Monday, 21 September 2009

Weekend Soup and Fritters

The last week has not been my finest in the kitchen. I have baked a sponge cake that didn’t rise as it should. I baked bread that kept rising much more than it should. I baked cookies and forgot to add the oil. I made Scottish vegetable and barley soup that should have lasted a few days but went sour after a couple of days. I dropped apple puree on the floor and pikelets in the cat’s water. So you will not be surprised to hear this soup and fritters I am posting today are nice but not great.

Actually I was going to bake but circumstances kindly suggested I didn’t. We went to Andre’s coffee house for brunch on Saturday. The drinks cabinet has arrived and I sampled his mum’s excellent silverbeet and raisin pastries. Best of all was the slice of his birthday cake that E and I shared. It was a fancy creation of layers of sponge cake, custard and cream made by the Greek cake shop next door. We also had my friend Alison visiting with a tray of Sugardough pastries. The bomboloni with chocolate filling was particularly pleasing, so unfortunately it had disappeared before I took the above photo.

Rather than baking yesterday, I had a lovely bike ride through a sunny afternoon filled with people socialising on old couches on the verandah and kids playing football on the street. I had planned to go to Wholefoods but firstly had a look in the gift shop over the road where I purchased some gifts. I found a little box of Beatrix Potter cardboard blocks for Sylvia. Once I had the set of blocks I had to be restrained at Wholefoods because I was limited with what I could fit in my bag – so much smaller than the pram.

I don’t get to such ‘health food’ stores often enough these days so I came home with an exciting swag of goodies. I bought some apricot and cardamom chutney, barley flour, red quinoa, dried lima beans and purple corn flour. It is not necessarily the cheapest way to shop. When I told E what I paid for the chutney he said he expected them to come around and serve it for that price. But it is such a pleasant way to shop. So much variety and I had a friendly chat at the counter about cooking purple food.

For dinner on Saturday I made a celery soup and carrot and potato fritters. These recipes were suggested by what vegetables needed to be used. I added some cheese to the fritters because it had sat in the fridge long enough. The soup was quick but the fritters took some time for grating the vegetables and frying. After my efforts, E said he wasn’t keen on the soup and the fritters were a little greasy. I was not sure about baking or grilling the fritters but might try that in future.

Last night we had the leftovers. E had baked beans instead of soup and I grilled some vegetables to go with the fritters. E agreed that the fritters were much better the second night after sitting (cooked) in the fridge overnight. I put them in a moderate oven for 15 minutes to reheat. The recipe suggested serving with a minted yoghurt but I forgot to buy yoghurt so I served them with some chutney. I thought the soup with 1 tsp of salt and a generous half tsp of smoked paprika was a little too intense but it was more mellow the next day. Not a bad way to use up vegetables on a lazy weekend.

Carrot and Potato Fritters
From BBC Australia Good Food August 2009
Serves 4-6

  • 4 medium (500g) carrots, grated
  • 3 small (300g) potatoes, grated
  • ¾ cup plain flour
  • cup buttermilk (I used milk with a squeeze of lemon)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
  • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, grated (optional)
  • cup oil for frying

Drain water from grated vegetables. It is easiest to do this by grabbing handfuls and wringing them out like a dishcloth but you could also press them into a sieve. Mix with remaining ingredients except oil. Heat oil in a large frypan over medium heat and fry tablespoons of mixture in batches. The recipe suggests 3-4 minutes each side but I just watched til they were golden (and at times had to go and sit for a few minutes to quell my impatience). Serve with minted yoghurt or chutney.

Creamy celery soup
Serves 4

  • 1 onion
  • 6 large sticks of celery
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 1 small carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½-1 tsp salt
  • ¼-½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp mustard powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Roughly chop vegetables. Cover with water, add spices and bring to the boil. Simmer for 60 minutes. Add beans and heat. Remove bay leaf. Blend and serve.

On the stereo:
The Man in Black: the concert collection 22 greatest hits:
Johnny Cash

13 comments:

  1. oh, I have so had those weeks where everything seems a bit off. You know I used rarely make veggie fritters because of the grating, now I julienne everything so it is faster. I have been thinking about going oven fried instead on them. tell me how that turns out.

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  2. Your fritters look absolutely perfect to me!! I have a weakness for potato fritters, and yours look gorgeous! Your story of dropping pikelets in the cat's water dish made me giggle tremendously - I've lost count of how many different and strange thing's I've dropped in our unsuspecting cats' water dishes! :-) I do believe the most recent was the lid from a tin of black beans... :-)

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  3. Yum, to both the fritters and the soup! I bet the fritters were good with chutney. must make some more chutney soon!

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  4. I think the fritters look great, especially paired with all those delicious veggies! I have to make some fritters this week!

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  5. Sounds like you have been busy baking up a storm. The fritters look delicious. I love making things like this for a quick simple supper

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  6. Thanks for being so honest! We all experiment and sometimes some dishes aren't as great as we'd hope! :)

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  7. I hate weeks where everything seems to go just a little bit wrong. This soup and the fritters however look fantastic!

    And I'm very jealous of your whole foods! The closest thing we have is the organic store but it's half an hour away. I do love it when I go though, even though it is expensive. We all deserve a treat sometimes though!

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  8. Your Whole Foods buys sound awesome. I always impulse-buy while I'm there. These fritters also look great - I have some mozzarella that I need to use up pronto and these may just be the recipe.

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  9. Thanks Maybelle's mum - I thought if I put fritters on non stick baking paper and then sprayed with oil maybe they would bake

    Thanks Astra - glad I am not the only one to drop things in the cat water - I do it from time to time and she is most displeased

    thanks Jacqueline - this is the first chutney I've bought for a while as I have made quite a few chutneys lately - hope it is a good one

    Thanks Jenn - enjoy the fritters

    thanks Katie - quick easy suppers are just what I need right now

    thanks Lorraine - as long as I get some successes I can cope with a few near misses

    Thanks Vegetation - last week was a bad one - but they happen from time to time

    Thanks Joanne - I am shocking at impulse purchases - then I have to find a way to use them and justify the purchase - I wished I had left my mozzeralla out when I decided to do pizzas with the remaining pita breads!

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  10. Those fritters sound just like something I'd love to try. . . I've baked fritters before, and they usually come out quite good, though you have to be careful they don't dry out too much.

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  11. Oh dear - sorry about the mishaps :( But I'm glad you had a fun trip to the wholefoods shop. I was interested to hear that the fritters baked up well the next day - I suppose it dried them out a little?

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  12. Thanks Ricki - that is a good tip about watching for fritters drying out - will keep it in mind

    Thanks Lysy - the fritters baked the next day were better than the ones straight out of the frypan - probably because the oiliness dried up and became crisper

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  13. I was stumbling around the internet yesterday to use up some leftover veg (mainly an immense amount of carrots and potatoes) and found this recipe. I added a couple more ingredients, sweetcorn, leftover pepper.

    I used spray oil and cooked them for less time in the pan - then put them on a baking tray and baked them for about 10 minutes. They were absolutely delicious!

    So now - we can go away for the weekend - happy that the (seen better days) veg found a happy place in mine and Mr GR's stomachs instead of the bin! Thank you!

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