Chestnut Soup with Crispy Pancetta

Many years ago on a whim I purchased a rather strange cookbook by Lois Anne Rothert dedicated entirely to the various soups of rural France. Normally I don’t pitch in for something so bizarrely specialized but something about this tome’s yeomen charm captured my imagination and it’s survived many cookbook purges over the years when shelf space became scarce.

Now, three months deep into my still-UN-identified illness this book has more than earned it’s keep with such soul-satisfying and sanity-soothing soups as Country Sorrel and Potato, Oyster and Cognac stew, Lentil Potage and this deeply savoury winter soup of pureed chestnuts, aromatics and crispy pancetta. (more…)

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Tomato Gazpacho

Tomato GazpachoSummer’s run aground and once again the cold winds whistle an autumn tune. It’s time for us West coasters to throw on long pants, switch over to red wines and make plans for the weekend’s mushroom hunt. But wait! Before all that fun stuff the garden needs to be cleaned up: Herbs trimmed, squash exhumed, Peas and tomatoes plucked.

This year’s tomato plants (once again courtesy of the “Tomato People” at the farmer’s market) equalled the mighty bushes of years past in height, but the amount of fruit they yielded doubled! I ‘dunno whether its global warming, different fertilizer, or the sacrifices we offered to Demeter but we’ve got barrel’s full of heirloom Roma and cherry tomatoes in every colour you can imagine. Even if I get around to canning and pickling and eating salad through to October we’ll still have leftovers.

And so. Gazpacho. (more…)

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Potato and Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup 1When I was a kid I would run outside every New Year’s Eve just as the ball was dropping and the whole neighbourhood was shrieking “Ten! Nine! Eight…” to stare up into the sky and feel the changing of the old year into the new.

I’d stare and stare listen and wonder what made the last year different, and squidge my eyes shut and search in my guts to feel something new and grown up inside.

Every year was the same. No change… No difference between one year and the next. Not until this year… 2014 is the year everything changed! (more…)

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Portuguese-Style Kale Soup

Caldo Verde1Caldo Verde is the ubiquitous Portuguese soup made from potatoes, thinly sliced kale and maybe a bit of paprika-spiked Linguiça sausage thrown in for a little Shazam! I’d heard the name mentioned in cookbooks and on other food blogs plenty of times, but I’d never researched or attempted to cook this “green broth” everyone seemed so hot on.  Then winter hit, and I got sick, and all I had left in the garden was a single miserable little kale plant to comfort me. (more…)

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