Two potato and sweet corn soup with three different garnishes
I’m sitting amongst the chaos of toys and emails whilst I write this, with my thick cosy socks wrapping my feet and a blanket draped on my legs. I have always felt older than my years you know, always. Eyes a bit bleary and dates a-muddle, it all feels a bit disorderly.
In full sleeved attire and legs well and truly covered I felt a bit of chill as we walked to the pool this morning. I looked forward to sitting in the warm and shallow kid’s pool, albeit with bedlam of squeals and splashing children swishing down the slide that sits in the pool. The pool is not large, so I chuckled that we sat in our costumes relatively close to each other and cooed at our own toddlers and infants but barely exchanged polite greetings towards each other. But it was nice to see so much love in that pool. My boy was happy, ‘you not working in cookery class today, daddy’s not here, but you’re with ME’. I asked him if he was happy, ‘yes, I love you mum, you stay with me’.
Amongst all the disarray of the last three and half years, this has happened. There is colour and some peace. And it tastes good.
I held a cookery class on Saturday and one on Sunday and my goodness they were at full capacity, in a gorgeous school in the city that I love (London, of course) and we had people frying, rolling spring rolls, making cashew nut cream…and we had smiles and fun. Can I tell you what I really came away with? A lady told me she was really proud of herself and she thought her curry was better than restaurant quality. Two women hugged and exchanged contact details as they left because they had connected so well. A couple fed each other and held hands because the class was their quality time together. A young pair of people flirted mildly (yes I noticed and sorry if you are reading this, but it was very sweet). A lady who was scared of frying made the best fusion style pakora. Everything ran to time. I was sent emails afterwards with thanks and professionals emailed me telling me that the class is ‘exceptionally good’. I had a lady who had not cooked because her mother and sister were the queens of the kitchen but now she felt like she had dishes to serve her little boy and husband. A young man came away saying, ‘now I can impress my mum’.
Things are beginning to make some sense.
My soup today tells this story. This recipe is inspired by a Columbian recipe for ajiaco and a harmony of deep, Autumnal soothing potatoes (both sweet and fluffy) in a stew-like soup with the promise of brightness with a fresh tomato salsa with coriander, light crème fraiche, and creamy green avocado. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t spice it up a bit so I have included fennel seeds, cumin seeds and guajillo chillies for a smoky touch. I have also included some mock chicken but you could use tofu. All in all this becomes a healthful and balanced meal. I didn’t need bread on the side; the soup is really filling, fresh and nourishing. With promise.
Ingredients to serve 4
For the soup
250g marabel potatoes (or other floury potato suitable for baking or mashing)
250g sweet potato
200g sweet corn (I used tinned)
One large leek, chopped into chunks
2 bay leaves
200g mock chicken/vegetarian chicken/soya chunks/tofu
1 ½ litres of good quality vegetable stock
3 spring onions
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 guajillo chillies
2 green chillies
2 tbsp. olive oil or butter
For the coriander and tomato salsa
200g ripe red tomatoes, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 spring onions cut into bite sized chunks
50g coriander, finely chopped
You will also need;
One large ripe avocado cut into slim wedges
4-8 tbsp. crème fraiche
- Lightly heat the olive oil or butter and then add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves and green chillies and once the seeds have started to sizzle stir in the marabel potatoes, garlic and spring onions and cook for a minute
- Pour in the vegetable stock and rice wine vinegar and bring the soup to a simmer before adding the guajillo chillies
- Simmer the soup for ten minutes before adding the leek, sweet corn and sweet potatoes and then cook for a further ten minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the salsa by combining the tomatoes, coriander, spring onions and garlic.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and dress them with the garnishes or let the diners do it themselves for added fun.
I am sharing this recipe with Lavendar and Lovage for the cooking with herbs challenge
Author Deena Kakaya