I'd like to be pithy but no...

When ovens go boom

When it comes to cooking some people are finesse itself, they know the nuances and the touch needed, their dough’s rise like gentle pillows in a breeze, their sauces are the exact thickness required spiked with seasoning that Van Gogh would tear the other ear off at the perfection, the precision

I rarely feel that I come close to that approach, I may have spent some years as a chef but they say you’re always learning… well I’ve learnt my approach is more akin to a bull in a china shop or perhaps more like a mad scientist attempting his first Frankenstein monster. I.e. a good idea with a bad plan to back it up, so it saw me packing up half my kitchen to relocate to my brother’s kitchen, my oven having decided that it would behave more like a truculent donkey and refuse to work.

So I’ve been toying with a riff on Leek & Potato soup for ages now, the nugget going round in my head like a hamster in a wheel. And when I saw some white sweet potatoes I knew exactly where I wanted to go, I’ll be the first to admit I am terrible with soup – I have my go-to and that’s it. For this though I wanted something lighter and more fragrant, so I thought onion and potato = Asian. Instead though the soup snowballed somehow into a sticky toffee cake, along with oyster’s Rockefeller......

My brother though always seem happy to leave me experimenting (he's the one with mad skills taking the photos), and will even eat what I create but I have a foible about it never being quite right; despite people usually being pleased (i.e. not dead). Anyway the only missing from our Asian / deep south mash-up lunch was a cool glass of wine to round it off, but the expression on my niece on trying a soup that wasn't Heinz was worth it.

I have to say that the weights and measures below are to be polite - guesstimates, to be blunt - educated hyperbole, I don't really work off strict lists of how much of this and how much of that. Because of this I'm learning to write down as I go what I'm doing so that the guesswork is more accurate. At any rate I work off a notion then build the recipe that way, refining as I go; this probably won't be the only incarnation of this soup. I'm working on a chilled variant in my head - more akin to Austrian Vichysoisse, just waiting for the hot weather to kick in to make it worthwhile!

N.B. I've put down one can of coconut milk, but I would suggest having another one to hand to thin out the soup; its too much of a puree with just the one. If you want to thin and lessen the creaminess of the coconut then some water will be fine, just be careful you don't weaken the flavour and adjust your seasoning accordingly.

Sweet Potato & Spring Onion Soup

300g Spring onion
250g White fleshed sweet potato
35g Lemongrass
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp White Pepper
50g Shallots
35g Garlic
40g Coriander
400ml Coconut milk

Peel and discard the outer layer of the spring onions, this soup wants to be as pale as possible and the outer layer may well be too tough and more green than we want. Cut as far up the stems as possible so that you have the green top halves and the delicate bottom parts, thats why I say the use of a bunch and a half of spring onions

Rough chop the garlic, shallots and the bottom halves of the spring onions and put into a heavy based saucepan with about a tbsp of oil. Now I wanted this soup to be as light as possible so here's where you can diverge, for those who dont want any oil they can just use some cooking spray and a very gentle heat to soften the aromatics.

These only need the briefest intro to the heat, just to take the edge of their harsher notes, add in the peeled and diced sweet potato and the can of coconut milk, the coriander stalks, bruise the lemongrass and put the whole thing on a simmer - this isn't a sauteed veg soup, it's more of a poach to create a delicate flavour - for about 30 minutes.

Remove and discard the lemongrass and coriander stalks (this bit can be fiddly - to speed it up tie the stalks and the lemongrass together), its too woody to blend down fully; finely chop half the remaining onion tops - this is where we want to introduce a bit of bite and colour. Season your soup and blitz to a fine consistency

This soup is sturdy enough to be a meal in itself, with a bit of salad and some good bread; to garnish it I just use the coriander leaves picked. If you wanted to be fancy with it aswell, then maybe some crispy fried shallots

I'll do a quick post at the weekend about the oyster's rockefeller, they really deserve to have some drum beating just about them!


Post a Comment



Flickr Photostream

What's Coming

Well I am something of a techno dinosaur so I will be bringing the instagram feed online soon

keep an eye out here for updates!

Twitter Updates

Meet The Author & Co.


Well I'm Stuart - the would be author of this attic space in the fens of the internet. When not trying to get this going I work as an office monkey in Nottinghamshire

However I am a trained chef - woe betide my silly decision there eh?

I would like to introduce the other part of this equation which is my daughter Esme! 3 and a half and already behaves like the boss