Master these tasty soups and salads by Rory O'Connell
Having a few good techniques up your sleeve is helpful for all cooks, and being able to make delicious, seasonal and nourishing soups and a salad of fresh leaves is useful in any kitchen.
The recipes I have chosen here are a good illustration of this point. When these skills are mastered, you can expand and respond to the best ingredients of each season, thereby getting better quality and value for money – and also keeping the food in your kitchen exciting.
Take the green vegetable soup: it's not an earth-shatteringly exciting title, but when properly made to achieve a brilliant green colour and a silky smooth consistency, it is delicious and smart enough to serve in any company. The potato thickens, the onion adds punch and the green vegetable of choice is the dominant flavour. This recipe can be a friend to you right through the year.
The carrot, coconut and lemongrass soup is certainly more exotic in name and relies on a more varied shopping list, but involves a similar technique to its green cousin.
Exactly the same points can be made about the salad recipes. A salad of leaves is a year-round staple which reacts to the best of what is available in your garden or the shops. At the moment, I am adding leaves and flowers from my pea and broadbean plants, as well as mint and the rampant wild chickweed and bittercress which seem intent on colonising my garden.
The beef salad, like the carrot soup, relies on more exotic flavours, but will require you to approach the preparation and serving of the leaf element of the recipe with the same care as you apply to the bowl of greens.
From Rory O'Connell's book 'Master It: How To Cook Today'; £25, published by Fourth Estate