Thursday, July 3, 2014

Slow Roasted Fennel, Zucchini and Garlic Soup,
oh and, hello again :)


It’s late. Really late. I think it might even be 1.30am or something. Living in Australia means living on the other side of the world to everyone else. And living on the other side of the world means live telecasts from the UK or US can only be seen here at ungodly hours of night.

I’m up waiting for Nick Kyrgios’ tennis match against Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon 2014 (hurry up Djokovic – finish your match!). After a stunning win against Nadal last night, Nick Kyrgios has won the hearts of every Greek-Australian this week. And what timing! Just the thing we needed to soothe our sorry Greek souls after losing to Costa Rica in the World Cup on Sunday night!


You’d think I was some sort of sports fanatic, but I can assure you I only jump on that band wagon when someone Greek or Australian is involved, and with Nick being both Greek and Australian, I’m now doing crazy things like staying up all night to watch him play.

But I’m no stranger to staying up until ridiculous hours of the night to watch something on TV. I obsess over British home renovation shows like Homes Under the Hammer and Escape to the Country, no matter what time of the night they get screened here, and just when I think the ABC’s iconic music video show “Rage” has played the last good song of the night, yet another set of brilliant clips from the archives that I’ve never seen before assures my red-eye television viewing (and/or crazy dancing in my lounge room) continues until well beyond the wee hours of the morning.


So while I sit here waiting as the Djokovic/Cilic match lingers in the third set, I really have no excuse not to write another post for this sadly neglected blog.

Since Melbourne has been hit with some hideously cold weather of late, I’ve been partial to a bit of soup making. I’ve got the recipes, I’ve taken the photos, now all I have to do is upload it all and hope that no-one notices I haven’t been around for a while... So let’s just skip that bit and launch straight into a gorgeous recipe for a beautiful winter soup that also makes for a relaxing Saturday of pottering around in the kitchen.


Two of my favourite vegetables, fennel and zucchini, are slow roasted for 3 hours then blended down to a deeply flavoured soup that is packed with antioxidants and loaded with vitamin C.

Known as the big heroes in Greek cooking, fennel and zucchini caramelise and sweeten beautifully in the oven, developing so much flavour there’s no need to add stock to this soup. Just water!

Slow Roasted Fennel, Zucchini and Garlic Soup


Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 large zucchinis, sliced to 1cm rounds
  • 6 cloves of garlic, whole in skin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground fennel seeds
  • 2–3 cups of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Small handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees celsius.
  2. Place oil, chopped fennel and zucchini in a baking dish.
  3. Toss vegetables in oil until well coated, place in oven and walk away.
  4. After one hour, take dish out and turn the very lightly golden vegetables over.
  5. Add whole garlic cloves to the dish, still in their skin. I made the mistake of adding the garlic at the beginning of roasting time and they ended up shrivelling to almost nothing after three hours. Two hours should be enough.
  6. Place dish back in the oven and bake for another hour at 140 degrees celsius.
  7. The vegetables should now be a medium golden colour.
  8. Turn the vegetables one more time and place back in the oven for one more hour.
  9. The vegetables should now be a rich golden colour.
  10. Squeeze the flesh out of the garlic shells, add to vegetables and discard shells.
  11. Empty the vegetables into a medium saucepan, add 2 cups of water and 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seeds and simmer over medium heat for five minutes until liquid turns golden brown.
  12. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth, adding up to one extra cup of water until the soup reaches the desired consistency. I used a stick blender to blend the vegetables but this wasn't strong enough to pulverise the fennel so I was left with some stringy bits. I don't mind a bit of fibrous chew in my soup but if you prefer yours smooth, a high-powered blender or food processor should do the trick.
  13. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley and a swirl of fresh cream. A small sprinkling of sunflower seeds also adds to the visual appeal!


