Monday, 1 October 2012


The electricity went off this morning, fortunately I had risen early to bake ricarelli for when Sylvia comes over later with her daughter Jenny for coffee. Ricarelli out of the oven cooling I was checking email when everything went off.

It turns out neighbour's trees need to be trimmed by the electricity people and I should have been notified. I'm not good with junk mail but I do know there has been nothing from the Electricity Board so I gave them a ring. After finding my way through several key options I got to speak to a very nice man somewhere in India, he said he was very sorry and I decided that was enough for me.

I decided to use the time well so drove off to buy kindling and pony carrots. Pony carrots are in fact perfectly good but deformed carrots which sell for a fraction of the more uniform ones. On my way home I suddenly thought the sack of carrots was perhaps a bit on the large side so wondered what I could begin to make with them. Maybe it was the polite voice of the Indian chap, maybe it was the rather chilly and miserable start to the day, but Mulligatawny was what popped into my mind. So on arriving back home to a rather dark kitchen, I lit a candle and began the long but worthwhile task of dicing carrots, onions, and a potato to make my soup.

Fortunately my stove top is run on gas so having brought out my largest saucepan I began by frying a teaspoon of black mustard seeds and another of cumin seeds in a tablespoonful of oil. When they began to pop I added my finely diced carrots and onions and a couple of bay leaves. I had the heat on low and from time to time stirred the vegetables while they softened. I added a teaspoon of turmeric and a one of cayene, a thumb size piece of ginger grated on a fine grater along with 5 cloves of garlic also finely grated. I added a heaped teaspoon of tomato purée and a dozen curry leaves and gave the mixture a final good stir before adding two litres of vegetable stock. I use Marigold Vegetable Bouilon powder. At this point I popped up the garden to feed the chickens and noticed some tender leaves on my broccoli plants so I picked a few, chopped them up when back in the kitchen and added them to the pot, along with some chopped coriander leaves. I seasoned the soup with some white pepper and simmered for an hour on a low heat until the vegetables were very tender.

You will need:

750g of finely diced carrots
2 large white onions finely diced
1 large baking potato or equivalent
Handful of finely chopped cabbage leaves
1 tablespoon of oil
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of  turmeric
1 teaspoon of cayene
1 teaspoon of tomato purée
5 cloves of garlic finely grated
1 thumb size piece of ginger finely grated
2 bay leaves
A dozen curry leaves
1 tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves
2 litres of vegetable stock


I should apologise to anyone who doesn't recognise any of the above as a description of Mulligatawny, you could instead call it vegetable soup spiced with Indian spices.
You can of course use any vegetables you fancy to make this soup, It's really worth taking the time to cut fine dice though, the finished soup should be a broth, packed with little diced vegetables.

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