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
- 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
- Preheat oven to 140 degrees celsius.
- Place oil, chopped fennel and zucchini in a baking dish.
- Toss vegetables in oil until well coated, place in oven and walk away.
- After one hour, take dish out and turn the very lightly golden vegetables over.
- 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.
- Place dish back in the oven and bake for another hour at 140 degrees celsius.
- The vegetables should now be a medium golden colour.
- Turn the vegetables one more time and place back in the oven for one more hour.
- The vegetables should now be a rich golden colour.
- Squeeze the flesh out of the garlic shells, add to vegetables and discard shells.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- 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.