Sunday, April 11, 2010

Liquid food!

Daylight savings has finished; the evenings are closing in and temperatures are dropping. Winter's on its way, and there's no better Winter warmer than a nice bowl of soup. Or, as some would have it, "liquid food!" (sorry, inside joke).

There's a lot to be said for soup: it's cheap and easy to make, freezes well and defrosts easily for a quick, filling meal. Most soups are pretty healthy too. That was my reasoning when I decided to make kumara soup (p86) when I found a lonely kumara hiding in the back of my cupboard.

Actually, after further perusing the recipe, I had to make a trip to the supermarket for another kumara and some chicken stock, but never mind.  It wasn't long before I had my kumara, potato and onion chopped and simmering in the stock with a solid dose of curry powder.

Once the veges were tender, I poured it all into the food processor and pureed it. At this point, the soup was looking pretty good: nice and thick, with a rich yellow colour from the curry powder. It's the next part of the recipe that I found a bit strange: pour it back into the pot, stir through a cup of milk, and reheat.

This turned my promising soup into an anaemic-looking watery slop: not too appealing really. On tasting it I found that I had achieved the difficult feat of making a soup that was both bland and over-spicy. If you drank a glass of sweetened water, then swallowed a teaspoon of curry powder, that would give you a fairly accurate impression of the flavour.

This was before the addition of salt - quantity unspecified - so I ended up adding quite a bit of salt, plus an accidental shake of pepper when I picked up the wrong shaker. That at least gave it a bit of flavour beyond the sickly sweet kumara and the overpowering curry. With this, and the garnish of chopped chives, it was edible. The most enjoyable part of the meal was actually the garlic bread I had with it, which doesn't really say much for the soup.

However, I had some of it for lunch the next day, and the flavour had definitely improved overnight. The curry had mellowed and the soup had thickened. It's still not great compared to the soups I usually make, but it's ok. It depends what you like in a soup, really. My preference is for something nice and thick, full-flavoured and smooth-textured. This one didn't really make the grade as far as I'm concerned, but there are plenty more to try yet!

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