Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


I boiled half a medium sweet potato and a carrot ...

Yes, a recipe. It's about time. This one goes back a few weeks when I was ill enough to be eating soup, but not too ill to want a little heat and taste and colour in my food.

Sweet potato and carrot soup.

While the sweet potato (orange type) and the carrot were cooking in one pot, I sweated a large chopped onion in some peanut oil in a frying pan, adding a scored clove of garlic after a few minutes. When they were done, I reserved a little cooked onion and processed the rest with the sweet potato and carrot, adding a cup of the cooking liquid (or use stock) along with a chopped raw medium-hot chilli pepper* and two cardomom pods. Adjust stock as required.

I tipped the puree into a pot and reheated the soup, adding half a cup of full-cream milk and salt and pepper. To serve, I added a spoonful of the fried onions and some thick (e.g., Greek-style) yogurt. I took it in bed with a book and the early afternoon sun streaming in the window. I could get used to this.

*The long red standard supermarket one, which is sometimes described as a cayenne pepper and is supposed to have a heat index of 5-7 out of 10. This pepper appears to have several other names and the name 'cayenne' is applied to other types of pepper, so confusion reigns. Therefore, a description remains the best way to identify it: it was 20cm long, thin, red, and had the curvature of a woman's waist.

Omitted stock now added.

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