I had forgotten how cold Sydney can get in winter. After living in Canada for so long, the thought of a Sydney winter didn't scare me a bit. I laughed defiantly at a city that has never seen a snowflake fall. Bring it on!
How wrong I was. It's cold. I'm wearing two pairs of socks while I type this...and a beanie.
Sydney, it seems, is in denial of the reality of its winters. In Vancouver, it could be 3 degrees outside yet I would be merrily cavorting around the house in a pair of shorts because it was always an agreeable 20 degrees. Here, I am forced into an immature, roller-coaster relationship with my heater who burns my ankles until I can't take it anymore and turn him off. But then...the house seems so cold without him and I find myself soon inviting him back under the table.
Whenever it's cold, I turn to soups. This asparagus and creme fraiche soup however is one that can be eaten in winter or summer. In colder weather I usually have it quite thick which means it's not strained and contains all the nutritious vegetable pulp. In summer, for something lighter, I strain the soup which results in a smooth, velvety broth.
Asparagus Soup with Creme Fraiche
2 bunches of asparagus (approx. 400 grams), washed
750 ml of good quality chicken or vegetable stock
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 medium yellow potato, peeled & cubed
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of sea salt
Freshly ground pepper for seasoning
1/3 cup of creme fraiche
- Trim off the tough ends of the asparagus and place them in a saucepan with the stock. Simmer over a medium heat.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in another saucepan over a medium heat. Saute the onion and celery for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the potato cubes and season with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and a little pepper. Fry for another 4 minutes, adding a little more olive oil if the saucepan gets dry.
- Strain the stock and discard the asparagus ends. Add stock to the saucepan with the onions and simmer for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Add remaining salt and stir.
- Coarsely chop the asparagus spears and add them to the saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes but no longer otherwise they'll lose their vibrant green colour.
- Add the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer soup back to the saucepan and cover.
- Heat the creme fraiche on a low heat in a small saucepan and then stir it into the asparagus soup.
- Heat the soup gently over a low heat and continue stirring until the creme fraiche is mixed in.
- You can either serve the soup as is or for a smoother consistency, simply strain the soup using a sieve and discard the pulp.