A welcome change of scenery this week as I sit in my grandparents house, surrounded by family filled photo frames, my nan's ever growing collection of peace lilies and a different patterned fabric on every curtain, carpet and chair in every room. This little home away from home is in Waterford, Ireland, and I've been coming here with my mum and brother all my life. I love how we still make the journey together now.
Ireland is a beautiful country and for me, filled with happy memories. Sure it rains a lot. It's raining now. But who can begrudge what keeps the Irish landscape so green. The hills, mountains and coastline look stunning whatever the weather, and no trip here would be complete without being blown along Tramore beach - a place that can clear away the cobwebs at anytime of year.
As Instagram, Pinterest and all my favourite food blogs would suggest, it's soup season, and rightly so. I've certainly been enjoying plenty of hot, creamy bowls of delicious soup and getting limitless inspiration from the foodie world. However this recipe is one I've been making for quite a few years now and is a real family favourite. The topping is something I've added recently and I love the contrasting crunch from the toasted nuts and seeds.
No one needs to be sold on the benefits of broccoli as a healthy food, it's packed with vitamin C and also a great source of potassium and fibre, but above all else, it tastes wonderful. Roasted, steamed, fried with a drizzle of lemon - the flavour of this super green could never disappoint me.
Ingredients for the soup
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 large white onion
1 large head of broccoli
Half a sweed
2 cloves of garlic
800ml vegetable stock
Ingredients for the topping
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pine nuts
Warm the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Finely chop the onion and cut the broccoli into small florets, then peel the broccoli stalk, and chop this into rough chunks. Add all the onion and broccoli to the pan and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
Peel and chop the sweed into small chunks and add this to the pan with the finely sliced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for a few minutes before adding the vegetable stock. Bring the pan to the boil for 8-10 minutes, or until the broccoli and sweed are soft. Puree in a blender or food processor and season to taste - I love a generous helping of cracked black pepper.
For the topping, place the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pine nuts in a dry frying pan on a medium/high heat. Keep your eye on the pan, regularly moving the seeds and nuts around to ensure they toast evenly. This should only take a few minutes.
To serve, simply scatter the crunchy topping over bowls of hot broccoli soup. I also like to add a drizzle of tahini mixed with a squeeze of lemon juice and finish with some fresh chopped parsley.