Veggies on the counter

Roasted Carrot Soup with Garlic and Dukkah

Posted in soups by veggies on the counter on March 2, 2014

carrot soup

I’m in a soup kick at the moment. Last week it was the butternut squash soup, the week before that the turnip-kale one and, finally, this week, the roasted carrot and garlic soup. Warm and smooth soup is hard to beat around this time of the year, particularly when you live in a part of the world that has been unlucky (and, apparently, will continue to be) with the weather for a couple of weeks now.

This soup in particular requires minimal effort to make and you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. All you have to do is to chop a few carrots (if using organic, like I did, you don’t even need to peel them), roast them until sweet and dark around the edges and blend them with a few cups of stock and water to make a perfect, velvety cream.

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The dukkah is equally easy and straight-forward to make, adding texture and an extra layer of flavour to the soup. The recipe bellow makes way more than what you’ll actually need for this particular dish, so feel free to use it in other preparations as well.  A few tried and tested ideas: as a crust to pan-fried tofu or tempeh, on top of a kale and avocado salad and blended into a roasted tomato sauce. I’m sure you can come up with more ideas on how to use it though; the possibilities are endless. Enjoy the soup and I’ll be coming back next week with another recipe for cold weather weeknight meals.  carrot soup dif. angledukkah

Roasted Carrot Soup with Garlic and Dukkah

(serves 4 to 6)

900 g / 11 medium sized carrots, coarsely chopped

1 Tablespoon olive oil

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

45 g / 1 garlic head

625 ml / 2 1/2 cups water

625 ml / 2 ½ cups low sodium vegetable stock

For the dukkah:

48 g /1/3 cup hazelnuts

80 g / ½ cup sesame seeds

2 Tablespoons coriander seeds

1 Tablespoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon salt

wedges of lemon juice, to serve

Pre heat the oven to 180 C. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Add the carrots, oil, salt and cinnamon to it.

Grab a piece of aluminium foil (15 by 15 centimetres is more than enough) and add a drizzle of olive oil over it. Place the garlic head, cut side down, over the foil and add a pinch or two of salt. Wrap the foil around the garlic head and put it in the oven, along with the carrots. Roast the vegetables for 45-60 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and golden brown.

In a pot over medium-high heat, heat the stock and the water until boiling point. Once boiling, decrease the heat to low and let it simmer until needed.

Add the carrots to the bowl of a high speed blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and add them to the bowl as well. Add the water and stock and process until smooth (you might have to do this in batches, as a regular blender doesn’t hold such amount of food and liquid all at once). Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

In the meantime, put a large skillet over medium heat and, once hot, add the hazelnuts and toast them for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Place the hazelnuts into a clean kitchen towel and rub the towel to peel off their skins. Add the sesame, coriander and cumin seeds to the same skillet and toast until the spices smell fragrant and the sesame seeds have darkened just a bit.

Add the toasted nuts, seeds and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process until you have a sand-like mixture. Serve the dukkah over the soup along with a squeeze of lemon juice. The dukkah will keep, stored in a jar, for a couple of weeks.

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Lemon Roasted Vegetables

Posted in side dishes, Uncategorized by veggies on the counter on October 4, 2013

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Hello guys! Sorry for my absence on the past few weeks. I’m getting used to a new working routine and, as a consequence, the blog has been a bit neglected (I’m slowly getting back into posting more regularly). But before we get into today’s post,  I thought we could talk, briefly, about some of the recipes I’ve been making these days –most of them from around the web. I’ve cooked Ottolenghi’s mejadra twice now, only cutting on the oil, and even my grandmother liked it (despite its spiciness). This stew has been in high rotation around here as well, because it’s getting cold and because I love beets (and you do have to like them to truly enjoy this dish). Martha Stewart’s nori rolls are also worth trying – they’re perfect for lunch boxes –, even though the recipe takes a bit of time and you might struggle wrapping up the nori (at least I did, but probably because I was in a rush when I made them). Finally, I’m not a tea person, but I’ve been drinking this one twice a day for the last two weeks (it is that good).

Now, let’s talk roasted vegetables. Around this time of the year, there’s already a great variety of roots in the markets – carrots, turnips, beets… – and they’re perfect for roasting. It might take a bit of time – although not active time – but, in the end, you’ll have a baking tray full of tender and sweet vegetables with slightly brown bits and notes of lemon. They pair incredibly well with simply cooked whole grains and/or puy lentils, for a more complete meal. I guess nothing speaks better of autumn than that.

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Lemon Roasted Vegetables

(serves 4 to 6, as a side)

380 g small carrots, halved

315 g / 3 medium sized turnips, cut into 5 -6 cm pieces

450 g / 4 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into 5-6 cm pieces

5 garlic cloves, peeled

one lemon

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons brown rice syrup 

2 sprigs lemon thyme

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Line a large rimmed baking tray with greaseproof  or parchment paper.

Zest the lemon and cut the pulp into quarters. Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl and add the lemon’s pulp and lemon thyme sprigs  to it.

In a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic cloves, lemon zest, olive oil, brown rice syrup, salt and black pepper. Smash everything together until the garlic cloves are broken down. Pour this mixture over the vegetables and mix, with your hands, to coat them evenly. Transfer the veggies to the baking tray and sprinkle a bit more salt and pepper over them.

Cover the baking tray loosely with parchment paper. Roast the vegetables, covered, for 45 minutes. After that time, roast, uncovered, for additional 15 minutes  or until golden brown.