Showing posts with label carrot soup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label carrot soup. Show all posts

Friday, July 1, 2016

Roast Carrot Soup

I know, I keep giving you carrot soup recipes, but this one was just so gorgeous I had to share it. I found it at the Kalbos Café at the West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen (West Cork, Ireland), when I stopped in for a quick light lunch (I’ve eaten there before). The Arts Centre itself took years to build, and opened in 2015. It’s been a very busy place ever since, and it plays an important role in the local cultural community. Brilliant move to have an place to eat right alongside it. (I tried to find a picture that showed both, but the cafe is kind of tucked in and it's hard to get both in the same shot.)

You may think of vegetable soup as a winter dish, but let me remind you that it’s cooler in Ireland than in the US in summer. Plus this is not one of those you have to stew for hours (oh, well, there is that turning on the oven thing). There are plenty of carrots in Ireland, year round, as well as other hearty root vegetables. Kind of reminds me of Massachusetts, where summer vegetables don’t really appear at the farmers’ markets until June or even July, at least in my part of the state. 

The Kalbos Cafe soup
When I ordered the soup (the special of the day) I expected something bland and comforting, but what I hadn’t expected was an intense red blast of color. As you might guess, the “body” of the soup come from the carrots, but the color comes from beets (or beetroot, as they call it there--I had to ask). Both are root vegetables with a fairly high sugar content. Roast them and they caramelize a bit, adding a sweet element to the soup, and a deeper flavor.

I’ll confess, I looked for recipes online, but they all looked like ordinary carrot soup—orange. None had this wonderful rich red color. Let me add that the dominant flavor is carrot, not beet (as a child I used to gag at the taste of beets, so I’m still wary of them).

At the café it was served simply, with a piece of brown bread and some butter. If you want to dress it up, you could add a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of dill or another herb. Also note that this is vegan—all vegetable, unless you want to use chicken stock. It’s simple, healthy and tasty—what more could you ask?

Roasted Carrot Soup


1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 lb beets, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
2 Tblsp good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, toss the carrots, beets and onion with the olive oil, then spread them in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. 

Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times (so they don’t stick), until they are tender and beginning to brown around the edges.

4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the cooked vegetables in a large saucepan. Add the stock, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until all the vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes).

Bought this at a yard sale across the street
for $3. I've used it a lot.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor (to whatever smoothness you desire), or use an immersion blender. Keep the soup warm in the pan, and season with the salt and pepper. (If it's too thick for you, add a bit more stock, or even water.)

Serve in deep bowls. If you want to dress it up, add a dollop of crème fraiche and maybe a sprig of dill. Serve immediately. (This recipe makes about four servings.)

My nod to the Fourth of July: it's
red, white and blue!

Note: in winter you can add other vegetables as well—butternut squash, parsnips, sweet potato—to make it a heartier soup. You can also spice it up with a dash of pepper sauce or chile powder—it’s a very versatile recipe!

My feeble effort to add an Irish design

I'll stop rambling on about all things Irish soon, I promise. I am working on other books, really--the next Irish one (still nameless), another Orchard mystery, another Relatively Dead story, a short story or two...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Welcome our guest, author Juliet Blackwell w/book #giveaway

Juliet Blackwell is the New York Times bestselling author of the Witchcraft Mystery series, featuring a powerful witch with a vintage clothes store in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury.  She also writes the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series, about a failed anthropologist who reluctantly takes over her father’s high-end construction company…and finds ghosts behind the walls.  As Hailey Lind, Blackwell wrote the Agatha-nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series, in which an ex-art forger attempts to go straight as a faux finisher. She is currently working on a novel about a woman who takes over her uncle’s locksmith shop in Paris, entitled The Paris Key. A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France.

Juliet’s latest book is Keeper of the Castle, fifth in her Haunted Home Renovation series featuring Mel Turner, head of Turner Construction, and reluctant ghost whisperer.  Read an excerpt HERE.

Special book giveaway...see below!

Take it away, Juliet! 

* * *

Thank you so much for having me on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. I love to cook -- with a glass of wine in hand, especially :-)-- and find it a relaxing way to wrap up the day with friends and family.

I was going to write up one of my (ex) mother-in-law's Mexican recipes, or one of my mother's Cajun family secrets...but those are best learned by trailing someone around a kitchen as they say "A little pinch of this, a little pinch of that."  Such recipes don't translate well to the page, I find.

Besides, lately my schedule is chock-full of book deadlines -- currently I'm writing the Witchcraft mystery series and the Haunted Home Renovation mystery series, as well as a standalone called The Paris Key -- so I don't have the time and energy to harass my relatives for their recipes, much less the energy to create intricate dishes. Instead, I like to wander my local farmer's market, see what's fresh and in season, and go from there.

This week I made this easy-peesy soup, from from fresh organic, easy-to-find ingredients. It's soooo good. And it makes the whole house smell like the holidays.


* * *

Carrot-Squash Soup

1 leek
1 bunch sweet carrots
1 butternut squash
1 small sweet potato
Chicken or vegetable stock
Spices, salt to taste
Cream or half-and-half (optional)

Chop up leek into small pieces and sauté in a little butter or olive oil.  While it is cooking, chop the carrots, squash, and potato into small chunks and add them to the sauté.  Stir frequently -- be careful not to let it burn! 

Once all the veggies have been sautéed, cover with stock and let simmer 20-25 minutes until tender. Add dashes of nutmeg, ginger, cumin, cloves (or mixed pumpkin spices), and white pepper and salt to taste.

I mush up about half, then puree the other half before mixing them back together.  But if you want a creamier soup puree the whole thing.

Upon serving, add a little spiral of cream or half and half, and top with chopped parsley -- or just eat as is! 

 It’s soooo good–and good for you, too! (Also, it makes the house smell yummy J)


Today, I am giving away a copy of KEEPER OF THE CASTLE to one commenter. Remember to leave your email so I can contact you if you win. And tell me, do you have any haunted home renovation stories to share?

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