Hmmm a traditional Thai soup recipe? Hell to the no! This is anything but. I came up with the idea for this recipe after an experiment in making Thai chicken curry. The chilli I used for the curry was a little lacking in the heat department and as a result I ended up with a curry that had almost no heat.
It still made for a fantastic tasting dish, just not what was originally intended. The lack of heat meant that all the other herbs and spices were able to come through in full force. Which led me to thinking about what else I could use similar flavours in because they are so great together.
This is the first of those ideas to make it to the “perfected recipe” stage and it’s a butternut squash and sweet potato soup of sorts but that doesn’t really make for a snappy title so given the inspiration and appearance I’m calling it Thai Yellow Soup.
1 x onion, diced
1 x carrot, diced
2 x sticks of celery, diced
2 x cloves of garlic, finely diced
quarter of a chilli, diced
Thumb sized piece of ginger, finely diced or grated
Pinch of ground coriander
Pinch of ground cumin
1 x butternut squash, diced
2 x sweet potatoes, diced
Veg or chicken stock
1 x star anise
1 x handful of fresh coriander
1 x handful of fresh basil
1 x handful of fresh mint
Place a large saucepan over a medium high heat, once it has warmed add a little oil, just enough so that you can slow fry the onion until it is soft, then add the carrot and continue to gently fry until they start to soften.
Next you want to add the celery, garlic, chilli, ginger, ground coriander and ground cumin. stir it all together and continue to fry for about a minute this should be long enough to warm and release the fragrance of the garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin.
Add the butternut squash and the sweet potato to the pot and stir together. Add enough stock to cover all the contents. Drop in the star anise, fresh basil, coriander and mint, then stir and bring it to the boil. Simmer gently for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sweet potato and butternut squash start to break up as you stir remove the soup from the heat and blend until you have a smooth purée.
Return this to a low heat. Then taste and season. If you are happy with the consistency of the soup you can proceed to the eating phase, if not, you could thin it by stirring in boiling water or by adding milk or cream.
I like to serve this soup drizzled with a little truffle oil for added decadence and a crusty bread roll is a great accompaniment to any soup.
Steaming is my favourite way to cook green veg like Broccoli, French beans etc. as it retains so much of the nutritional value in the food, it gives a great colour to veg as well and it’s difficult to over cook food when steaming (not impossible, but you really have to try 😉 )
There are two types of steaming Atmospheric and High Pressure.
When atmospheric steaming the food is cooked by the action of the steam, so it’s important that the food is separated from the water, this can be done by using an atmospheric steamer or a steaming basket in a normal saucepan.
High pressure steaming requires specialist equipment in the form of a pressure cooker and is generally more suitable for cooking small quantities of food. Foods are cooked much faster by pressure cooking than by most other methods, so dishes can be ready sooner. Less energy is required than when boiling, atmospheric steaming or oven cooking. Since less water is necessary, the foods come to cooking temperature faster.
With all steaming it’s important to check the water level and temperature before you start and to be aware of the risk of scalding. When lids are removed there is going to be a cloud of steam rising and this can give a very bad burn so always protect yourself.
Also remember to time foods carefully when using a pressure cooker.
We’ve all heard of a music mashup where you get two or more songs and mash them together to get a new song. Some of these are great and some are truly, truly awful. The following is one of the earliest examples I know of a music mashup made decades in advance of when the term mashup became popular…
So, what the heck has this to do with food?
Well, it’s one of my favourite pop singles of all time, so I wanted to share it here and more importantly, I want to share a recipe mashup with you all.
A while back Elly spotted this recipe over on Babaduck Babbles (big thank you for sharing the recipe) and we have used it a good few times as it’s actually fairly quick and easy to make up, tastes great and is a great way of upping your veg intake.
Earlier this week I was feeling a bit adventurous and I decided to mash this recipe together with one of my own and what resulted is a dish that is every bit as tasty as either of the original recipes, easy and just as quick to make and adds even more veg.
If you follow the minty pea pasta recipe substituting the carrot and courgette spaghetti recipe (up to the end of the steaming) for the pasta, you’ll end up with this truly wonderful culinary mashup that is quite possibly the tastiest vegetarian meal I’ve ever had.
There is one minor drawback in that you really need a julienne peeler otherwise chopping the carrot and courgette becomes a major chore. Thankfully they are fairly easy to source these days and also not terribly expensive, just add one to you next Amazon order 😉
Rack of Irish pork, approx 5lbs in weight (can be cut in 2 if you prefer)
3 sticks of celery
Salt & pepper
2 packets Roma boil in the bag couscous (or substitute 250g other couscous)
Heat your oven to 180C.
