I love any opportunity for culinary inspiration, especially if it also allows for tasting and perhaps just a wee vino alongside. In Auckland we are lucky enough to have a book shop totally for cook books...Cook the Books on Ponsonby Road. A dangerous place indeed, wall to wall inspiration from around the globe. And as if that weren't enough inspiration they also run cooking classes; Cook at Cook the Books. The first class I attended was Autumn Vegetarian.
|Ottolenghi Yoghurt Flat Breads|
A wonderful evening with wonderful food. To start Ottolenghi inspired Yoghurt Flat Breads with Beetroot and Horseradish Hummus and Mahamudra, a rich mixture of peppers, walnuts, almonds and pomegranate molasses. So good, these will most definitely be shared at some point soon.
|Onion Tart Tatin|
Also on the menu winter salad, a mushroom ragout and an onion tart tatin and then to finish a vegan chocolate cake. all were delicious, but one dish that stood out for me was the Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichoke and Orange Soup.
It was inspired. It looks and sounds so simple yet the flavours meld together to something so much greater than the sum of its parts. This soup is rich and silken despite having absolutely no cream or milk at all. She is an elegant, classy soup with layers and depth of flavour topped with a bright citrus gremolata to liven it all up. Plus I get to use my favourite winter veg celeriac and another knobbly winter veg Jerusalem Artichokes. I love how a couple of knobbly, bumpy somewhat unattractive vegetables can be transformed into something so classy and elegant.
So don't be afraid to use some of these somewhat ugly sisters as they can, indeed, turn in to the belle of the ball.
Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichoke and Orange Soup
This is pretty much as was at Cook the Books though I did add a little garlic to the soup and used my own version of gremolata.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 celeriac (about 750g), peeled and cut into dice
500g Jerusalem artichokes
1.5 litre vegetable stock
½ tsp saffron strands, soaked in a couple of tablespoons of warm water
1 tbsp honey
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp coarse sea salt
Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Zest of one orange, finely chopped
1/2 tsp horseradish
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the onion and a pinch of salt, and saute for a few moments until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for a moment more. Add the celeriac, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the rest of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil & simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Place everything in a blender or use a stick blender to blend to a smooth puree. I wouldn't normally, but as we are looking for silken, I also passed the soup through a sieve for extra smoothness. I reckon well worth it in this case.
For the gremolata mix together the garlic, salt, parsley and zest. Add the horseradish and mix to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with a little of the gremolata.
Winter and you can't help but want a comforting bowl of soup to warm the soul and this one provided all that and a something just a little different. This soup is rich and silken and it is hard to believe that there is no milk or cream. You can taste the celeriac and the nutty Jerusalem Artichoke and then you get a sweet, tart yet honey mellowed orange note coming through, that is such a pleasant surprise. Then the gremolata to lift the whole dish. A bright herbiness from the parsley, sharp, hot garlic and horseradish and a little orange citrus hit from the zest, it really makes this dish.
iPhone winning for me with this one