Cream of Leek and Broccoli Soup with Rosemary Oil

A warm soup, a cold evening is a match made in heaven…

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I must be the only weirdo who truly loves winter. Honestly, what’s not to love? You can overdose on carbs, drink hot chocolate endlessly, eat a piece of cake with your cup of tea without feeling guilty and if you pack on a few pounds you can cover it all up under that trench coat without a worry!

Apart from all the indulgence, there’s one more way to enjoy the winter chill and that is by trying and testing different soup concoctions. Soups are the perfect winter warmer and they are so incredibly versatile! There are smooth and creamy soups, chunky soups, soups with meat, soups with vegetables, soups with pasta, soups with lentils, the list is never-ending.

Recently I had a craving for the classic potato and leek soup, which screams comfort in every bite. So the other night while I was all set on making potato and leek soup, little did I know it was not meant to be that night! I was out of potatoes! The problem with being a foodie is once an idea germinates in your head it is impossible to settle for something else. Potato or no potato, I was determined to make a soup that was as good as potato and leek soup without potatoes. Lo and behold I found a beautiful lush green broccoli head in my fridge. I know you are wondering, how can broccoli ever replace potatoes in a potato and leek soup? Take my word for it, very easily!!!

To quote my husband “it’s the best soup I have ever eaten, I was shocked at how good it was” I believe him considering he went back for thirds.

Ingredients: 13  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

For the soup
  • One leek pale section only, sliced
  • Three pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One large head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • One massel vegetable stock cube
  • Four cups of water 
  • 300 ml of fat reduced cream
  • One teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • Salt to season
For rosemary infused oil
  • Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Four stems of fresh rosemary leaves (approx 4 inches long)

Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and stir continuously, cook for five to seven minutes until soft. Now add garlic and cook for a minute or two, until aromatic.

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Add the broccoli florets, lemon juice and stock cube to the leek mixture. Stir until the stock cube has disintegrated. Now add four cups of water, followed by the dried rosemary leaves and season with salt as required. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the soup simmer until the broccoli is tender.

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Once the broccoli is tender, add cream and stir it through. Lower the heat, cover the saucepan and let the soup simmer for another five to seven minutes. Finally with a stick blender, blend the soup until smooth.

To make the rosemary oil, heat extra virgin olive oil on a low heat. Add rosemary leaves and temper for about five to seven minutes. Remove from heat and let the oil cool to room temperature.

Garnish the soup with rosemary oil and cracked pepper. Serve this lip smackingly delicious winter warmer with a side of char grilled sourdough bread.

Enjoy!

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Smashed Peas with Poached Eggs and Avocado

Smashed avocado is so yesterday…Smashed Peas are here to stay…

As a devout foodie I can tell you nothing, absolutely nothing is more important than breakfast. Particularly on a Saturday morning after a wonderful sleep in, what could be better than a delicious breakfast plate waiting for you. My husband and I love surprising each other with breakfast in bed every now and then, believe me it’s a great old trick among others to keep that spark alive.

The other day we were still laying in bed at 11:00am, after all it was a Saturday. I said to my husband you know what I had a dream, where you brought me this delicious plate of green goodness for breakfast. He indulged me and asked what was on the plate, without any hesitation I began to describe – avocado, peas, fresh herbs, eggs and toast with lots of butter. Ha! yes I do recall my food dreams vividly, after all that’s how I get most of my cooking inspiration. Anyway so my husband just chuckled and continued to play on his phone and for some reason I fell back to sleep.

The next thing I know I was woken up by my dream, but this time it was a reality. My plate of green goodness was right in front of me and behind it all was my gorgeous husband. I know right – LUCKY ME!

Today’s breakfast/brunch is my dream on a plate. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ingredients: 8   Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2

  • Four free range eggs
  • One avocado, sliced
  • Two cups of frozen peas
  • 10-12 fresh mint leaves
  • One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • A nice loaf of sourdough bread
  • Half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to season

Everywhere around Melbourne, smashed avocado seems to be a raging breakfast sensation. I say honey your days are over because smashed peas are here to stay! This recipe is built on a bed of smashed peas flavoured with mint, extra virgin olive oil and lemon – a combination that will simply knock your jocks off. LOL!

Steam the peas for about five to seven minutes, until soft. In a bowl add the steamed peas, fresh mint leaves, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive, juice of half a lemon and salt as per taste. Using a stick blender coarsely blend all the ingredients. Your smashed mint peas are ready!

For poached eggs – the first step for perfect poached eggs is to use the freshest eggs. The next step is to get yourself a wide casserole type pan and bring water to a boil. Add one teaspoon of vinegar and a pinch of salt. Once the water has boiled let it simmer. Crack each egg in a small bowl drop them in the pan one by one, you’ll see them begin to cook immediately. Depending on your pan, a really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes and a soft to firm one will need 4 minutes (it depends on the size of the eggs and whether you’re using them straight from the fridge). To check whether they’re done, remove one carefully from the pan with a slotted spoon and give it a gentle shake. If it feels too soft (use your instincts), put it back and give the eggs a little longer in the water to firm up. Once the eggs are cooked remove them on to kitchen paper and dry off.

While the eggs are poaching get your toasts ready, it is essential to use really good bread with this recipe because life is too short to eat bad bread.

To plate up – make a bed of smashed peas, surround it with avocado slices, top it up with toast and poached eggs. I added some of the leftover smashed peas on the top too, because I just can’t get enough. Finally season with some cracked pepper, dig in and get ready to fall in a food coma.