Sunday 18 April 2010

NCR Very Garlicky Vegetable Soup

Sylvia has not been sleeping over the last few evenings. It is most exhausting. Fortunately we can take turns with her. It seems a great achievement that we have still managed to watch an old black and white horror movie, write a new song (E) and make soup (me). I was glad of the pot of soup when I got home last night after an impromptu visit to my folks in Geelong yesterday for John's birthday (my sister Francesca's partner).

The soup was one inspired by Jacqueline and Lisa's No Croutons Required event. This month the theme is the allium family (ie onions, leeks, garlic, shallots etc) in a soup or salad. As soon as I saw the theme, I remembered a garlicky soup that a housemate once made from one of my cookbooks. I think it was the Very Garlicky Soup in Richard Cawley's Green Feasts. So I made it on the weekend.

It is a most unusual soup. Though it has lots of vegetables in it, it is quite unlike my usual efforts. It has 16 cloves of garlic, blanched three times and cooked whole in the soup. Sounds intense but they add sweet mellow flavour rather than bite. The soup also has onions and leeks so it is full of allium. It is also lacking in colour. I chose to use yellow tomatoes because red tomatoes seemed too garish for this soup. Even the carrots seemed a little colourful and I wonder about using parsnips next time for a total whitewash.

It seems amazing that I managed to chop all those vegetables while Sylvia was so unsettled but it did mean we didn't need to rush home from Geelong too early the next day. Not that we were starving. We ate well at my mum and dad's. The roast dinner was full of interesting vegetables like beetroot. Even Sylvia loved it.

My mum and Fran did an excellent job with dessert. It was full of the decadence suitable for a birthday celebration (and the celiacs didn't miss out). We had chocolate pudding (with a GF version), sacher torte (made with soy flour so it was GF too), a GF flourless chocolate cake, macaroons and a sponge cake.

I then dropped in at my friend Kathleen's on the way home. Sylvia was fascinated by a bowl of citrus fruit. I was amused by Kathleen's son asking for a "tandarine" - I am not sure if he was after a tangello or a mandarine. Then on the way home I was saw one of the most intriguing car number plates that I have seen for some time: YNOTME. Clever or provocative?

Once we got home, I was able to heat the soup and serve it quickly with some parmesan cheese and parsley. It was very good with some crusty sourdough bread. We were able to eat before watching Matt Smith's debut in Dr Who. It wasn't pretty watching him eating eating fishfingers dipped in custard. However, Matt Smith does an excellent job in filling the large hole left by David Tennant.

We had leftover soup for dinner after I got home from work tonight. It was excellent with a spoonful of pesto. So good I didn't even need bread. I am not sure I would make this soup too often but I would make it again. And I recommend it to others, not just for the taste but for a new perspective on garlic.

Very Garlicky Vegetable Soup

adapted from Richard Cawley
serves 4-6
  • 16 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large leeks, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 large celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 medium swede (about 250-300g), peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 250g cabbage, chopped (I used about ⅛ a large savoy cabbage)
  • 175 g tomatoes (I used yellow cherry tomatoes), chopped
  • 400g tin of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 500ml vegetable stock (mine was quite salty)
  • 750ml water
  • pesto to serve (optional)
  • parmesan cheese and parsley to serve (optional)
Place garlic cloves in a small saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Drain garlic cloves. Repeat two times.

Heat oil in a large stockpot and fry onion in it for about 5 minutes or til softening and starting to become golden. Add remaining vegetables and cook about 5 minutes. (If like me, you are slowly chopping the vegetables as you go, you can turn off the heat and add in the vegetables as they are chopped. Once all are chopped, turn the heat back on and when warm stir for about minutes.)

Add cannellini beans, garlic cloves, stock and water. Check and adjust seasoning according to taste (the recipe called for 1.7 litres of stock but I thought 500ml was enough.) Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. If you are going to serve straight away simmer another 10 minutes or til the vegetables are soft and cooked. If you are going to eat it later, turn off the heat and cool in the pot. Reheat when ready to eat. Serve with parmesan cheese and parsley or pesto.

On the Stereo:
Red Perspective: Red House Painters


  1. I do hope Sylvia settles down again soon, for all your sakes! I'm sure she will before long.

    Must admit, I couldn't bring myself to watch the new Dr. Who. My love for David Tennant is strong. (I know I'll succumb eventually though!)

    Regarding this soup... I'd have to guess you're not an Edward Cullen fan? ;)

  2. Sounds like an intriguing kind of soup - must be so healthy, too, with all that garlic in. Mmm, must try, I reckon.

  3. Ah shucks - you've reminded me of the NCR challenge. I wonder if I'll be able to get something in by tomorrow evening.

    I can just imagine the sweetness of the garlic cloves. Its so amazing how something so pungent can taste so sweet.

    I wasn't convinced with David Tennant filling Christopher Eccleston shoes, but he did a remarkable job. So had no doubt that Matt would be a good Dr. I remember all that talk of who was going to be the next Dr - rumour was it was going to be a woman, then possibly one of the U.K fine Black actors, but it was not so.

  4. Ooh, I bought some leeks with intentions to make something for NCR now I'm afraid I won't have time. I will just have to make this instead because my goodness it looks good!

  5. Johanna, once again I find myself eagerly planning to fix one of your gorgeous recipes!! When is your cookbook being printed? :-) Seriously, I think your recipes are exactly what the next new veg cookbook needs!

    I'm especially excited about this recipe because Zach is obsessed with all things allium, especially garlic - I know he'll adore this soup, and it'll make a lovely surprise for him! Thank you so much! :-)

  6. I can really see how this works. I find caramelised garlic just so different from raw garlic and so lovely I could probably pop cloves straight into my mouth! :D

  7. Thanks Hannah - sylvia slept better last night :-) I already have a soft spot for Matt Smith because I really enjoyed Party Animals - give him a go - and yes I think the soup would keep vampires from the door - even the nice ones!

    Thanks A Forkful - yes try it - it seemed quite healthy with all those veg ad garlic

    Thanks Mangocheeks - I wasn't such a fan of christopher eccleston but I agree the BBC isn't really up for a challenge with a new Dr Who - they really just went for the yoof (youth) market

    Thanks Sarah - the deadline just comes around too quickly doesn't it

    Thanks Astra - no cookbooks plans but I hope to keep the recipes coming (after all most of my recipes are adapted from elsewhere) - hope zach loves it too

  8. Thanks Lorraine - the garlic really can be eaten by the clove in this recipe

  9. Looks lush Johanna and I love all the parmesan and parsley on top, it makes my mouth water just looking at it :)

  10. What a delicious sounding soup. Hope Sylvia settles down soon so you can get some serious shut eye.

  11. Thanks Jac - parmesan and parsley is a favourite soup 'garnish' esp when the soup is lacking a bit in colour or flavour

    Thanks Cakelaw - sylvia is having some better nights this week - thankfully


Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)