I’ve mentioned before that we always make soup for our Sunday supper, and as such last Sunday saw me flipping through a newly acquired cookbook looking for inspiration. I bought the cookbook, Anna’s Mat, after a conversation with my Swedish teacher, who frankly scares the crap out of me, and is also probably the most awesome teacher I could have hoped for. In a moment of crippling self-doubt I went to her and told her I knew I was pretty much the worst student in the class and I wasn’t sure I should be continuing with the group.
My teacher told me I have a lot of things to work on, like pronunciation (I stink at Swedish vowels – I can’t say or hear the difference between e, i, and y, and don’t even get me started on ä, ö and å) but that I’m not bad and I definitely fit with the group. I told her that we’re planning to stay here a while, and it’s important to me to go from functional to fluent as quickly as possible. When I told her what field I’m in, she suggested I buy this cookbook. She said the food writing is tremendous, and the recipes are great. And then she smacked me and asked why I never speak in class as well as I was with her then. I dunno. Nerves, I guess.
Because my Swedish teacher scares me, and because I hardly need convincing to buy a new cookbook, and because every bookstore in Stockholm seemed to be having a sale a few weeks back, I picked up the book. And oh, am I ever glad I did. The book is gorgeous, filled with thick glossy pages – over 500 of them – with amazing recipes, and short articles about particular ingredients, like peas or artichokes or beets.
If you speak Swedish, you probably already have this book. If you’re learning Swedish, I suggest you pick it up. For the rest of you, well, I checked and there doesn’t seem to be an English translation, which is a shame, because it’s an amazing book. But let me help make that up to you with this soup.
It’s a simple soup – a little bit wintery with it’s cauliflower base, and a little bit springy with the addition of peas - just like what’s happening with the weather right now (It’s been bright and sunny here, but the temperatures have been hovering around -10 C. What the heck, March?!). We’re using frozen peas because the fresh ones aren’t ready yet, but you could use fresh instead if they are ready where you are. This gets blended up into a nice smooth soup, and then a good amount of thick yoghurt gets swirled through, proving body, tang, and creaminess. But wait, it’s the finish – finely chopped fresh mint and lemon zest – that really makes it.
I hope you like it.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as broccoli, kale, and cabbage, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. It is a great source of vitamin B5, potassium, dietary fiber, and a good source of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins B1-3, and iron.
Frozen peas are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and are a good source of protein , manganese, folate, vitamin B1, potassium, and phosphorous. The high fiber content in dried peas is thought to be helpful in lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 head of cauliflower (about 350 - 400g), broken into bite size florets
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 125g frozen green peas (about 1 cup)
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- ½ cup (125ml) creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt (full fat)
- 2 Tbsp finely minced fresh mint
- 2-3 tsp fresh lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
- extra yoghurt, mint, or lemon zest for garnish
- Set a large pot over medium heat.
- Heat the olive oil for a minute, then add the yellow onion, green onion, and garlic to the pot, and sauté until they soften and just begin to take on a bit of colour.
- Add the cauliflower and sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the vegetable broth.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is tender.
- Now add the peas, wait a minute for them to soften and then blend the soup (I used an immersion blender, but if you don't have one you could transfer to a blender in batches).
- Once the soup is well blended, taste, and season with salt and pepper.
- Return to the heat, and stir in the creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt.
- Let it simmer for a few minutes, but do not boil.
- Add the mint and the lemon zest, stir well, and taste again. Serve immediately, with a drizzle of yoghurt, or a bit of lemon zest for garnish.