18 December 2011

Leek Cream Soup with Salmon Cubes

I first came across a version of this recipe, which uses carrots and some orange juice and zest, in a cookbook by one of Switzerland’s leading chefs, Oskar Marti, now retired. I was at his restaurant a couple of times and he likes to talk to people; somehow we hit it off, we ended up talking food and cooking, surprise surprise, and he gave me a few hints about the recipes in that book (he was about to present me a copy, but, obviously, I already had one); he wrote a very nice dedication into it when I sent it to him  a few days later, something I’m very happy about because he confirmed so many of my thoughts and beliefs concerning healthy, ecological and seasonal cooking.
Anyway, I had friends over the other day and realised I did not have enough carrots but loads of leeks, so I did this instead.
The advantage of this dish is that it can be prepared in advance and finished when the guests turn up.

What you need

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 knob butter for frying
  • 1 tablesp Madras curry powder
  • 4 medium-sized leeks (the white bits), finely chopped
  • 1-2 small (or 1 medium) potatoes, diced
  • 100 ml dry sherry
  • 1 tblsp vegetable broth powder/concentrate/cube
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 200-300 gr very (!) fresh salmon, cut into 1 cm cubes.
  • 250 ml fresh cream, whipped, if you like, for a fluffier texture; alternatively use double cream

What you do

  1. In a sauteuse melt the butter and add the onions, the garlic, the ginger and the curry powder. Stir without letting the onions, etc. take on any other colour than the yellow of the curry powder.
  2. Add the leek and stir till it has gone limp, then add the potatoes and the veggie broth concentrate / cube.
  3. Pour in the sherry and reduce to about half.
  4. Cover with water and simmer until the potatoes are soft.
  5. Liquidise the mixture adding water to get the desired thickness and season to taste with salt and pepper. (You may want to strain the soup but I like tiny bits in it.) At this stage you can let it cool or keep it in the fridge till needed…
  6. Preheat the soup bowls (better than plates), then distribute the salmon cubes and pour in the fresh cream.
  7. Pour in the reheated, piping hot soup and serve; the salmon poaches itself on the way from the kitchen to the table. (See picture above.)

09 December 2011

Curried Omlette

This may look a bit daunting because of the long list of ingredients, which is mainly the spices. If you prefer not to bother with the individual ones, just use a curry mix that you like, e.g. Madras Curry or a commercially available curry paste.  Even if you use your own spices, this is a quick and easy Indian meal, which allows for a lot of flexibility, depending on what you have in the fridge and the larder and on what is in season. The ingredients below reflect that it is December, but in summer you can substitute tomatoes (which are actually really nice in this dish!) and courgettes for some of the root vegetables. Potatoes are a standard ingredient, though.  

What you need

  • 2 potatoes, diced and steamed or boiled
  • ½ celeriac, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced or thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cm finely ginger chopped or pressed
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 leek, halved and cut into thin strips
  • 4-6 eggs, depending on their size, beaten
  • 1 tblsp turmeric
  • 1 tblsp jeera powder (ground cumin seed)
  • 1 tsp (+) cayenne pepper
  • 1 tblsp ground coriander seeds
  • a dash of tamarind juice (or vinegar)
  • 1 chilli pepper finely cut
  • oil for frying
  • salt (and pepper) to taste
  • 1-2 medium tomatoes diced
  • ½ capsicum pepper, diced
  • grated cheese
  • 1 handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • for garnish a green chilli in fine slices

What you do

  1. Fry the spices (including the chillies) in a wide frying pan until they begin to go dark.
  2. Add the onions, garlic and ginger (and the leek, if using) stirring to prevent them from going brown.
  3. Add the other vegetables, stiring from time to time, and fry it all for about 5 minutes. The vegetables should still be crunchy. 
  4. Add the beaten eggs and the coriander leaves/cilantro  to taste. (If you find there is not enough egg for the vegetables, beat one or two more and add them too)Fy gently until the eggs are no longer runny.  
  5. If using, sprinkle with grated cheese to taste before the eggs have set completely.  
  6. Either turn with a large plate and fry on the other side as well or put under the grill until the top of the omelette is browned.
    Add caption
Optionally garnish with some fresh coriander leaves and the sliced green chillies.


Indian spice mixes can be checked out here. What is important is that the ingredients are usually dry-roasted (without fat) in a skillet or a frying pan, then cooled down and ground in a mortar or a specially designated spice mill (cheap coffee grinder used exclusively for this purpose). The list above obviates this need because all the spices are already ground and then fried before use.