We had a power outage this afternoon in Wellington. I'm glad I wasn't stuck in an elevator when it struck, or halfway through roasting a chicken, because that would not have been fun at all. No drama for me though - all it meant was sitting round in the foyer at work reading up on policies and then scooting home early. When I got there the new Cuisine magazine had arrived in the mail, like a warm gamma ray of electricity in an otherwise dimly lit afternoon. We're heading up to Auckland tomorrow so I didn't want to make anything huge for dinner that would leave us with piles of leftovers. I found this soup recipe within the pages of Cuisine - and yes, it has been cold enough lately in Wellington to start getting all soupy again - and something about the complete simplicity of the ingredients appealed to me.
The recipe was a bit oddly vague in places so the following is slightly adapted. This recipe is boxfresh - only Cuisine subscribers will have seen it so far so...scoop!
Roast Garlic, White Bean, and Bread Soup
From the May issue of Cuisine (one day they'll interview me, one day!)
20 cloves garlic (try to get really good stuff that will actually taste like garlic)
2 large onions
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 litre chicken, vegetable, or (my favourite) porcini stock
400g tin butter beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Parsely and chervil to serve (I used basil, it's what I had)
1 cup sourdough croutons
Peel the garlic cloves and roast them in a little olive oil at 180 C/350 F for about half an hour till soft. I did this by wrapping them into a pouch of tinfoil and then wrapping that in another layer of tinfoil - keeps them soft and saves on dishes.
Once this is on its way, slice the onions into half-moons and gently fry in a little olive oil till soft and golden. This will take a while, so by the time they're good and soft the garlic should be ready. Mash the cloves with a fork (including the oil they were roasted in) and add them to the pan along with the thyme and the paprika. Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer, and tip in the beans. Simmer till the beans are well heated through and season well. Serve with the parsley, chervil and croutons (I didn't have sourdough so just used some regular bread, cut into cubes and tossed with a little olive oil, and chucked them in the oven which I'd just turned off, the remaining heat turned them into croutons.)
Serves about 6. Nice with a bread roll or scone on the side.
This made for a seriously perfect chilly-evening dinner, the ingredients coming together to make a hearty but still elegant soup that seemed awesomely European, even though I have no real clue if this has any actual continental background or if the author just made it up on the spot. Sometimes just feeling European is enough. The softly flavoured beans, the fantastically garlicky broth, and the still-crisp croutons sinking into it were a rather stunning combination. Worth mucking round with bits of garlic for. This recipe reminded me why soup is so brilliant, even if it's not as sexy as some other dinner options.
So, like I said, we're heading up to Auckland tomorrow. I can't wait to catch up with the whanau - I haven't been home since Laneways and it's really not very often that I get to go up to Auckland just to see family without any work agenda. We're going to see the Auckland Music Theatre production of RENT - and when I say we, I mean my whole family and Tim - and I am so excited about seeing it on a big stage by such a renowned company. I don't need to outline how much I love RENT here, you know I've done it enough before, and I don't need anyone to outline its shortcomings to me - I'm well aware of them too. I'm a little trepidatious about how this cast is going to work out but I think overall it will be a very, very good time. And I'm just really happy to see RENT being performed on such a visible scale in New Zealand. Between this, and Idina Menzel appearing on Glee, it feels like it's all starting to come together...
I've actually been avoiding RENT for a little while now so it can be particularly impacty when I see it on Saturday. Other than that...
Love of My Life by Erykah Badu featuring Common from the Brown Sugar soundtrack...a sweet ode to hip hop music, this video is just as gold as the song itself (not least because of the clips of Idina Menzel's husband, the lovely Taye Diggs). Watching Erykah Badu makes me never want to cut my hair ever again. Found out today that Common is doing a couple of shows in Auckland in June, quiiite keen to go along...
Superboy and the Invisible Girl from the Broadway cast recording of Next To Normal. This was the very first song from this musical that I ever heard, and it had been a long time since I'd heard lyrics this beautiful and innovative and poetic in any genre of music, not to mention a guitar riff as alluring. OH how I'd love to see this show, Alice Ripley and the rest of the stunning cast will have to amaze me from afar till such time as I do...
Next time: You can safely bet that I'll be quoting RENT at you.