I just love going to our market place (or any farmers’ market) in summer. It’s beautifully colourful with all the fresh, local vegetables, berries, flowers and other goodies. One of my favourite summer morning activities is to cycle there, have a little breakfast at one of the outdoor kiosks there, and then do my shopping. Just got to remember to have plenty of cash as most of the stalls (often run by individual farmers) don’t accept any plastic cards!
One of our family’s recent favourite summer dishes is a traditional Finnish “summer soup”. Funny enough, I used to hate it as a child, and so did our daughter, as it took both of us quite some time to get the taste of any cooked vegetables. We only ate cold, raw vegetables as children! In fact, once going through some old photographs, I noticed that in very many of them our daughter had a raw carrot in her hands! It was only later that I decided to prepare this soup that used to be one of my mum’s summer favourites. And since then, we’ve got to love its mild, summery taste, too.
The secret is in choosing all fresh ingredients and prepare it from scratch. No tinned peas or ready-cut frozen bags of vegetables for this one! Carrots will be “Bugs Bunny”-style with their green stalks on, and the peas will be individually shelled. Preparing the vegetables takes some time but I find it really relaxing, especially as you get to eat some of them raw while doing it.
INGREDIENTS (for 4 portions)
- about 400-500 g of small NEW potatoes
- 1 fresh cauliflower (c. 400 g)
- 1 fresh onion
- 3-4 carrots
- about 3 dl of fresh peas
- a handful of fresh spinach leaves
- 1 l vegetable stock
- 4 dl milk
- 2 tbsp regular wheat flour
- 1 knob of butter
- pinch of salt if needed
- herbs (eg. parsley or dill)
THIS IS WHAT YOU DO
- Peel and slice the carrots, chop the cauliflower into small florets, peel the potatoes and cut them in half, chop the onion (you can also use some of the stalk). I always prefer to use the very small round new potatoes for this soup. Although normally, I would just brush them before boiling, leaving some of the goodness of the peels on, for a soup I prefer peeling them.
- Cook the vegetables in the vegetable stock for about 15 minutes.
- Add the peas and the rinsed spinach leaves.
- Mix the flour and the milk and add into the soup. Cook until all the vegetables are done (not too soft, though, as you’d want a nice mouthfeel!).
- Add the herbs of your choice. I seem to always go for dill as that’s our traditional herb with new potatoes here in Finland.
- To finish with, add the knob of butter, which really rounds up the taste nicely.
Enjoy the summer soup with a cheese sandwich. Here in Finland, it would, of course, be dark, rye bread and some emmental or gouda-style cheese.
A BOWLFUL OF SUMMER!