Soup is cuisine's kindest course. It breathes reassurance; it steams consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability, as the five o'clock cup of tea or the cocktail hour.
~ Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’
I've been really atrocious at catching up on everyone else's blogs this past fortnight or so and therefore am surprised (and majorly touched) that people still do come over and leave comments on mine. To all those kind souls who have visited this site and taken the time to let me know you were here, a very big thank you. And apologies that I have been a rude hostess and not acknowledged your visits until now. When I'm mentally "back in the zone", I'll make an effort to come around to yours and give you a big, massive hug :-).
Until then, you can take some comfort in this soup I made specially for French Fridays with Dorie - Spiced Squash, Fennel and Apple-Pear Soup. It contained everything listed in the title, plus more...and it this case, 'plus more' meant slight improvisations on the original ingredients. For the squash, Dorie recommended we use the Long Island Cheese Squash but I wasn't quite sure whether we could get that variety over here. So I went down to my mom's farm to pick a Kabocha squash to use in this recipe instead.
Another ingredient I didn't have was fresh fennel, but I had tons of fennel seeds in my spice cupboard so I simply assumed they were interchangeable? Anyway, for the spices part of the recipe, I ground the fennel and cumin seeds together in a grinder and sieved the resulting powder to eliminate any chunky bits. The ginger, nutmeg and black pepper were freshly grated/ground in order to extract their strongest aroma.
At the time of making this, I didn't have any regular green pears but what I did have was a sole Asian (or Chinese) pear in the fridge that knew it was somehow destined to be part of this soup. A red apple was also tossed in there to keep the pear company, as was a carrot because I had this theory that: 1. it (ie. the carrot) would add a lovely orange hue to the yellowish squash soup and 2. it would make up for the lack of mass due to using fennel seeds instead of the bulb. Of course, the whole theory bombed, as you may already have gathered.
Hearty goodness in 6 easy steps
By the way, ever notice how I like to list my points down in numerical form just to make things clear (in my head more than anything else)? It's an annoying, slap-worthy habit but I can't always stop myself from running off all these lists in my head...and yes, they invariably come out while I'm typing up my posts ;).
Garnish - the spring onion strips curled up when immersed in iced water
After blending, I found the soup to be the exact texture and consistency I wanted it to be. Not too thick nor too thin, which was absolutely lucky on my part, I suppose. The murky beige color was slightly off-putting though, probably the result of mixing the greens with orange-yellow squash, and not forgetting purple from the big onion!. Nevertheless, when the first spoonful entered my mouth... I found the euphony of flavors to be very pleasant and so comforting that my lips involuntarily turned upright into a big grin :-).
Singapore Airlines must be missing a soup spoon right now.
My online cooking group or Doristas will be rustling up their own variations of this squash soup, so if you would like to hop over here, you can have a look at theirs.
Have a gorgeous weekend!