Winter sun is low and dazzling and when it warms up the day for just a few precious hours, it can lift us all from the light limiting winter days. It’s this golden light that I chase and cooking outside cements my happiness especially when it’s with, and feeding, those I love.
I found a local wood that we’ve not visited before, a little inland but not far, that has a barbecue area for hire. It has a huge cooking area and I’m sure we will return and cook something wonderful there with a gang of good friends and family. In the meantime, I cooked a richly spiced vegetable soup on our Swiss Army camp stove so I could try out the space.
The soup was filling and warming, perfect for making plans of wild cooking and crazy cocktail making. We talked of all the possibilities, fillets of fish, seafood, bread – surely bread must be possible to cook on a barbecue grill?
Along with the soup I cooked up, well warmed through some prepared filled croissants. Simply fill each croissant with a thin spread of coarse grain mustard and either just cheddar cheese or a mix of cheese and sliced salami. Then place of a frying pan lined with greaseproof paper and keep moving to prevent catching.
A vegetable soup that can be cooked just as easily outside as inside.
Moroccan Vegetable Soup
2 tsp oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks of Swiss chard (keep leaves for later)
1 courgette, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
Half a teaspoon cumin powder
Half a stick of cinnamon
1 tablespoon harissa paste
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons brewer’s yeast
Pinch of saffron
1 x 400g of chopped tomatoes
400ml or so of water
1 x 400g tin butter beans, drained
Zest of 1 lemon
Handful of seeds
Heat oil and fry the onion, celery and garlic until softened but not coloured. Add the Swiss chard stalks, courgettes, and mix to ensure well coated with oil.
Add the cumin, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper and continue to cook for a few minutes. Then add the remaining spices, finally the tomatoes, and the water. Cook for 20 minutes or so until the courgettes are just cooked.
Finish shredded chard leaves and taste to see if any further salt and pepper is needed and pour into bowls or mugs. Top each with a pinch of chopped parsley, a sprinkle of the seeds and lastly a good pinch of the lemon zest.
The croissants were simply filled with wholegrain mustard, grated cheese (plus sliced meats for meat eaters) then warmed in a frying pan covered with greaseproof paper. Move the filled croissants around a few times to prevent catching and ensure with the soup.