As usual, as soon as the temperatures are rising noticeably, people get too greedy with soaking up every sunbeam they can catch – and a lot of them not only catch some vitamin d… they also catch a cold. The annual bout of spring-colds is making the rounds and I for my part seriously don’t feel like joining the sneeze choir. Actually, since I’ve found myself flat on my (red) nose three times – three out of three times during our vacations (yay for AC’s on full tilt in hotels and airplanes…) – last year, I simply refuse to get sick this year at all~!
So, even more than usual, I pay attention to the nutritional value of the food on our plates and make sure to grab as many of the good guys in the nutrient business as I can possibly achieve with one spoon. So far, so good, I even dodged catching hubby’s intense 12-round bout of the flu! Anyways, this weekend the temperatures finally crossed the magical Spring-mark, so hubby and I literally jumped out at the chance to enjoy our first outdoorsy dinner of the year, comfortably sitting outside on our favorite Italian’s patio with a glass of wine and a yumtastic slice or three of Carlo’s finest. Naturally, an early-spring taste of summer ends quite abruptly with the sun dipping below the treeline, though. We made our way back home before it got uncomfy, but still… I had that nagging feeling I needed to do something evasive-maneuvery about it the next day. I decided to tip my hat to the beautiful sunset that accompanied our dinner the previous night and slam the door in the face of the sudden chill trailing its wake at the same time with a heart-and-soul warming, healthy soup containing a merry bunch of the usual suspects you look at when it comes to fending off an impending cold. Here we go~!
The amounts listed will net you 4 healthy hugs in a bowl~
The Tomato-Coconut & Kumquat Soup and the Prawns
3 Oranges, zest of one, juice of all
1 Brown Onion, finely diced
2 Cloves of Garlic, very finely diced
4cm Fresh Ginger, skinned and very finely chopped
12 Kumquats, sliced into 3-4 pretty disks each – keep the ends to the side, they’ll help orange-up the broth
1 Tbsp Butter
500g Tin of Cherry Tomatoes, preserved in Tomato Juice
400ml Low-fat Coconut Milk
400ml Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp Concentrated Tomato Purée
1 heaped Tbsp Garam Marsala
1 Tsp Cumin
½ – 1 Tsp Chilli Flakes
1 Tsp Orange-infused Oil
Alt: 1 Tsp Vegetable Oil and a few scrapes more of Orange Zest
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
12 King or Black Tiger Prawns, cleaned and shelled – should you decide to serve them on skewers rather than letting them loose in the soup, make sure to soak the skewers in water before sliding on the prawns to keep the wood from burning in the pan
½ Tsp Turmeric
Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper to taste
A couple of coriander leaves
1) Place a large pot on medium heat and drizzle the bottom with the orange-infused oil.
2) Once it takes on some heat, add the onions, give them a good stir and allow them to sweat for 1 min before adding the garlic and the ginger.
3) Sauté the lot until the onions turn translucent.
4) Deglaze the pot with the orange juice. Once you’ve caught every bit of yum sticking to the bottom of the pot, stir in the chilli flakes, coconut milk and the tomatoes, juice and all.
5) Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture up to a boil.
6) Allow the liquids to bubble away for 2 mins, then add the stock, tomato purée, garam marsala and cumin before turning down the heat to medium and leaving the lot to its own devices for 20 mins. Pop in the kumquat ends at this point in case you’re itching for an orangey boost in your bowl.
7) About 12-14 mins into the soup’s bubble time, take care of the prawns – start by popping a large pan or griddle onto medium-high heat and adding the butter.
8) Add the kumquat slices, prawns and a hint of oil to a mixing bowl, generously dust them with salt, pepper as well as the turmeric and give the lot a good toss until the spices are evenly distributed.
9) Place them in the piping hot pan and allow the lot to sizzle for one minute before flipping them over for another minute on the second side.
10) Tip them out into a wide bowl for the time being and finish off the soup~
11) Take the pot off the heat, remove the kumquat ends and transfer the soup into the jug of a blender or a stick-blender friendly container. Add the orange zest and a generous pinch each of salt, pepper and brown sugar.
12) Thoroughly whizz the soup into a smooth and silky liquid, then have a taste. Adjust the seasoning with more salt, chilli flakes, garam marsala, orange juice or sugar if necessary.
13) Pour the soup back into the pot and set it to medium-low heat to warm through again. Give the soup 2 mins, then pour them into serving bowls, top each serving with a couple of kumquat slices and arrange the prawns on top just before serving.
14) A sprinkling of coriander leaves later, you’ll be ready to arm yourself with a spoon and…