It has been a rainy week. Rain everyday. Some impressive downpours.
Having been born in Vancouver I am pretty used to the amount of rain we get and the fact that a cloudy, dark sky can last for weeks (!) at a time. To survive the rain here you need a good pair of boots, (Hunter Wellingtons are all the rage this year) a rainproof jacket (weirdly Vancouverites aren’t big on umbrellas) and some good comfort food up your sleeve.
In addition to the rain it has also been a busy week. January always seems like the perfect time to clean the kitchen from top to bottom. So for the last few days I have scrubbed and scraped and washed and organized. Every cupboard, every shelf, every pot and even the S-hooks from which the pots hang are clean. It won’t last long and every time I wonder why I bother to go through the process but right now I am feeling inspired to get in there and start cooking.
My other big project this week is to get ready for a wine tasting/ cooking class that I am hosting on Saturday night. Lists are being made. Food, wine and flowers purchased. Wine glasses are being polished and linens ironed. It is a lovely group of women, many have been to previous classes, and I am looking forward to the evening. I am hoping to post some photos and the menu next week.
But for now Max, my son, and I are hungry and I need something that is quick to make and will warm us up. This carrot soup is it. It comes from one of Barbara Kafta’s books called Soup: A Way of Life and it is a recipe that people ask for often. It has only a few ingredients and I love the spicy warmth of the cardamom. I have made it for elegant dinner parties and for everyday family meals. Tonight it will be dinner for the two of us with a salad, bread and some cheese. And probably hot sauce for Max. Lately everything has hot sauce on it.
Carrot, Leek and Cardamom Soup
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of ground black cardamom
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, split down the centre, washed well and chopped
6 large carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock
Fine grain sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
In a medium sauce pan melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the cardamom and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the leeks, stir and cover with a lid and reduce the temperature to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until leeks are soft and fragrant. Do not brown the leeks.
Add the carrots and stock, some salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes until the carrots are tender.
Working in batches (no more than two cups at a time) purée the soup using a blender and then pour through a fine mesh sieve into a clean pot. Heat through and season with freshly ground white pepper and salt to taste.
Makes 6 cups of soup.