Vegan Mofo is almost over! And, contrary to my expectations, I've managed to blog nearly every day. Most of the posts had a recipe, even if it was only something simple, and all of them had photos. So I'm feeling quite proud of my effort... which is probably why I'm here talking about it, instead of writing the Seminar that I need to give on Wednesday. Admittedly, I should have written said presentation yesterday (probably should have also posted a recipe here) but I was feeling a little tired and "under the weather". I could, in retrospect, give you Matt's recipe for a gin and tonic, but I think you can all do without. Just know that there was nearly as much gin as tonic, that the gin was supplied by a good friend of mine who knows how much I love Hendricks, and that they were absolutely delicious. ;)
I also ate more food on Saturday night than a body should endure in the space of two days, but I'll get to that on another post. In the meantime, I'm sticking to whatever is warmest and easiest, and soup fits that category. This one is incredibly easy, as any good soup should be, and it's made with whatever vegetables you have around the house. At its simplest, it can include carrots, potatoes and celery; I had some pumpkin and parsnip on hand to liven it up a little. I love parsnip.
I like chunky soups, so I just mashed this one up a little with a potato masher, in order to create some thickness and vary the texture. Of course, it's perfectly appropriate to put it (carefully) into the blender and puree it to velvety-smooth, but hey, who really wants to clean their blender? Not me, that's for sure. Granted, I don't really want to clean anything. Unfortunately, this chef is also a master dishwasher... much to my dismay, they're not going to wash themselves. My solution is to make everything in one pot, which is why I always have recipes for soups, stews and chilli. (And have you ever seen me make cake or bikkies in more than one bowl? Not a chance!) So, here's to as little washing up as possible. Easy vegetable soup. You'll note I'm giving the rather vague description of "chopped" for most of this; make the pieces as delicate or chunky as you like, but adjust the cooking time accordingly.
1/4 small pumpkin (I used a small muskatcurbis), chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped
1 large parsnip, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
enough stock to barely cover (I used homemade; it was already in my fridge in a cute jar!)
2 large stems parsley, stalks included but separate, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Sautee garlic and onion in oil until transparent. Add all vegetables and allow to sautee, stirring regularly, until they begin to soften. If you fear for your onion or garlic, add the stock.
When the vegetables have softened and browned a little, add enough stock to barely cover and throw in the dried herbs. Add the parsley stems but save the leaves for adding at the last moment, otherwise they'll lose their flavour.
Simmer for about half an hour, until the vegetables are soft. Check a piece of parsnip, because it will be the last vegetable to soften sufficiently.
Mash lightly with a vegetable masher, making sure that there are still a few chunks of vegetable for texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper - if you're using commercial stock, you'll probably want to omit the salt here.
Stir through the parsley leaves before serving. Put a generous ladleful (or several, if you're a hungry vegan) in a bowl and eat it with slices of fresh baguette, or the traditional way, with margarine-spread toast soldiers.
Cutest jars, ne? :)