Rowan Bishop’s vegetarian kitchen, 192pp.
by Rowan Bishop
David Bateman, Auckland, New Zealand, 2011
Cooking on page 32
I’m always pleased to come across a New Zealand chef whose work I haven’t seen before. Rowan Bishop is certainly not new to the food scene. She’s been writing food, travel and general interest columns for more than 30 years, but this is my first encounter with her.
She wrote her first cookbook, Vegetarian Adventure, with Sue Carruthers. It was published in 1996—when vegetarian eating was often viewed as ‘fanatical’ and ‘fringe’—and was extremely popular.
I checked this out from the library—have never seen her work in local bookshops.
Coincidentally, an earlier page-32 recipe from another New Zealand chef, Digby Law, was similar to this offering.
Leek ‘n’ lentil soup
350 g trimmed leeks, white part only
50 g butter
1/3 cup red lentils, washed and drained
1 small to medium-sized potato (about 150 g), peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 Tbsp ground coriander
375 ml vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cream
2 spring onions, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Slice the leeks in half lengthwise, then into thin slices across (about 4 mm). Wash thoroughly and drain.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan and sauté the prepared leeks for 3 minutes, stirring. Stir in the lentils, potato, garlic and coriander and continue to sauté until the leeks soften.
Stir in the stock and water, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over a low–medium heat for 15–20 minutes.
Transfer the cooked leek mixture to a food processor and puree with the cream, spring onions if using and parsley, reserving 2 tablespoons of the parsley for garnish. The spring onions embolden the flavour of the soup but are not strictly necessary.
Return the soup to the saucepan and reheat to simmer point. Add a little more water if the mixture is too thick, and check the seasoning.
Ladle into heated bowls and garnish with a swirl of extra cream if desired, and the reserved parsley. Serve immediately.
How it played out
We’re soup lovers and these are the kinds of ingredients I almost always have on hand. So I was able to whip this up, as written, for our weekend soup supply. I used a stick blender to puree the soup. What a nifty kitchen tool.
The spring onions are a great addition, as are the lentils. The introduction to the recipe said the lentils would add body and, even though we couldn’t taste them, they did exactly that. In future, I might toss a handful of lentils into more soups.
If you have a moment, be sure to check out my travel blog. We’re in France at the moment, soaking up language, culture and way too much food.