Sunday 27 May 2012

WW Smoky beetroot soup

A couple of weekends ago, on Mother's Day, we had a busy weekend that seemed to have a common theme of beetroot running through it.  It started with a visit to the Collingwood Children's Farm where we bought the beetroot that was then taken to Geelong and back to Melbourne and ended with beetroot soup.

The farmers market at the Collingwood Children's Farm is a great place to visit with kids.  E and I were not so keen on our food choices and next time need to try other places.  Sylvia, who was given a free bread roll for looking cute, was quite happy with hers.  I was wise enough to buy some St Andrews Bakery rye bread (top photo) upon entering because I know it sells out quickly.  I bought some lovely bread at a bakery cafe near the entrance that is new since I last visited - there are all sorts of renovations going on.  (Does anyone know if that windmill by the pigstys is new?)

After buying as much food as our wallets and bags could bear, we wandered around the farm to look at the animals - pigs, cows, sheet, ducks and chooks.  Sylvia loved them - though she was a bit freaked out when she and E were surrounded by hens who were very interested in the leafy greens poking out of our bags.  Sylvia and I also enjoyed talking to a lady spinning wool about what sort of spindle would the Sleeping Beauty have pricked her finger on.

I didn't take out my camera until after we left the food stalls so I am sharing a photo of beetroot from the Preston farmers market.  Those with an eye for detail might notice it is golden beetroot.  I used regular purple beetroot in my soup but I can imagine it would have been stunning with these cheery yellow beets.  As we were staying at my parents' home in Geelong that night, we took down some of the food we bought - ciabatta, beetroots, apples, cherry tomatoes and Wensleydale cheese from Maffra.  (I also shared some of my quinces with my mum).

Mum had made scones when we arrived (lovely with apricot and passionfruit jam).  Sylvia has some of the cherry tomatoes and bread with her dinner.  I often find that beetroots hang around too long so I wrapped each beetroot in foil and baked them.  I had a couple of chopped baked beetroots stirred through the biryani that we had after getting home from seeing Dark Shadows at the cinema.  (E loved it and I was lukewarm though I enjoyed seeing Johnny Depp playing a vampire in the comedy.)

The next day we went to my niece's first communion mass.  My mum made vegie muffins and pancakes to eat after the service.  Warming food was very welcome after the deluge that hit us upon leaving the church.  (Luckily Sylvia had just been given a snuggly coat that her cousin Grace had once worn).  After brunch we didn't mind a late lunch.  It was a feast consisting of baked beetroots tossed in a little horseradish, crispy roast potatoes, amazing roast carrots, biryani, yoghurt cucumber sauce, green salad, and bread.  My dad participated in the Mother's Day spirit by doing the dishes.

I was pleased that Sylvia ate some of the beetroot both at lunchtime and when we took the leftovers home that evening.  Fortunately we had plenty because I had plans for the rest of the beetroot.  I decided to make a smoky beetroot soup with some of my tofu bacon.  The recipe I used was for a carnivorous soup.  I was curious to see how the tofu bacon would go in it.

Firstly I discovered that my experience of having tofu bacon crisp up nicely must have been because I usually use a good Scanpan non-stick frypan.  When I tried it in my heavy bottomed saucepans it either burnt the bottom or didn't crisp up.  I don't think this mattered so much for this soup but I will need to remember it in the future.

The jury is still out on if it is possible to put facon in soup.  Pros are that it adds protein as well as flavour but cons are that I am not sure about the texture.  Would it be better to just have added silken tofu and flavourings separately?  What I loved was adding some fried tofu bacon at the end.  That was exactly the sort of texture I love.

I am sending this soup to Ricki for her Wellness Weekends event

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Kinglake Farmers Market and Aus 57 Pizza and Pasta...
Two years ago: Sophie's moreish tofu - adapted
Three years ago: Preserved Lemon Stews and Intuition
Four years ago: Baked Bean Soup
Five years ago: Fast tracking Flora’s Fruity Lentils

Beetroot facon soup
Adapted from Chocolate and Ginger
serves 4-6

drizzle of olive oil
about 1 cup chopped tofu bacon (facon)
1 brown onion, chopped
1 large carrot (mine was white), peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 large potatoes (about 340g), chopped
1 tsp french lavender salt
1 tsp flaked salt
1 tsp liquid smoke
3 cups water
4 smallish beetroots, baked in foil, trimmed, skinned and chopped
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
juice of half a lemon
pepper and seasoning
extra fried tofu bacon, to serve

Cook facon gently in olive oil for about 5 minutes.  (Mine didn't crisp because not in non-stick saucepan but I am not sure that they should.)  Add onion and cook another until onion is translucent (I cooked mine for 15-20 minutes hoping that facon would crisp up but I think I needed far less time.)
Add carrot and celery and continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes until vegetables are softened.

Add potatoes, salts, liquid smoke and water.  Check taste (remembering the baked beetroot will sweeten it slightly) and then bring to the boil.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add beetroots and simmer another 15 minutes or until vegetables are falling apart when a fork goes through them.

Stir in nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice and season to taste.  Serve with some tofu bacon sprinkled on top.

On the stereo:
Just enough education to perform: Stereophonics


  1. I'm always looking for new beetroot recipes sice betroot is often our food co-op box. I will have to give this a go!

    1. Thanks K - I love beetroot when I use it but often wonder what to do with it when confronted by it

  2. what a gorgeous color of soup!! i would want to eat it just because its so pretty!! that soup is proof that you eat with your eyes first!! delicious! it sounds like you had a wonderful weekend. there's nothing better than spending time with family:) thanks for sharing!

    1. thanks Gluten free happy tummy - the colour of beetroot is one of the things I love most about it - definitely pleasing on the eye

  3. I love reading about your outings, and I am also impressed with the look of this soup. The red colour is brilliant! I would enjoy a yellow beetroot one too; I am yet to try golden beets and need to work harder at finding them.

    1. Thanks Kari - I haven't seen many golden beetroots about - though with the skin on it is hard to spot - it was only when I peeled them that they look really different

  4. Sounds like you had a fab day at the farm. Love the beetroot soup - I am a fan of beets but not their purple stain.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I don't mind the stain - it washes off soon enough and quite amuses me that it is such a strong colour

  5. This looks and sounds fantastic! I can't recall seeing a warm beetroot soup recipe before. Borscht seems to be the popular variety when it comes to beetroot and soups but I prefer my food warm like this recipe!

    I have added tofu bacon to my smoky cauliflower soup before as well as using it for a garnish. The tofu bacon looses it crispiness when you put it in the soup and has a softer texture so I also prefer adding it on top as you have done. I agree with you about cooking tofu bacon in non-stick pans, it always works better for me that way.

    1. Thanks Mel - I have made borscht before but ate it warm - E really dislikes cool soups so they don't happen often here! I think I prefer the facon on top rather than in the soup. It is best crispy though still have a little chewiness that is pleasing in the soup - but I am not sure it is worth blending it into the soup

  6. It may be getting warm here but I am apparently still craving soup with a vengeance. This looks so delicious!

    1. Thanks Joanne - soup is great at any time of year - at least you don't have to turn on the oven in hot weather

  7. what a lovely meal..

  8. A divine smoked beetroot soup! So well flavoured too!
    Looks stunning!


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