I am a great believer that things go better with food. The presence of food in some form before and after events does all sorts of things - it builds community; starts conversation. If offered freely, it enables the poor and not so poor to mingle freely. If prepared thoughtfully, it can encourage innovation; new ways of enjoying food; and a whole range of new encounters. Here is an up to date story of food preparation for a community. Perhaps, if you live in Ballarat or a visiting, you might like to join us some time.
Bread and Soup and St Peter's.
At top, is the soup simmering away while Mass is on.
Those in serving in the Sanctuary remarked on the aroma
all through Mass!
On the left is the Creamy Carrot & Coconut Soup.
On the right is the Butternut, Apple & Cinnamon Soup.
In the middle, is my Olive Bread.
I live in Ballarat where winters are very cold and very damp. We haven't had snow this winter but it is not unheard of. I attend St Peter's Anglican Church in Sturt Street, Ballarat. It is Ballarat's oldest church and famous for its historic peal of bells. Now that winter is officially here we have taken to having Bread and Soup after the 10 a.m. Mass. Yesterday, it was my turn. I am basically a vegetarian so I was looking for something a little different in the way of meatless soups and I came up with these two which turned out to be very popular - with some people coming back for seconds. So let me tell you what I turned up. You can follow the original recipes (to which I link) to the letter, if you choose. I tweaked mine.
Before I tell you the links and the tweaks, let me begin by saying that the basis of any soup meat-full or meat-less is a good stock. This is the foundation on which the soup edifice is built. Your basic stock can then be tweaked, modified, added to for a variety of wonderful soups. Forty-eight hours ahead of my soup-making schedule, I made a huge amount of vegetable stock. I used vegetables at hand, bought some others veges, and even threw in a piece of broccoli which had not been used for its original intention and now was past its prime. I stored the stock in the frig - where, of course, as all soups and stocks do, it gained even more flavour.
Tweaks here were few. Needless to say, I multiplied quite a bit. I roasted the carrots ahead of time to add to the flavour. I used Coconut Cream instead of Coconut Milk.
Tweaks here were:
- Roasting the Buttnernut Pumpkin to add to the flavour. This is a good ingredient at the moment because Butternuts are plentiful. They are wonderful for their sweet flavour and their tenderness - so please be gentle with them.
- I used one decent sized Butternut but added a few more apples.
- I used something called Dutch Cinnamon. I think it may be a little more flavourful than other Cinnamon. Anyway, it was beautiful in the soup. After all, we do know how well apple and cinnamon go together. Now, I can assure you, it goes well with Butternuts as well.
As you can see from the photograph, I made my soup pots three-quarters full. This was because there has been a problem in estimating numbers. This was the third week. The first week too much had been prepared. The second week there was not enough. The third week seems to have been just right and some people were able to come back for seconds as well..
I served this with my own bread, buttered. I had some jars of sliced olives in the frig (they are great when you do your own pizzas) and turned my plain dough into Olive Bread.
All in all, the whole thing was well received. The two soups were beautiful. When I sup on the Creamy Carrot and Coconut, I think it is the best soup ever. And then when I sup on the Butternut, Apple & Cinnamon, I think exactly the same thing.
I highly commend these soups to Networkers. They are different, full-bodied, flavour-full soups. The people I prepared these for had not come across them before - so you also have the novelty value to impress people. Happy eating!
Next week at St Peter's
Justin is doing the soup.
It sounds wonderful.
It will be based on a chicken stock.