Friday, 10 February 2012

Soup of the week: sweet potato gratin laksa (yes, really - it's delicious!)

Just as I am sure that the River Cottage event barn will soon rise from the ashes and be restored to its former glory, I too have created triumph from my own Hugh tragedy, albeit on a much smaller scale – all hail sweet potato gratin 'laksa' soup

Although admittedly the sweet potato gratin wasn’t a total disaster when I served it for supper last night, I wasn’t particularly relishing a straightforward re-heat for lunch. The Husband had made an impromptu reappearance after pranging his car on the way to work, but he too declined, on the basis that he still had his sandwiches. Personally, I feel that this was a poor excuse to avoid manning up, but there we go.

However, that still left me with the lunch problem - I hadn't made myself sandwiches. Soup was the only thing I could really think of. I had about a quarter of the gratin left over, maybe a little less, so I made up some marigold bouillon powder – about ¾ litre and tipped the stock and the gratin into a pan and heated it up. A quick whoosh with the handheld blender and it was looking promising, but perhaps missing something. The inspiration struck. Some of you may remember that we came away from the scout jamboree in the summer with various Dutch delicacies (and some not so delicacies), including some rather fine thai-ish chilli paste stuff. It bears the recognisable label of ‘sambal’ emblazoned in the front of the jar and some Buddhist type images. Well, this is still going strong in the fridge, and I decided that it was just what my soup needed. I was right. I added one teaspoon, then another one. Totally transformed it. It was the best soup I’ve had all week and actually made me glad that I had made the gratin last night. Whooshed together, the gratin flavours combined and with the stock, it was much less rich but still really tasty. The peanut butter/lime flavours really came out which I think was missing a little from the gratin itself because of the texture of the peanut butter. The chilli sauce really lifted it too, and the overall result reminded me of a gorgeous laksa that I had once in a restaurant in Soho in London called Melati. I am thinking that a combination of the sweet potato, plus the peanut butter/lime paste mix and some coconut milk would work as a pretty good curry. Perhaps I will try it one day.

So there you go. Not a long blog, but a happy one. Welcome to the weekend.

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