Fennel & Celery Soup

Fennel & Celery Soup | Fig & Honey

I find the holidays are a bit difficult when it comes to making good food choices.  There are just so many goodies everywhere I look, it’s hard not to indulge every minute of the day. For me, food and family time are incredibly intertwined. Spending time with the family means spending time in the kitchen or just enjoying all sorts of food together. Meals are always shared and both new and old recipes are tried and tested.

These days, since we only get to see our families once or twice a year, we’re always making up for lost time.  This means an abundance of my childhood favorites and things that only my mother can make. I’m quite sure the pounds are creating a nice layer around my belly at this point.  After a good couple weeks however, I’m in need of a breather.  A little detox from all the indulgent food and wine. Something light but still satisfying. This soup is the perfect solution.

I have to admit, neither fennel nor celery are my favorite vegetables. Sometimes fennel is a bit too sweet and aniseed-y. Celery is too watery and requires far too much chewing. Somehow though, the combination of the two really makes something special.

Fennel & Celery Soup | Fig & Honey

This soup is perfect for this time of year.  Still wintery and great for the holidays but also a light and healthy option before the New Years eating starts! The flavor is rich but the soup is light. It probably won’t stand out in a crowd, but it will make your tummy happy.

I first tried this combination while in a cute cafe in Berlin. For me it was an unlikely combo but I ended up loving it. I’ve substituted potatoes for all the cream and think its a pretty healthy choice!

Fennel & Celery Soup | Fig & Honey

Fennel & Celery Soup

Serves 2

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g white portion of leek, finely sliced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 200 g celery stalk, medium dice (about 2 cups)
  • 200 g fennel bulb, medium dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1 l vegetable broth (about 4 cups)
  • 260 g potatoes, small dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat with the olive oil.  Add the leek, celery and fennel and let sweat for 3-5 minutes, stirring often.  Turn down the heat to medium-low and cover. Let the veggies cook for a further 15 minutes or so until everything is softened.

Turn up the heat again and add in the veggie broth, potatoes and the white pepper.  Let boil partially covered for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are fully cooked.

Transfer everything to a blender and blend til completely smooth.  Pour back into the saucepan and thin with up to a cup of water.

Top with fried leeks if desired. Just julienne the leeks into 3 inch strips and flash fry in a shallow pan. Strain and place on a paper towel to soak up the extra oil.

Advertisements

Ricotta Gnocchi in Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce

Ricotta Gnocci in Roasted Tomato Sauce | Fig & Honey

When you have a great gnocchi dish it’s just about the best thing ever.  It’s amazingly light and airy and just melts in your mouth. Paired with a brown butter sage sauce.  It’s a texture taste combo that I often crave.  However, more often than not, I find when I order gnocchi, it comes back heavy and dense and absolutely smothered in cream.  Not a very good combination to say the least.  So you can understand when I say I’ve always been a bit nervous to try making these doughy pillows myself.

So in hopes of avoiding failure, I decided to go with these ricotta gnocchi.  They’re slightly easier and more often lighter than their potato based counterparts.

Ricotta Gnocci in Roasted Tomato Sauce | Fig & Honey

Continue Reading

Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassie

These little tartlets are just the perfect size and pack a very tasty punch.  They’re very much like a miniature pecan pie. Perfect for tea time (my obsession) or as a “light” dessert.

I have actually made these twice now. Once with pecans while in the states, once with walnuts. The ones in the picture are, as you can see, made with walnuts.  For some reason, Germans have an aversion to pecans (this is my theory anyway).

I visited about four different supermarkets looking for pecans in any shape or form and came up short.  Not only are they not available next to the 4 varieties of hazelnuts (chopped, sliced, ground, whole), 7 varieties of almonds (chopped, sliced, ground, slivered, whole, blanched, and marzipan-ed), and every other type of nut in the world, they cannot be found in any baked good or processed food anywhere.

Continue Reading

Pumpkin & Feta Quiche

quiche-3

With such mild weather here in this part of the world, I’m fully embracing autumn.  All the orange colored vegetables are out in the supermarkets and the apples are everywhere to be seen.  You know it’s autumn here when the tasty Federweisser (fresh pressed white grapes that have started fermentation) can be found just about everywhere.  Though I’m a summer and hot weather girl inside an out and I dread its end every year, I secretly enjoy this time of year. Probably because I love the food traditions that come with it!

Somehow the changing leaves and fresh cold air make me crave pumpkin.  Pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin muffins, roasted pumpkin, and now pumpkin and feta quiche.  This recipe is inspired by an amazing brunch in Prague that served up huge individual quiches filled high with chunks of creamy pumpkin and tangy feta.  This is my take on that great meal.  The almond crust adds nuttiness to the rich flavours of the filling and the rosemary and sage really make it taste like Fall.

pumpkin

 

Continue Reading

Mung Bean Curry

mung bean curry
I love cooking. I really do.  I love discovering new ingredients, new cuisines and most of all unusual combinations.  However, there are many nights where the last possible thing I want to think about is whats for dinner.  Whats for Dinner.  Quite possibly the worst phrase ever.  Sometimes its not the actual act of cooking that makes you dread the evening meal, its just the thought process of having to come up with something new and exciting, or healthy and filling day in day out.  Other times its the lack of energy to get the groceries and decipher a new and complicated recipe. On those days, mung bean curry is probably my favorite choice.

read more

Nutella Cupcakes

nutella cupcakes

Who doesn’t love a bit of Nutella in their life? These cupcakes hit the spot when you’re craving something seriously chocolatey and creamy (which I often do).  As rich as they are, sometimes one is just not enough!

They’re so quick and easy to make that you can always whip up a batch when that craving hits! A bit dangerous really.

Continue Reading

Carrot Cake

carrot cake

Carrot cake isn’t one of those show stopping cakes.  It isn’t piled high with layers and decorated with lots of frosting.  However, in my opinion its one of the tastiest and easiest to make.  Its one of those cakes that tastes better every day that you leave it making it a treat for as many days as you can manage to keep it from being finished! This is my favorite recipe for this cake – once you’ve tried it you will never look for another!

read more