Wednesday 8 June 2011

Smoky tomato soup and recent cooking

There has been quite a lot of cooking lately at Chez GGG.  Today I want to report on a few golden oldies that are worth repeating.  I am trying to resist the blogging urge to try new recipes - though there are many to tempt me - and return to some favourites.  I like the stories that go with food and am going to tell a few that weave their ways around what I have made lately.  I also love my new recipes and have one for a smoky tomato lentil soup at the end of the post.

Roast potatoes, roast beetroot, brussels sprouts, chickpeas and other vegetables went into a lovely rogan josh.  I made it before heading off on an interstate trip last week.  A vegetable filled curry was just what I needed before heading into the culinary wilderness of travel.  I took a photo of the sandwich that I had on the plane (above).  I ordered a vegetarian meal and got one of the worst plane meals ever - roast vegetables on gluten free bread.  Curiosity made me taste it but I didn't eat much.  Cold soggy gf bread is never ever a good idea.  Ironically the best meal of the trip were the freshly cooked chips at the airport before flying home.

Back home Little Dolly still loves Sylvia's food.  You can see her here with one of Sylvia's bracelets arranged to make her look like she is wearing superstar sunglasses.  This week I've made mock turtle slice, potato scones, split pea soup and potato bread.  Great comfort food for the cold weather.  Every time Sylvia has had a slice of mock turtle slice, Dolly must have one.

Sylvia is starting to learn that if she doesn't eat her broccoli and cauliflower there is no piece of slice after dinner.  Yet, today I spoke to a dietician about calcium in Sylvia's diet and asked if condensed milk had much calcium in it.  Only after I asked the question did I realised it sounded like I was giving her condensed milk by the spoonful rather than the occasional piece of slice with condensed milk in the topping.

On the weekend we went to Sylvia's cousin, Baby A's, first birthday celebration.  This was a quiet barbecue with family and friends before the kids birthday on the weekend.  The cheesecake birthday cake was delicious.  Erica made gf chocolate caramel slice for the gf members of the family but it was loved by all.  Lots of great food, though the kids loved the giant bag of cheezels from Costco.

I took along some Zimsterne biscuits.  I reduced the sugar to half a cup but baked them a bit long in the hope that they would go golden brown.  Sylvia loved them and I thought there were worse things she could eat than biscuits full of ground nuts.  

E and Sylvia couldn't get enough a dancing cat.  They are both suckers for anything feline.  I was just happy that it hasn't made its way into our house.  My favourite part was watching the kids open the presents.  Baby A is a bit young to get it but she managed to do the wide eyed, open mouthed look of delight at her presents.  Sylvia gave her a cuggle of Little Dolly but was very excited to see that Baby A got her own Dolly among the presents.  She keeps telling me that Baby A has a purple dolly.

Lastly I made a smoky tomato and lentil soup recently.  It was adapted from a soup that Mel made. I had a bag of hydroponic tomatoes from the Kinglake Farmers Market that needed to be used.  No doubt the good tomatoes contributed to the excellence of the soup but I must also acknowledge Mel's wisdom in adding enough lentils to thicken the soup to make it substantial without overwhelming it.

I made the soup one night prior to my friend Kathleen coming for lunch.  It was just what we needed on a cold autumn day.  A casual lunch.  Nourishing but not too distracting.  We always have lots to catch up on.  Good food is a way of letting visitors know they are welcome.  Especially helpful when Sylvia was running around, as we ate, asking when Kathleen was going.

Sylvia had eaten earlier.  But she does find it hard to concentrate on a meal without wandering off to feed dolly or "do a few things".  When we ate the soup for dinner she was treating the kitchen table as a tunnel to crawl through.  Probably just as well to take my mind off my terrible adaption of Ricki's Muffins with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Green Onions (my fault for making too many substitutions).  They were edible but too dry and didn't go with the soup.  Just not a recipe to repeat.  Unlike the soup which I intend to make again as soon as I have some extra-ripe tomatoes.

 Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: NCR Zucchini Salad and a Digression
This time two years ago: GF Apricot and Cranberry Cake
This time three years ago: Polenta Quinoa Sticks with Rhubarb Sauce
This time four years ago: Gingerbread in a cookie

Smoky tomato & lentil soup
adapted from Veganise This
Serves about 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small onions (or a leek), chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 small parsnips, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1kg fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 cups stock
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
handful of basil leaves (I didn't have these but wish I did)
1 heaped tsp stock powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 cup red lentils
pesto to serve

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot and fry onions, celery, parsnips, carrot and garlic for about 10 minutes over low heat or until softened.  Add tomatoes, stock, water, bay leaf, stock powder, paprika.  Check seasoning.  Bring to boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add red lentils and simmer another 15 minutes until lentils are soft.  Discard bay leave and blend soup until smooth (I used a hand held blender).  Stir through a spoonful or two of pesto before serving (or add as a garnish to individual servings). 

