First things first: the competition. I used a random number generator to pick a winner and the lucky recipient of a copy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty More’ is Saol San Gluten. Congratulations!
This soup is one of the healthier recipes to be found on this blog. In fairness, after bacon jam almost anything would look healthy. ‘Eating clean’ seems to be the trend of the moment (so much so that someone emailing me about a flatshare listed it as a hobby), but it means different things to different people. For some it’s being vegan, for others it involves making conventional food with non-conventional ingredients, like sugar-free, egg-free, butter-free brownies and for some people it seems to involve putting chia seeds in everything you eat.
I’m definitely more a fan of the Julia Child philosophy that you should only eat diet food while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. But sometimes, you need to eat a meal that feels a bit wholesome. I’ve been travelling a lot lately, eating all the best food London has to offer, and every fried thing Holland has to offer, and eventually something has to give. This is a nourishing, comforting soup from the Avoca Cafe Cookbook that is perfect for autumn. I have a tempestuous relationship with sweet potato. Sometimes I crave it, sometimes I find it sickeningly cloying. This soup strikes a good balance. The lime juice counters the sweetness and the fish sauce gives it an umami hit. It’s gluten and dairy free, but obviously not vegetarian. It’s quick to make and it freezes well.
This makes about 4 lunch/starter portions
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 700g weight)
- 1 stick of lemongrass, outer leaves peeled and inner core finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, chopped (you can also just use some chili sauce as a substitute, it’s getting blended in anyways)
- 2 leeks, chopped
- 750ml stock
- 100ml light coconut milk
- Fish sauce (nam pla)
- juice of 1 lime
- Chili flakes
- Neutral oil
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into small cubes.
- Toss with some oil and roast in an oven at 200C until soft and starting to brown a little, about 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fry the ginger,garlic and lemongrass in some oil for 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the leek and cook for 7-10 minutes until soft.
- Add the roasted sweet potato, coconut milk and stock and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Blend, and add the fish sauce, lime juice and chili flakes to taste (be careful with the fish sauce and add it little by little, it can get very overwhelming very quickly).
- Season if required.