burnt toast

Tag: saffron

Saffron and Kale Soup with Chipotle Buttered Toast

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Almost four weeks ago, I got on a plane with two very heavy suitcases, two packets of tissues and a heart full of excitement. After six absolutely wonderful  years in Australia, I returned to Switzerland, my other home. It’s great to be back. This time round it’s a little easier getting used to my “new” home, because everything is familiar. Yet there are so many subtle differences I’m having to accustom myself to, such as not adding a “how are you?” after the initial “hello” when speaking to a stranger, having to look up when waiting for a green light when crossing the street because it doesn’t make a clicking noise when it’s okay to go and remembering that most of the shops are definitely not open on Sundays. And at the same time I can’t help but miss the smell of eucalyptus, the friendly cats everywhere, the affordable restaurant food, the lovely friends left behind. Sigh.

Before I get all mopey and nostalgic, let me share with you a recipe I used to make about once a week back in the Melbourne era. It’s not really a recipe per se, more an assembly of ingredients, one I’d fall back onto when my five a day count was near non-existent, when I felt that I needed to give myself and my suffering immune system some pampering. It’s a simple vegetable soup, with the addition of saffron, for a little special hint of sunny warmth. You can add pulses, pasta and any herb you like, but I usually like to keep it simple and stick to the veggies in my fridge. The actual star of this dish is the chipotle butter, which I used to have on toast, now on fresh, crunchy, chewy bread (gasp!). It’s spicy and wonderful and very very morish, so be sure to make more than you think you’ll need.

To cold days, to winter, to warm hugs and memories.

 

Saffron and Kale Soup with Chipotle Buttered Toast

Serves 4

 

olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

2 tomatoes, sliced thinly

1/6 celeriac, finely chopped

2 carrots, quartered, finely chopped

3 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes

4-5 kale leaves, very thinly sliced

1.5 litres of vegetable stock

1 big pinch saffron threads

a dash of soy sauce

a few drops of lemon juice

salt, pepper

In a large saucepan, fry the onion in the oil until translucent. Add the garlic, stir for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the rest of the vegetables, the stock and the saffron. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until all vegetables are cooked through. Brighten the soup with the lemon (you don’t need much) juice, add the soy sauce for a boost of umami, and season to taste. Serve with crusty bread or toast and chipotle butter (below).

 

Chipotle Butter

100g butter, softened

2 tsp chipotle chilli powder

salt

a tiny squeeze of lemon juice

In a bowl, beat the butter with a fork to loosen it up. Add one teaspoon of chipotle and a few pinches of salt, as well as the lemon. Give it a good stir. Have a taste, then add more or the rest of the chipotle. It will seem quite spicy at first, however it will soften as it rests.

If you really don’t like spicy, I suggest you only use ¼ tsp of chipotle and replace the rest with smoked paprika powder.

Saffron, Rosewater and Pistachio Kulfi

pistacio top

They said I had too much wisdom, so they took it all away. Bastards. I mean, what is even the point of having four extra teeth right in the back of your mouth?  It’s a pretty flimsy attempt of interior decoration if anything. Just an added bonus for having successfully survived the crippling years teenage hood and transferred to the next blissful decade of so-called life. You’d think we would’ve evolved past that by now. Have an inbuilt toothbrush instead. Evolution? Whatever.

 

Other than pain I’ve had some other great things happen to me these last couple of days. Like soup. And cold packs. And delicious pain killers. Before you get all jealous though, let me tell you about ice cream. Because ice cream is delicious. You know those moments when you invite people for dinner and they bring along something that just completely blows your mind? Nah? You’ve got the wrong friends.

 

I’ve adapted, adopted and tweaked le recipe, and this is what I ended up with. In the past, a very long time ago – the wisdom era I like to call it – I made some cardamom and pistachio kulfi. A deliciously moreish and refreshing milky ice cream enjoyed in India. Well, now it’s time for another one, the rosewater and saffron one. Kittens, it truly is a stunner. And before you point it out, yes, it’s got pistachios as well, but come on, what goes better with saffron, both visually and tastedly?

saffron rosewater kulfi

Saffron, Rosewater and Pistachio Kulfi

 

400ml mi full cream milk

1 big pinch of salt

1 big pinch saffron threads, or 1 packet ground

1 can/379g condensed milk

1 can/354ml evaporated milk

2 Tbsp rosewater

50g pistachios,  chopped

 

Heat the milk in a saucepan until hot. Add the salt and the saffron and let it steep for a few minutes until the milk turns golden. If your saucepan is big enough, whisk in the condensed- and evaporated milk, as well as the rosewater. Alternatively, pour everything into a plastic container that will fit into your freezer. To speed everything up, place it into the freezer already. None of that “waiting till it’s room temperature” bullshit. Every half hour or so, whisk the mixture with a fork so as to break up the ice crystals. After about 4 hours or more, depending on how good your freezer is, your mixture will have the consistency of slushy snow. Now stir in the pistachios and fill into whatever mould makes you happy. I usually use small cups or those popsicle trays you can buy. If you’re lucky enough to have 2 of those trays, I reckon you could make 14-16. Now put them back into the freezer to firm up. When ready, hold a knife under a hot tap and slide it around the edge of each popsicle until it comes out.

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