On the stereo:

Ballads: The Moody Blues


  1. Wow, sounds like a busy week in the kitchen Johanna. There has been more going on in your kitchen than mine.

  2. So glad that you enjoyed this soup Johanna! :D It would have been lovely with hydroponic tomatoes and the extra vegies. I have been getting many requests to make this again...

    Some of your golden oldies look really nice, particularly the split pea soup and rogan josh.

  3. wowza - busy week indeed! And that soup sounds perfect for the cooler weather!

  4. Hehe I have to say dancing cat is very fetching! And I'm doing a lot of cooking too. I'm using any excuse to turn on the oven or have the stove on! :P

  5. It's great that you revisited some older favorites. . . I think sometimes we forget to go back to the older recipes on the blog. Of course, the tomato soup looks good, too. And I must say those are rather fetching "bracelet-glasses" on Dolly! :)

  6. So many birthday celebrations in your family! I'm envious of all the cooking you're doing - I've barely cooked anything proper in... probably a month. Gah! Time needs to slow down!

  7. I also like making tomato soup & adding red lentils for some protein. My mother always told me it was important to add a teaspoon of sugar to bring out the flavour of the tomatoes. Try doing that next time.

  8. Just found your lovely site! I know what you mean about going back to old favourites. I'm afraid my kids will have no warm memories of favourites as I seem to try something different every day.
    I will be trying out your recipe for potato scones, though. My grandmother made them when I was a kid, but no-one got the recipe from her before she died and we have been trying to replicate them ever since. Maybe yours is the one!

  9. LOL - beware that dancing cat! The soup looks delicious - I don't eat much soup, but I would certainly go for this.

  10. That soup looks amazing! It would so good with some grilled cheese sandwiches! Not my first time here, but definitely following your blog!

    Visit me @

  11. I'm sure in my day cats didn't dance :P It sounds like Sylvia and co got a lot of fun out of it though!

    I hate plane food and have almost given up on ordering the vegetarian option - if I do and then don't end up eating it, I feel bad for requesting something that I then don't have. If only they would serve your soup on planes, we'd all be much happier...

  12. I think my boys would have been rather happy to see the dancing cat too!
    Good soup weather here.

  13. I love a good tomato soup, and with that smoky flavor, this sounds positively addictive!

    Sounds like you guys have been eating really well lately!

  14. Sure has been a lot of cookin' going on over at Chez funny:)

    That Smoky Tomato Soup sounds perfect for autumn. I'm saving it for sure.

    Thanks for sharing, Johanna! Love the "movie star" glasses on Dolly.

  15. Thanks Jacqueline - yes a good week of food - I felt very pleased with myself having home made soup and bread for lunch at work this week (unlike some week's when I don't want to tell others what I am eating)

    Thanks Mel - it is great soup for this weather - I am sure you would please your family with a repeat - I highly recommend a split pea soup - one of my great nostalgic soups

    Thanks Lisa - yes love soup in this weather (or any time actually)

    Thanks Lorraine = definitely great cooking weather - I am even getting back into some bread baking for the first time in ages

    Thanks Ricki - the glasses are great on dolly - that pic makes me smile - I am trying to revisit oldies more this year because I love them and it means a bit less of a blogging backlog

    Thanks Hannah - love the cooking - makes amends for my lack of eating out (which I see you have been excelling at) - can't have it all!

    Thanks Pene - I often add sugar to tomato sauces and soups but this one was good without it - I guess really ripe tomatoes have quite a bit of sweetness - but definitely will remember your mum's advice

    Thanks Amanda - I am trying to reclaim some of my favourite recipes - hope you try the potato scones - we make them because E loved them in Scotland but you can't buy them here (did you make a typo in your url - it is a dead link?)

    Thanks Cakelaw - Tomato is such a classic soup and with good tomatoes it makes a difference

    Thanks for visiting Sharan - love the idea of serving this with toasted cheese sandwiches

    Thanks Kari - if only airlines served good soup we would all be happier - though I omitted to mention the maple syrup chocolate almonds on the way home which were delicious - though not a meal on the evening flight home

    Thanks city happy farmgirl - nothing like a dancing toy to amuse kids

    Thanks Joanne - yes we have been eating well this week - perhaps making amends for the food last week which wasn't as impressive when I was away for work

    Thanks Louise - dolly's glasses are hilarious - and you should see when Sylvia wears them - though she is much harder to photograph than dolly as she just doesn't want to sit still

  16. That soup looks good and just what is needed on this very wet and cold summer's day here! The rogan josh sounds good too.

  17. It's so hard for me to go back and make old recipes too, even if I really enjoyed them. There are too many new recipes to try! I love lentils in soup.


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