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The Art of Soup Making

Everyone loves a hot mug of steaming soup. It’s warming, filling, and nutritional. 

‘At home there was always a pot of soup on the stove’ says Steven. ‘With a loaf of bread or a basket of rolls, it always amazed me how many friends and family could squeeze around the kitchen table!’

A basket of root veggies  - pumpkin, butternut, carrots, parsnips, onions and garlic form the basis for hearty winter soups. The addition of a ham hock, pearl barley, lamb shanks and seafood extends the repertoire significantly. Steven is a big fan of seafood chowder with big chunky pieces of fish. He also admits he enjoys sitting down to dinner of chunky leek and potato soup.

Steven’s secret for making delicious, tasty soup is to just cook the veggies enough and no more. As he says otherwise all the good nutrients disappear and all the soups begin to taste the same. ‘To my mind soup should have its own distinctive taste’.

As he says soup is so versatile, and it’s a great way to use up veggies and can be whipped up quickly. 

Steven shares two of his old time traditional favourites. The Thai Kumara Soup is quick and easy while the Lamb and Pearl Barley Broth takes a bit more planning and time. As he says a loaf of bread or a basket of buns straight from the oven and ‘you have a hearty, nutritional meal’. 

Thai Kumara Soup

1Kg Orange Kumara (Peeled and Diced)

2 Red Chili Diced

4 Banana Shallots Diced

60g Root Ginger Diced

4 Cloves Of Garlic Diced

100g Shredded Coconut

100g Almond Slivers

400ml Vegetable of Chicken Stock

Handful of Coriander (Separate the stalks from the leaves)

2Tbsp Coconut Sugar

Salt and Pepper

3Tbsp Oil

Place a pot on the heat with the oil. Begin to sautee the chilli, garlic, ginger and shallots. Once caramelised add the kumara and allow it to soak up the flavour in the pot and get a little colour.

After a few minutes add the coconut, almonds and coriander stalks and stir well. Season well with the coconut sugar, salt and pepper and cook for a further few minutes stirring every few seconds. Then cover with stock and cook on a medium heat until the kumara is soft but still holding its shape.

Remove from the heat and blitz in a food processor with the coriander leaves. To give the correct consistency you may not need all the stock for this. Return to the pot and check for seasoning and serve.

I like to garnish mine with a few toasted almonds and some chopped spring onions.

Lamb and Pearl Barley Broth

2 Lamb Shanks

1 Onion Diced

4 Cloves of Garlic

2 Sprigs of Rosemary

2 Red Onions Finely Diced

3 Cloves of Garlic Finely Diced

3 Sprigs of Thyme Chopped

1 Sprig of Rosemary Chopped

1 Large Carrot Peeled and Diced

1 Small Leek Diced

3 Sticks of Celery Diced

2/3 Cup Pearl Barley

500ml Chicken or Vegetable Stock

Salt and Pepper

4Tbsp Oil

In a hot pan with a little oil seal and colour the lamb shanks. Then add the first round of onions and garlic with the herbs and let them cook out.  Cover with water and seal with tin foil or a tight fitting lid. Leave on a low heat to cook for around 2-3 hours or when the meat is falling off the bone. Once cooked remove from the stock and pick the meat from the bone removing any fat as you go.

Whilst the lamb is cooking, cook the pearl barley in a pot with the chicken or vegetable stock. This will take around 50 minutes on a low heat. 

Once the first two stages are complete, begin to warm a pot with a little oil and add the garlic, onions and herbs and cook until they become translucent but no colour then add the leeks and cook for a few minutes. Then repeat with the carrots and celery and season well with salt and pepper. Pour the stock from the lamb shanks into the pot making sure you have discarded the onions and garlic in the stock. Cook on a medium heat or until the carrots begin to soften and then add the picked lamb meat and pearl barley mix well and check for seasoning and serve.

Tips to Up Your Fly-Fishing Game

To perfect any sport it all comes down to the basics and practice. It is always useful no matter how experienced to be reminded of those basics and no better person than Camille Egdorf. Camille won the Women’s Big Fish Division at the 2016 2 Fly X-Stream event at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado. Here are three tips Camille believes you should focus on.

A Good Cast Is All in the Wrist

Your wrist should be straight, with no bend or break but relaxed enough that casting feels like “painting the sky with a paintbrush in a ten-to-two motion,” says Egdorf. Part of mastering the wrist action is letting the rod work for you, as it’s designed to match and carry the weight of whatever line you’re using. When you get the hang of it, your cast will feel smooth and fluid. “It’s kind of like riding a bike. Once you figure it out, it’s really hard to forget,” Egdorf says.

Focus on Accuracy, Not Distance

Short accurate casts are the key. If you spook the fish you lose the opportunity to net it. It seems obvious to aim your fly to land above your target but not always that easy to execute. “When you spot your fish, you want to be accurate enough or confident enough in your casting that you’re going to be able to lay it out in the first cast,” says Egdorf. The opportunities for success can diminish with each subsequent cast. Practice makes perfect and then, wind and vegetation step in.

Know How to Fight the Fish

Egdorf says keeping constant tension on the line (meaning no slack) is necessary to landing your catch. Keep the rod high and the line pulled tight. “If the fish goes one direction, you want to point your rod in the opposite direction,” says Egdorf. If you let the tension go, the fish can easily slip away.

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