Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Mid-Winter Christmas Feast

Posted by MANDI at 6:18 PM
As my readers from other lands are no doubt aware, here in the land Down-under Christmas falls smack in the middle of summer. Most of us have fond (or not!) memories of sweltering through a stinking hot Christmas made even hotter by the ancestors need for a 'proper', ie cooked, Christmas dinner. Imagine, if you will, all the stresses of hosting Christmas for the family while dealing with our summer days of 35-40C temps and cooking the full roast dinner, with steamed pudding to finish. Urrggghhh. I'm very happy with the current trend of salads, cold roasted meats and fresh seafood followed up by dreamy cool desserts like my favourite pavlova.
But... such a dinner has it's place and part of the fun of our Christmas in July dinner was to have all the warm dishes we simply don't want in the middle of summer. And my word, did we ever meet that requirement!

My soup course, though a little spicier than I'd anticipated, was well received and just perfect for a wet, rainy winter's night. Some natural yoghurt took the edge off the spice and Turkish Bread Croutons were something different to top the soup. I will definitely be making this one again.

I doubled the recipe for our dinner party but have provided the original version here. The photo is from the leftovers that Hubby and I enjoyed for lunch today.

Moroccan Sweet Potato, Carrot and Chickpea Soup
from - The Very Useful Winter Book

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large brown onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
600g orange sweet potato, peeled, diced
500g carrots, peeled, sliced
6 cups reduced-salt chicken stock (I added some extra water)
300g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1/2 small lemon, juiced
Turkish bread croutons, to serve

1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Stir in coriander, cumin and chilli powder. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add sweet potato and carrot. Cook, stirring often for 5 minutes. Add stock. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
2. Add chickpeas and simmer, covered for 10 minutes or until chickpeas are tender.
3. Blend soup, in batches, until smooth. Return to saucepan over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Heat, stirring, until hot (do not boil). Ladle into bowls. Top with croutons. Sprinkle with pepper.

Turkish Bread Croutons
Halve a Turkish loaf lenghtways and chop into 2cm cubes. Spray lightly with olive oil spray. Place on a tray and bake at 200C for 10 minutes or until golden.


Iris Flavia on July 12, 2010 at 12:42 PM said...

I really, really do wonder... when will we get olive oil spray over here???
It´s so handy! (tested it in 2006 in Perth - should´ve brought some home!)
35C today - not the weather for soup! :-)


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