A couple of weeks ago I was approached by the kind folks who work for Jamie Oliver and they wanted to know if I’d be interested in creating a soup from a box of fresh veggies that they would have delivered from Aussie Farmer’s Direct.
You know this has been an extremely busy week for me but I think what Jamie is doing to convince people to cook quick, fresh meals from simple ingredients is nothing short of amazing. Far too long, especially in this “convenience” world we live in, families rely on processed food from a box on a shelf or from the freezer section in the supermarket.
Those foods might be fine on a special occasion but most of us know that we can whip up a meal in not much more time than it takes to heat up that box of food with ingredients we can’t pronounce nor spell. I was eager to participate and on Tuesday my box arrived.
The produce I received from Aussie Farmer’s Direct was beautiful. It looked like the basil had been picked 10 minutes before they sealed the box. It was that fresh. The celery had a crunch that can only come from freshness.
May 17th, today is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day. It’s not about raising money, although that’s not a bad thing, it’s about raising awareness of what we can do to feed our family healthy, nutritious local food. Everyone can participate in the Food Revolution.
Why did Jamie choose soup as his food challenge?
- Quick Food – Soups are quick and easy to prepare, especially if you’ve got a blender or a food processor.
- Eating seasonally – soups can cater for any season. Try using vegetables that are in season, as it will not only taste good, but will save you money too.
- Practical – most soups are easy to freeze so you can just warm them through quickly when you need them.
- Nutrition – soup makes a really nutritious meal, as you can load them with vegetables.
- Thrifty – Soup is a great way to use up veggies when they’re just on the turn.
- Restorative – there’s nothing quite like a delicious, warm and spicy soup to keep the cold out on a winter’s day.
- Don’t throw away that roast chicken carcass – make stock from the bones and use it as a delicious base for your soups.
- You can also use root vegetables, rice, pasta or even stale bread to bulk up a soup, making it a complete meal on its own.
- Full of Flavour – tear in soft fresh herbs like basil, parsley and mint or try bashing up soft fresh herbs like basil and parsley and mixing them with some olive oil and lemon juice.
- Fun – Try Toasting seeds or nuts and sprinkling over soups to create some different textures.
- For special occasions to pimp up your soup, all sorts of cheeses can be crumbled and grated over or try a nice dollop of natural yoghurt.
You can tweet your creations using the hashtag #FRD2013 or tag @FoodRev to let them know you’re on board. Everyone should be encouraged to learn cooking skills and as food bloggers and food writers, it might be up to us to convince our families, friends and acquaintances about how easy it is to get a meal on the table.
The United States and Australia are two of the most obese countries in the world. Many people stick to highly processed foods because they lack the confidence they need to cook at home. Soup is a great place to start. Cook and taste and season until it’s just like you want it to be.
This whole week has been centered around the Noosa International Food and Wine Show which is only 30 minutes from home. Seeing all the passionate food lovers makes me realise just how lucky we are to have fresh food to cook with.
My box had a pumpkin, large beautiful hand of fresh ginger, a potato, apples, a large leek and much more. I decided I could make a lovely soup out of just that and make some kale chips as a topping.
- 550 grams pumpkin, roughly chopped
- 2 apples peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp roughly grated ginger
- 1 potato peeled and roughly chopped
- 2½ cups chicken stock (or whatever you prefer)
- ¼ cup cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- light grating of nutmeg
- 1 small onion chopped
- vegetable oil to sauté onion
- Heat a small skillet, add vegetable oil and sauté onion until translucent.
- Add ginger and stir well.
- Place onions and ginger into a large pot and add the remaining ingredients (except salt, pepper and nutmeg) and simmer gently until vegetables are tender.
- Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Return to saucepan, add cream and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Serve with chopped fresh herbs or kale chips.