salt free
  • Add onion, garlic, chilli, s & p and stir till it smells wonderful
  • Pour a glass of wine, check quality, slosh some in the pan - by this time, the smell is heavenly
  • Add potato, stir while you sample the wine again. You may need to add a bit more if it's evaporated too fast 
  • When the potato has softened a bit add the mushrooms and stir
  • Add stock to almost cover the veggies. I didn't have any fresh so used a chicken stock cube and boiling water
  • and that's pretty much it. Bring to a simmer, enjoy the wine then buzz the soup enthusiastically carefully so it doesn't splatter all over the kitchen which is a real pain to clean, especially when it dries and gets baked onto the stovetop.

Enjoy with a slice of wholegrain toast. I think this soup would be good with brown lentils. Next time I'll rinse a handful and add them at the same time as the mushrooms. Please don't use the canned variety, it's so easy to use dried ones and then you know there aren't any additives.

Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the first bowl and had to go back for seconds to get a photo ;-) See how the coriander makes it look less boring. Arty types will manage to make the yogurt look elegant - I was more interested in functionality! A sprinkle of paprika would also look (and taste) good, or for the real fire lovers, some fresh chopped chilli.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Scrumptious lunch time *sanga

*Sanga = sandwich

With a Scandinavian "open" aspect.

bread or biscuits

The avocado was a bit sad, but I ignored the icky bits.
I only had pre-sliced cheese, and the pack had been left open so it was dry and curled at the edges, but it did the job.

And of course, yummy, yeasty food in a jar (aka Vegemite)  ;-)

Of course this would be perfectly fine without the bread or biscuits, they're really only a vehicle to prevent sticky fingers.

This suggestion came from a comment on a thread on G+. Thankyou! I've been assured that tomato, vegemite and cheese is also a great sandwich filling, but I have yet to try that delectable taste sensation.

Further suggestions are welcome!

Addition: One excellent breakfast or lunch suggestion which I've adopted is:
scrambled egg
a wedge of tomato on the side
and handsomely topped with a sprig of parsley

drool ....... :-p


Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Queenly mug

And a King too.
Some of you know I'm slowly sifting through the tonnes of books, pamphlets, letters, diaries, bric-a-brac and assorted stuff left by my parents. Amongst what can only be described as "why on earth did they have that bit of kitsch - it's horrible!" are a few gems.
Our current Queen was just 11 years old when someone purchased this commemorative mug and it  found its way to Australia and ended up with me. There would have been a lot of pomp and excitement back then too, but no colour photos, internet and instant sharing like we have now.  Celebration on this scale is something the Brits do well, so it should be quite a spectacle!

I don't think I'll put it through the dishwasher ;-)

Over at traverselife I've procrastinated about sifting through my mother's diaries and unearthed a small skeleton or two.