Tastes are a funny thing. I have definite taste preferences and they often vary quite wildly from Mr NQN's. I like salty and sweet and don't like bitter very much at all having never grown up with much bitter food as my mother doesn't like it and therefore never prepared bitter tasting foods. Mr NQN on the other hand loves all things sweet and juicy (which could be perhaps traced back to the fact that he was breast fed until he was 5 years old - hey, at least it's not 15 years old right? ;) ) and he doesn't mind bitter. His face will light up when I bring him a bowl of fruit salad but remain nonplussed when I bring him an aged beef steak with crispy duck fat potatoes. And it is why I barely get excited at most fruit unless it has been tasted by him and declared "sweet" (unless it's figs, cherries or other reliably sweet fruit) and why I'll avoid things like witlof and bitter melon.
Case in point about my sweet preference, I prefer red and yellow capsicums which are lovely and sweet and I never choose green capsicums which are less so. So when I spied some lovely red capsicum at the market I grabbed a kilo of them knowing that I'd caramelise them. I tend to cook things that bring our the natural sweetness in items and roasting vegetables such as carrots and capsicum brings out the sugars caramelising them beautifully.
Cheese pockets sound all very exotic (and don't we wish we had pockets made out of cheese that we could snack on during the day?) but in essence they're just little cubes of cheese, whatever you fancy really, made soft and gooey by the hot soup. They float throughout this soup and so every mouthful or so you'll encounter a little cheesey pocket of goodness. I've specified about 200grams of cheese which is a lot I know but if you're serving people that 50grams of cheese per person which is not too unhealthy amount. And this soup does improve the day after and the day after that (if there's any left).
So tell me Dear Reader, do you ever carry food in your bag or pocket for a snack and if so, what do you carry?
Roasted Capsicum and Carrot Soup with Cheese Pockets
Serves 3-4 people
650g/1.4 pounds red capsicum
300g/10.5 ozs carrot
2 red onions
3 cloves garlic
6 cups vegetable stock
50ml/1.7 fl. oz. cream (optional)
Approximately 200g/7ozs. cheese of your choice (remember the more cheese the merrier ;) ) cut into cubes.
You will also need a stick blender, blender of food processor.
Sliced capsicums (although you don't need to slice them up as much as this)
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 200c/400F. Remove the seeds and green top of the capsicum and slice up the capsicum - you don't have to slice it as much as I did as it will all get blitzed up together. Add chopped up carrot, peeled and quartered onion. Roast for 1 hour. Add garlic in it's skin after 30 minutes baking.
Doesn't look too appetising here but never fear...
The blitz is here!
Step 2 - Allow to cool slightly. Heat up stock in a large saucepan and add the capsicum, carrot and onion. Peel garlic out of its skin and add this along with the teaspoon of sugar. Heat up and simmer for 15 minutes and then process in blender or food processor-be careful it will be hot so you may want to cool it a little. Once processed, put back on the stove to keep warm and add in cream here if you are using it.
Step 3 - Heat serving bowls and ladle into bowls while piping hot. Drop cheese cubes into hot soup and wait for a few minutes while cheese starts to melt and then serve.