Well that was weird. Writing a post for a blog that I declared I was no longer in love with. It's like sleeping with an ex. Not that I've ever done that. Eww, I could never do that. But this is different. There's still a glimmer of hope here, I can feel it. Even if the followers of this blog are now whittled down to just a few close friends and family (if that!), I will always have days (or late-night opportunities!) when I want to post a recipe or some holiday photos, stories of the old country or just say hi. And if someone wants to say hi back, I'd be thrilled. I do have a few more soup recipes that I'd like to share in the coming weeks, and Tony and I are heading off to Greece again at the end of this month so with less work and more time to play, I hope to inject a little much-needed love back into the Greek Vegetarian blog.


22 comments:

  1. i smiled so big when this post appeared in my feed. even if you post once a year, i'll be waiting <3 the soup looks delicious, too!

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    1. Oh Caitlin, you’re so lovely. Thanks for sticking with me! xx

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  2. Nice to have you back. And it might just be a Swiss v Aussie semi.

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    1. Thanks KMSC. And wouldn’t it have been a great semi if Nick got through! Oh well, he’s got a huge career ahead of him, no doubt.

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  3. No, it's not just friends and family! I love your recipes, and unlike with most of the blogs I follow where it's don't-post-and-you're-ditched, I am quite happy to wait around for you! And THIS recipe is a perfect example of why that is. Keep 'em coming!

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    1. Thank you so much for having some faith in me Magrat. Sometimes inspiration can come from nowhere, or from people like you :)

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  4. It looks delicious! And welcome back! I'm looking forward to your other soup recipes. I'll be trying this tonight!!

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    1. Thanks Mex! And the bonus with this soup is it makes the kitchen smell great too! I hope you got a chance to try it out.

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  5. Yayyy you're back! Great recipe :) I confess to being a bad Greek Australian because I have no interest in the soccer, tennis, not even the olives my mum has been preserving from scratch :P

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    1. veganopoulous! Oh I don’t believe it – surely you feel a LITTLE bit of Greekness when one of ours is in the spotlight? Hey I’d love to get your mum’s recipe for preserving olives. We have a huge olive tree in the garden at the Limnos house – each year we collect them and dad does the preserving. He’s done a few batches but is always looking for different methods and loves to experiment..

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  6. Hello, hello, hello! Ι was just thinking about you. We really missed you, your stories,
    your vegetarian recipes and your wonderful photos!

    Kisses

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    1. Oh Mina hello!! Good to hear from you! Tony and I are off to Greece again in a few weeks and I have been thinking about the recipe for filo pastry you so kindly gave me. I didn’t buy a pastry roller in Greece last year but this year I will look for one. I know I could just make it out of a broomstick but it would be much nicer to have an authentic roller from Greece (even if they make theirs out of broomsticks too!)

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  7. I, like everyone else in my family, stayed up to watch Nick. So excited to have a player from Australia doing so well. Have not seen you in my news feed for a while and was glad to see you back. Keep up the posts, I love your recipes and images.

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    1. Wasn’t he just great? As he gains more experience I’m sure he will do really well. He got quite a lot of publicity this week which would have been really motivating for him. Thanks Nicole for stopping by, and thank you for the kind compliments :)

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  8. I was so happy to discover you are 'back'. :)
    Have a wonderful time in Greece, and please, take lots of pictures.
    Ina.

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    1. Oh thank you Ina. We have just arrived in Greece and yes, lots of pictures are definitely being taken! I will be posting soon about our first few days here.

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  9. Hi Lisa! I'm happy to see you're back! We're still hoping for the courgette-feta balls recipe, you know. ;)
    I must have tried out at least 1/3 of your recipes by now and they're all super nice. I'm thinking to make stuffed tomatoes now :)
    Anxious to see more of your recipes, stories and photos.
    Cheers,
    Anna

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    1. Thanks Anna! Well that settles it. A recipe for courgette-feta balls coming up. And who better to help me make them than my Aunt Koula who is staying with us here in Limnos :)

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  10. So good to see you back! Looking forward to more stories and recipes! :-)

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    1. Hello Shvetha! Good to see you too! I hope you and your family are doing well. We are now in Limnos and finally relaxing after a very busy year leading up to this trip. Photos, stories and recipes are on the way :)

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  11. so nice to see you again :) this soup looks so good, mmmm!

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