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Classy Leek and Potato Soup

At the moment I’m lucky enough to be sitting overlooking the sea. We’ve dragged ourselves down to the Isle of Wight for a family holiday, and its definitely been worth the trip.

My lovely friend (and cousin-in-law) and I are sharing the cooking duties. Actually competing for them, because the kitchen here is amazing and we both enjoy it. We are spoilt with a walk-in pantry, extra wide range cooker, every utensil we’ve ever desired (except for a Kitchen Aid) and the most fabulous prep butcher’s block on wheels. The butcher’s block is a little OTT but we ‘re enjoying it anyway.
Emily’s speciality is fish. And the fish here is super fresh. In London you can get day old fish if you know where to look. Here we have made friends with the owners of the local fishing fleet and buy it minutes old and eat it hours old. Amazing!!!
I’m not very good with fish, but as the weather is truly pants, I’ve been sticking to hearty staples. I’ve also been trying to do justice to the amazing kitchen by giving them a little something extra now and then.
First up, a very old fashioned leek and potato soup!


With simple dishes, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of making them boring. I gave mine the xfactor with one teeny tiny tweek. Remember my post a few weeks back? Sometimes it’s a good idea to cook with wine! Well I drank a glass of white wine and braised the onions with it too. Delicious. I also snuck it an extra onion and loads more garlic than I normally would. Some classy garnish and the family were blown away. I dished it up with home made tear-apart rosemary bread, fresh from the oven. I’ll post the bread recipe another night.
Ingredients:
For 6 adults I used
2 extra large white onions chopped
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
1 generous glass of decent white wine
4 large potatoes cut into small pieces.
6 small fresh organic leeks chopped (you could use 2 extra large ones). Set aside some neatly sliced rounds from the green ends
Roughly a litre of hot home made chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you’re going vegetarian/vegan)
Some splashes of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Roughly half a cup of cream (or almond milk if going vegan)

Method:
Heat a large pot with some olive oil to a medium heat. Add the onions, stir quickly, clamp on the lid and turn down the heat. Sweat the onions for a good 10 minutes until they’re translucent and soft. Add the garlic and turn up the heat. Once sizzling, add your wine and keep stirring until the fumes have mostly burned off.
Pour in half your stock and all the potatoes. Add enough of the remaining stock to just cover the spuds. Clamp on the lid and simmer for 10 minutes. If you’ve cut yours into big pieces, they may need a little longer.
Once the spuds are just soft all the way through, toss in the leeks, keeping some nice green slices aside for garnish. cover the pot again and simmer for another 10 minutes. You want the leeks to be soft but still green. There is nothing worse than grey soup!
Remove the pot from the heat and blitz with an immersion blender or in a liquiser. Season to taste. Stir through a half cup of cream or almond milk and pour into bowls.
For a swanky presentation, swirl through a small amount of cream or the almond milk, add a drizzle of decent olive oil, a crack of black pepper and a sprinkling of raw leek slices. Enjoy with fresh crusty rolls or my rosemary pull-apart bread. Bon appetite.

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Leek and Sweet Potato Soup

Thankfully the rain is on hold today. The leaves are definitely on the turn now, and the trees are starting to look rather more thin and yellow than green and plump. With Toddler at nursery and no real reason to go out for a tortuous walk some fresh air, I thought I’d stay in and make some soup for lunch. My favourite quick and easy soup is good old leek and potato soup. Sadly I didn’t have any potatoes to hand. I did have sweet potatoes though, and a quick browse of the WWW revealed an abundance of recipes that weren’t particularly inspiring. So I opted to make it the way I always do, but switching around when I put in the potato, as sweet potatoes cook really quickly. I did find a version with loads of chilli which looked fabulous, but as I was serving this up to two smalls, I thought I’d better forgo the spiciness.

My sweet potatoes were white inside today! I haven’t seen these since I left South Africa six years ago. I’m so used to the bright orange ones that these came as quite a surprise. Presumably, the orange variety will give a more orangey coloured soup. This variety made it look remarkably like I’d used plain old potatoes.

Ingredients (soup for 2 not very hungry adults, a toddler and a baby):

1 extra large leek sliced

2 shallots chopped

1 extra large sweet potato chopped into smallish chunks (mine was white today, normally they’re that super duper carroty orange)

garlic (I used around 3 cloves but we LOVE our garlic in this house)

2 cups of hot stock (I used home made veggie stock)

Seasoning

Method:

Heat your pot with a lug of olive oil in the bottom. Add in shallots, turn down the heat and clamp on a lid and sweat the shallots for 5-10 minutes till soft.

Add in the leeks and garlic, turn up the heat and give a regular shake till the leeks start to soften.

Add your stock and sweet potatoes, bring to a simmer, cover and leave for roughly 10 minutes. You can check when its ready by squishing the sweet potatoes.

Blend the whole lot up in liquidiser or straight in the pot with an immersion blender. Season to taste

Serve up into bowls, swirl in some cream, or olive oil, or coconut milk and add a fresh crack of black pepper.

We enjoyed ours with home baked seeded sour dough bread. Hope you enjoy yours too!