Peel and cube all the veg into equal size pieces (about 1 inch). Place this in the bottom of a large roasting tin. Add 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil and toss well until fully coated.
Score the fat/skin on the pork in a criss-cross pattern. Rub the rack all over with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper, ensuring the flavouring gets evenly distributed.
Place the pork on top of the vegetables and pop in the oven for 1.5 – 2 hours (until juices run clear). The meat should rest for at least 10 mins when you take it out of the oven.
While the meat is resting, boil water in a saucepan and add the 2 bags of couscous (using boil in the bag is the least messy method), cooking for 1 minute. Pour off the water and carefully snip open the bags, pouring the couscous out into a bowl. Add the roast vegetables and any juices from the pan to the couscous and stir well.
Carve the pork into portions and serve on a bed of roast vegetable couscous.
Recently, (about a week ago) I spotted a link from @donegangardens on twitter that led to a really surprising story. Essentially Haitian farmers have been offered 60,000 seed sacks of hybrid corn and vegetable seeds by Monsanto (manufacturers of Roundup). Not only have they turned them down, they have actually vowed to burn them. Full Story here.
While at first this might seem a little ungrateful and idiotic after the recent disaster, I for one am very impressed by this. Monsanto’s GM Seeds account for 90% of the GM crops sown in the US. So? I hear you say – they developed a product that people want and are reaping the benefits.
While this is true, it doesn’t give the full picture. To see the extremes that Monsanto are willing to go to, in order to protect their monopoly it’s worth watching Food, Inc. or reading this Wikipedia article.
Now I don’t want anyone getting the impression that I’m anti GM crops, I’m not (I look forward to square fruit and veg that don’t roll off my work surfaces and bruise themselves ) in fact I believe it’s just an extension of what’s been happening in agriculture for centuries with selective breeding and cross breeding. The genetic code of many plants has been changed, possibly the best known example is the orange carrot; this is not natural, but a result of extensive breeding by the Dutch.
Where I have an issue with genetically modified crops, as we know them today, is a result of the litigiouf tactics used by Monsanto.
Throughout 2004 and 2005, Monsanto filed lawsuits against many farmers in Canada and the U.S. on the grounds of patent infringement, specifically the farmers’ sale of seed containing Monsanto’s patented genes. In some cases, farmers claimed the seed was unknowingly sown by wind carrying the seeds from neighboring crops, a claim rejected in Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser. These instances began in the mid to late 1990s, with one of the most significant cases being decided in Monsanto’s favor by the Canadian Supreme Court. By a 5-4 vote in late May 2004, that court ruled that “by cultivating a plant containing the patented gene and composed of the patented cells without license, the appellants (canola farmer Percy Schmeiser) deprived the respondents of the full enjoyment of the patent.” With this ruling, the Canadian courts followed the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision on patent issues involving plants and genes. Source
The main effect of this is that farmers are not allowed to keep seed from their crop to plant next season, which significantly raises costs for the farmers in question.
On top of all this Monsanto’s seeds are linked to a range of new superweeds that have evolved (remarkably quickly) to be resistant to Roundup and other weed killers.
A lot of us Geeky/Techie types have been known to go on about Microsoft / Google / Apple / “flavour of the week” are pure evil and are out to control the world for their own demonic ends but those guys are amateurs compared to Monsanto, who are looking to control the food chain and in the US at least they are almost there. Think about it, Monsanto provide the corn seed, which (thanks to the processing industry) gets processed into roughly 25% of all products in US Supermarket chains (Source) and while we all know supermarkets sell more than food these days, US supermarkets take that to a whole new level with a product range that exceeds what’s available in most Irish shopping centres. So how much Monsanto GM corn is in the food?
Corn (because there is now such an excess) is now used to feed the majority of US beef cattle even though cattle are not designed to live on it. Corn feeds a lot of the chickens that are reared in the US as well, both for meat and eggs. Hell, even farmed salmon in the US are now being trained to eat corn.
So if the people eat the corn and the farm animals eat the corn and are then eaten by the people, who has majority control of the food chain… The people? The government, the farmers or Monsanto?
And these guys want to “give” all this seed “free” to Haitian farmers? With their track record, I think most will forgive my scepticism, but in my opinion there just might be a very sinister ulterior motive in play and I for one both respect and admire the Haitians who are taking this stand as the heroes they truly are.