Finally, a new recipe from me! It's been a long time coming, I know. I was away in Thailand for over a month, and while I was travelling, my camera actually broke. SOB! Now the display has gone really weird so I can't actually frame my shots - it's literally just a case of pointing in the vicinity of the subject, and hoping! So - I'm finding the taking pictures part of my recipe blogging really difficult at the moment, until I can get a new camera.
However, do not let the dodgy photo disuade you from trying this extremely delicious soup. My son, who was here visiting the other weekend, told me it was the best soup he had ever tasted, and he doesn't run loose with his compliments generally.
Also - the ingredients are just about the simplest you can imagine - as you can see below. There's not a lot in this soup, the flavour mostly comes from the beets (which came from my 94 year old Granny's garden) and fennel seeds, and there is plenty of both. It's a perfect autumn soup and a good one for dinner parties too. Especially where you're trying to keep things tasty but easy.
Further recipe tips:
1. Wear gloves to peel the beetroot! Otherwise your hands will look like they've been in the blender themselves.
2. If making the vegan sour cream yourself, prepare in advance as the cashews need soaking, though you can probably get away with a couple of hours (it won't be as smooth).
3. Home-made chilli cornbread goes really well with this!
Autumn Beet & Fennel Soup
3lbs beetroot, peeled and diced
1 cup / 150g onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon oil, for frying
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups / 1½ litres water
1. In a large stock pan, heat the oil and fry the onion on low-medium for a few minutes, before adding the diced beetroot and garlic. Fry another two or three minutes, then add the fresh cold water, peppercorns, and fennel. Bring to the boil.
2. Once boiling, turn the soup down to a medium simmer, place a lid on the pan and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the beetroot has softened. Add the salt and allow to cool slightly.
3. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pan (you will have to do in a couple of batches in a standard blender). Serve the soup with a dollop of vegan sour cream, and some fennel seeds to garnish.
Vegan Sour Cream
You can buy commercial vegan sour cream to go with this soup, but to make your own is really not complicated, and probably tastes better. The original recipe I used is from Gluten Free Vegan, however I have fine-tuned that recipe to my own liking. Still almost the same, but with a couple of tweaks to make it right for my tastes. Bear in mind you need several soaking hours to make this.
Here are the ingredients, adjusted for me, but just follow Megan's own recipe for how to make:
1 cup cashews
¼ cup fresh water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice