plus a few ideas for sides
If there is anything to warm you up in cold weather it is definitely soup: a bright carrot and orange soup.
Head straight to the recipe.
These carrots were probably the last fresh bunch after the long spell of good weather. Of their provenance I cannot be certain, but I suspect they did not come from the farm around the corner. In London our food tends to travel as much as its dwellers (think of a minimum one and half hours commute to work – it’s like Athens to Nafplio). I could have been lucky and get these last beauties from a local farm but chances are that they were lovingly grown in sunny Spain or in a greenhouse in the Netherlands. I do not complain, urban dwelling does not allow for romanticism and goodness these carrots were deliciously sweet. My bright orange carrot soup was made in a jiffy too.
I have a really soft spot for quick dishes. In winter, my quick dishes translate into soups instead of salads. Their wholesomeness warms up my soul in the bitterly cold weather and their ease to prepare makes my day so much easier. Even if there is nothing Greek to a carrot soup, it is the principle of Greek and trusted cooking that remains: a handful of simple, good quality ingredients can make your dish amazing. For this you will need a bunch of carrots, a bit of cumin and vegetable stock. Easy, peasy!
Soups are also great way to enjoy vegetables and get ready for the week ahead. On my hob there is always has something bubbling away. In largish quantities, once the first bowl has passes the tasting test the rest is packed for lunches. If I manage to get a nice loaf of fresh bread then my day is complete! But there are many things you can accompany your soup with.
Apart from the simplest bread and butter or crunchy croutons I like adding an extra touch of yumminess. As I don’t use cream for my vegetable soups, I often add a little cream cheese when serving, soft and creamy xinomizithra is my favourite. Thick Greek yoghurt also works wonders. Olives are always a good staple depending on your taste, I really like lemony green cracked olives. Every now and again I make my own tapenade which is life saving when you are hungry for something (recipe coming soon).
Mum would always bring out cold cuts of meat, I often keep to it. It wasn’t prosciutto (big time favourite now) alas Greece in the 90s was more likely parizaki and a good old ham. She would also fry an egg if she saw us looking at her extremely hungry ( imagine getting back from a long day to revithada – you need a side treat too).
There are many dips that can accompany your soup too. Think of whipped feta & yoghurt, or spicy htipiti. If in a rush and blessed with a gas stove you can char a pepper or an aubergine, whisk together a bit of olive oil and balsamic and have a divine side.
But I do digress, back to the carrot and orange soup:
Carrot and orange soup
- onion 1, chopped
- 1 tbspn olive oil
- cumin seeds 1 tsp, toasted
- a bunch of carrots, 400 gr peeled and chopped
- chicken or vegetable stock fresh, made up to 500 ml
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
- Sesame seeds and/nigella seeds for garnish
- 1 orange, rind and a bit of juice.
- Heat up the olive oil and add your cumin seeds to toast. Once fragrant, add in the chopped onion and allow to sweat for a few minutes.
- Follow with the carrots and stock and bring to a simmer.
- Once the carrots are soft, add in the orange rind and juice to finish the soup.
- Whiz everything with a stick blender, season well and you are ready to eat.
- Add a spoonful of Greek yoghurt or crème fraîche to each bowl, if you like. Or simply add a few seeds of your choice and fresh herbs, I went for parsley leaves and nigella/sesame seeds.
I hope you enjoy this hardwarming carrot and orange soup in the best company!
from London with love,