One of my recent birthday presents was a Spiralizer. Although it was totally unexpected in that I hadn't actually asked for one, I think my family had had enough of me saying 'I must get one of those' and decided to end the monotony of the statement.
Actually it was Miss GF that insisted on buying it....... She wasn't however thinking of me when she chose the model, instead only considering the pictures on the side of the box and telling Mr GF that we needed one 'which would make spiral potato chips'..... Marketing departments take note!
Either way, I am very happy with my gift...... I have indeed wanted a spiralizer for a good couple of years, and am looking forward to making all sorts of new dishes with it.
As for spiral potato chips? Miss GF will just have to wait...... I am feeling particularly in need of some fresher veggie options at the moment. I desperately need to lose a few pounds and am hoping that my new toy will be just the motivation I need to choose some green and lean alternatives to the excess of carbs.
This is my very first spiralized meal...... Oriental Courgette-Noodle Soup, made with homemade Vegetable Broth...... Fresh, flavoursome, healthy and delicious.
It was originally just going to be a straight spiralized courgette soup, but when I popped into my local greengrocers at the weekend, I was drawn to and persuaded to buy some perfumed Krachai root..... a popular Thai ingredient which is apparently a relative of the ginger family and tastes similar, if a little less stringent. The root looks like a bunch of fingers joined together at the end by a nobbly rhizome, but tastes amazing, being most commonly added I understand, to seafood dishes. If you can't get hold of any, don't worry.... ginger will suffice.
Back in the greengrocers and root in hand, my soup began to take a different and more interesting direction....... In my mind I was transported to warmer climes, heading South and East equatorially-bound to the flavours and aromas of the Orient.....
Looking along the shelves of colourful fruit, veg, herbs and spices in the greengrocers I picked up a mix of alternative ingredients fused between local and exotic..... a handful of rich and chewy shiitake mushrooms, a lovely fresh bunch of pungent wild garlic, a couple of small and powerful Bird's Eye chillies, and a large bunch of crunchy spring onions...... All bagged up I set off home, ready to concoct and create...
The base to this soup is an amazing home-made vegetable broth made with fresh vegetables and herbs, roasted for extra depth and intensity of flavour and then slow-cooked in liquid over a good couple of hours to allow the whole lot to mingle and infuse.
The advantage with splitting the clear broth from the vegetables once they have all been cooked up, is that you get double the meals..... two soups in one! The clear, sieved broth is used for the oriental noodle soup and then the remaining veg is liquidised with a little extra liquid to produce a thick, warming earthy vegetable soup.
You can use any veg for the broth..... whatever takes your fancy (or is lying around in your larder), but if you want a clearer soup I would avoid potato or anything that is too starchy.
If you need to eat gluten free, make sure you use gluten free Shoyu instead of standard soy sauce..... Definitely a must in any gluten free larder!
Although this is essentially a vegan dish, if you don't choose to be veggie, then you may wish to add a sprinkle of Bonito flakes (dried shaved tuna flakes) when you serve. I first had these when I visited Japan many many years ago, but I love the savoury slightly fishy hint they give to some soups and tofu dishes. They are pretty difficult to source, but I recently managed to find some in a town nearby in an oriental supermarket and decided to throw some on the soup as an after-thought at the table. They are not by any means necessary however, so don't go hunting for them!
Anyway..... this soup is amazing.... the spiralized courgettes are as tasty as they are fun..... they pair brilliantly with the less local ingredients and give the broth extra substance and interest. The cleansing ginger is just what the Spring palate needs and the warming chilli hit will wake the tastebuds after their winter slumber. Fresh and exciting, this is a soup for the season....
I am sharing my first delicious spiralized efforts with a whole bunch of linkies for April :
Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice. The slow-cooked vegetables are used to make both the vegetable broth for this soup and also a liquidised vegetable soup.
Extra Veg with Utterly Scrummy (& Fuss Free Flavours) - There's definitely an extra portion or more in this meal!
Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too.
Cooking with Herbs with Lavender & Lovage. April's theme is Easter & Spring herbs. This soup uses parsley, coriander and a goodly handful of fresh wild garlic.
Cook Blog Share, this week with Sneaky Veg.
Eat Your Greens - this month with The VegHog (and Allotment2Kitchen). Lots of green stuff here!
No Croutons Required with Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa's Kitchen. This is fundamentally a veggie, vegan soup. (The Bonito flakes are very much an optional extra)
Sunday Fitness & Food with Marathons & Motivation (and Ilkas Blog)
Slow Cooked Challenge with Baking Queen 74 and Farmersgirl Kitchen. April's challenge is based around Spring Ingredients. This soup has a slow-cooked vegetable broth at its heart and is full of veg, including seasonal spring onions, broccoli, leek, carrots, celery and herbs, including local wild garlic.
Oriental Courgette-Noodle Soup (with home-made vegetable broth) serves 4
Ingredients - for the vegetable broth
2 large onions
1 large red pepper
5 large cloves garlic
2 sticks celery
small head broccoli
1 fennel bulb
3 large carrots
Large handful of fresh parsley
Large handful fresh coriander
good grind black pepper
good grind salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
- Peel, trim and rough-chop all the vegetables and place in a large roasting tin with a good drizzle of olive oil.
- Add the herbs.
- Toss the vegetables in the oil to coat and then add the black pepper and salt. Toss again.
- Roast in the oven for about an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the edges burning.
- When cooked, remove from the oven and place all the roasted veg in a slow cooker (or very large saucepan). Add an extra good grind of salt.
- Add enough water to cover the vegetables by about 4 to 5 cm (1½ to 2 inches).
- Slow-cook on maximum for about 3 hours (or slight simmer on the hob for about 2 to 3 hours).
- When cooked, allow to cool.
- Use a sieve to drain and separate the liquid (vegetable stock) into a large jug/soup storage container and set aside. Save the vegetables into a separate storage container (topped up with a little water) to liquidise later and make vegetable soup.
Additional Ingredients - for the Oriental Courgette-Noodle Soup
2 large/3 medium courgettes
3 to 4 Krachai finger-roots or a small piece of ginger (peeled and cut into slivers)
1 red bird's eye chilli - deseeded and finely chopped
5 to 6 shiitake mushrooms - sliced
a couple of tablespoons GF shoyu sauce (GF soy sauce) - to taste
3 spring onions (scallions) (including leaves/green part) - trimmed and chopped into 1 cm lengths
large handful wild garlic leaves (washed but not chopped)
very optional sprinkle of Bonito flakes (dried shaved tuna) if you are not veggie
- Trim and spiralize the courgette on medium noodle setting and set aside.
- Heat a good splash of olive oil in large soup-saucepan over a medium heat and when hot, gently sauté the Krachai (or ginger) and chilli for about 2 minutes to soften and infuse the oil.
- Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and a tablespoon water and cook for a further couple of minutes, stirring intermittently to allow the mushrooms to begin to sweat.
- Add the clear vegetable stock that you made earlier (about 1½ litres - top up with boiling water if you need to).
- Add also the shoyu sauce to taste and half of the chopped spring onions. Bring the broth to the boil and then simmer for about 5 to 10 to allow the flavours to mingle.
- Add the wild garlic leaves and simmer for a further 3 to 5 minutes.
- Finally add the spiralized courgette and stir through. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until the courgette is soft and flexible (be careful not to over-cook).
- Ladle into your serving dish(es) and sprinkle the remaining spring onions on top. Also add a sprinkle of Bonito flakes (if using). Enjoy!
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated