Carrot Ginger Soup – My Way

Evidently June is Carrot Month in Walsh Cooks world. Remember, one year ago I had my epic failure at Pickled Carrots – My Way. “Try try again” I will say to anyone who will listen, so I am taking my own advice, dusting myself off and carrying on.

Looks like pickled carrots – but don’t be fooled. These tasted like orange coloured wooden sticks swimming in a watery bath of vinegar. FAIL.

Last Friday I was out with a friend at The Bothy, and after a lot of chatter we finally found ourselves choosing supper. The Soup for the day was announced as Carrot Ginger. I was game to stray from my usual favourite and menu fixture, Tomato Bacon and try something new.

Well, my God.

It was so delicious, the next morning I was on a quest for a recipe for Carrot Ginger soup. I posed the question on Facebook, and with the lovely friends and relatives that I have, I received a plethora of recipes. Some tried and true favourites, others the result of a Google search, etc. etc.

Helpful friends.

I reviewed each of these recipes with care, and also drew on my memory of the night before and tried to recall some of the key flavours…. carrots, check. Ginger, check. But then, some of the recipes I was sent, had… butternut squash… hm… nutmeg.. no no nutmeg at The Bothy. Garlic? I don’t remember garlic! Thicken with potato. Potato? Was it a white or yellow onion? And just like a memory flashback montage in a 1970’s movie, I had images of garlic, butternut squash, nutmeg and onions swimming around in my head. Best solution? Go back to The Bothy and ask for the recipe.

INTERRUPTION: If I’m getting too verbose, you can stop here. My soup is done, and I’m happily eating a bowl of it right this minute. Splatters of orange on the keyboard as proof.

You’re still there? How lovely! Let’s continue…

If you remember last Saturday, June 23, it was a beautiful sunny afternoon and it required absolutely no effort to get Michael interested in an afternoon on a sunny patio.

Blue sky, fluffy white clouds, no mosquitoes. Perfect day.
Icy cold Prosecco. Perfect on a hot summer day.
How the professionals do it.
How I do it. Serve yourself. Bowls are in the cupboard, spoons in the drawer. Use the ladle! Cream is in the fridge.

I asked for the recipe, and Ray-the-Bothy’s-chef came out an talked to us. He’s a decent sort of person, and was happy to share the ingredients along with some tips. I’ll share with you because I believe in sharing (except my daily allotment of milk chocolate that I have with my late-night tea. Touch that and you risk harm).

Now, the ingredients are this:

Carrots (10 ish), ginger (chunk – grated), white onion (half), celery (one stalk), garlic (couple of cloves) chicken broth (2 boxes), salt, pepper, cream

“Wash, don’t peel your carrots” says my new friend Ray. “All the nutrients are in the skin”. Peel that away and you might as well be eating white bread. (That last sentence was my own. Ray did not say that).

“Scrape your ginger with a spoon. This way you don’t waste valuable ginger when peeling it off with a knife”. OK Ray, got that part, but no where, I mean NO WHERE have I read how miserable a task it is to grate ginger. I pulled out my trusty box grater, used the second smallest hole, and ended up with a pool of ginger juice and a few bits of ginger stuck to the grater. Nothing else. I stood there for a few seconds saying, “WTF?”.  I girded my loins. I used the cheese-grating side of my box grater, and ended up with a pile of ginger string. Now what? If you were invited over for supper, I’d strain the soup. But in my Test Bowl, I did have a few strings of ginger. Sounds appealing to kids though!

** CARROT SOUP now with GINGER STRINGS!! **

I could easily sub-title that, “Watch Grandma pretend she’s a cat with a hair ball!”. The strings of ginger are just that – stringy. But easily enough removed.

Any tips you might have about how to effectively grate ginger will be appreciated.

The great thing about soup is you don’t have to fuss with chopping your veg. Rough chop is fine.  Toss the lot of vegetables in your pot and saute for about 15 minutes. Add salt, pepper, chicken stock. Simmer for as long as you have. Blend until velvety smooth.

Ladle a generous amount in your favourite soup bowl, add a bit of cream. Eat.

There you have it. Carrot Ginger soup. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Pickled Carrots – My Way


I’ve never pickled anything until today. When I was growing up, for several years Mom and Dad pickled things, mainly cucumbers. I remember our kiddie swimming pool being used to wash vast quantities of cucumbers, large boiling cauldrons on the stove-top, the word “sterilized” being thrown around and soft curses being muttered as jars cracked.

It was a Production and my sister and I were usually sent to play far away. The Parents didn’t care where. Just get out of the kitchen.

As an adult, it seemed like too much fuss and bother. Why pickle pickles? You can buy them in a store. Besides, I don’t like pickles. Traditional pickles. Cucumber-type of pickles. I’ve tried. I bought every brand ever made, tried everyones homemade variety, and still, I find them difficult to like.

But, I do like other things that are pickled. I love pickled beets, asparagus, onions, Branston pickle, and all chutneys. In a previous post I declared my love for the Vietnamese sandwich, and discovered one of the ingredients is pickled carrots.

Today I was doing myself some grocery shopping, and as I’m on a Health Kick (she says as she swigs her beer), I needed to buy some veggies. I spotted the bag of match-stick cut carrots, and thought “I could pickle those”. And so the challenge was on.

I came home, surfed the net for recipes, and came up with the following:

1 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Black pepper
2/3 cup water

Boil the above and remove from heat.

Then, to a sterilized jar, fill with carrots, add the brine. Screw on the top, and sit patiently and wait for the lid to make that popping noise it makes when the jar is sealed properly. I don’t know how I know that, but I must have learned that somewhere or another.


Now, I am leaving the jar to cool on the counter-top, and will not open the jar until tomorrow evening. Almost every recipe I read says you Must Not Eat The Carrots until 12 hours have passed. So, to find out if they worked, you will have to check Twitter tomorrow night. If you don’t hear from me, I’ll probably be at the Royal Alex being treated for food poisoning because I didn’t sterilize the jar properly.