Lorraine, the beautiful ex ballerina, petite and graceful whose skills in the kitchen shone through in the classics she made. It was Lorraine that introduced me to many classical french flavour combinations, to the pillowy soft wonders of fresh homemade real vanilla bean ice cream and to cheesecake, light and flavourful. A new soup was on the stove almost daily, utilising fresh in season produce, always made with patience and grace. In my mind she almost floats, with small pirouettes performed intermittently, her hands gracefully tossing ingredients into stockpots with all the demure of Audrey Hepburn and dressed as though replacing her in Breakfast At Tiffanies. Her generosity in the kitchen, her patience and her grace have all inspired me as a cook. It was Lorraine that first brought Potato and leek soup in all it’s velvety and creamy glory to my attention.
My home is currently in a state of unorder, chaos and just plain mess. Renovations, to turn a small tired and rental abused early 80’s house into a little homely beach shack. In this state of inconsistency and chaos my heart desires comfort. Meals that are flavourful and reminiscent of moments from the past. Of Ghosts.
This is in honor to the memories of happy and homely images of Lorraine and all that she taught me. The flavours of the earthy starch from the potato married with the herbs and creaminess that the cashews bring to the soup transport me to cold winter mountain days, the smell of incense, colourful woolen blankets and endless cups of chai. It removes the chaotic feeling from current life and replaces it with home and heart.
As is said in 100 hundred mile journey “Food is memory”
The soup is highly nutritious with the use of bone broth and low GI white potatoes. Although I have used bone broth for the veloute/soup base for maximum health benefits for a vegan or vegetarian just substitute with a good quality vegetable stock (preferably one that you have made yourself).
Potato, Leek and Cashew Veloute
1kg White potatoes peeled and 1cm cubed
1 leek halved, washed and thinly sliced
2/3 cup cashews
1 – 1 1/2 litre chicken bone broth or good quality stock (to make vegan/vego use a good quality veg stock)
salt and pepper
3 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
Basil flowers, herbs and oil for serving (optional)
In a large heavy based saucepan on medium heat add some oil and bring to temperature.
Add the leeks and sweat off stirring until softened and translucent, around 5 minutes.
Add the potato and heat stirring for a further 5 minutes.
Add the Bone broth/stock until the potato in covered with 2-3cm of the stock. Add the cashews and herbs and stir to incorporate.
Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook with a slight simmer for 1hr – 1 1/2hr or until your potatoes are fully cooked and soft.
Once cooked remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the herb stalks, then in batches, blitz in a blender on high until a smooth creamy consistence is achieved. Once blended you can also pass the soup through a fine mesh sieve (but I never do for home). If the soup has too thick a consistency just add some stock or water to thin. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper until you get it to your taste.
To serve bring the veloute back up to temperature, place in serving bowls and decorate with extra salt, pepper, oil, herbs and edible herb flowers.
The soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
If you don’t have a high speed blender a hand mixer or food processor is just fine.
If you want a more pronounced leek flavour through the veloute feel free to add another leek to the recipe in the second step then carry on as per recipe.
The recipe is easily adaptable to vegan or vegetarian by replacing the chicken stock with a good quality vegetable stock.