Last month I did a review of 805 Foods Chilli sauces (which you can see here) and I’m now focusing on a different product of theirs, seasonings! These seasonings are not actually for sale through their website yet but they are coming very soon (possibly this weekend!)! They sent me four different flavours and I started with the Ras El Hanout because it is one of my favourite spices to use and I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it – Soup!
I haven’t tasted all of these spices yet but I love the packaging, it’s really clean and simple and it made me excited to get started! I like the fact that there are four regions North, East, South and West so you feel like you’re getting a true taste of Africa. I don’t know much about Africa so I’d like to research a little bit before using the other spices but I have cooked Moroccan styled food quite a bit so I knew that ingredients such as chickpeas and rice would go perfectly with the Ras El Hanout in my soup.
When I first tried the soup I thought it wasn’t spicy enough although it tasted fragrant but then the heat slowly came through and it was actually just a perfect balance of spice. I do like things quite hot so I also added three red chillies with their seeds to the soup for that extra kick!
This is kind of another throw it all in soup, I had actually bought the ingredients to make a roasted chickpeas and pumpkin salad but I never got around to making it so I bunged it all in the pan and made it a soup instead! I’m always tempted to add a few cans of chopped tomatoes to my vegetable soups for the richness however I resisted here because I wanted a clear soup where the spices were the stars.
Serves 6 – I didn’t take exact measurements of what I added as I really did just “throw everything in” but I have done a rough guide below. Please make changes as you please!
2 Sticks Celery
1 small Celeriac
1 Pumpkin/ Butternut Squash
2 Garlic Cloves
2 tblspn Ras El Hanout
2-3 Red Chillies (or less if you don’t like spice! Check the heat of them first by slicing off a thin piece to try)
1 Can Chickpeas
1/2 Cup Rice – I used a basmati and wild rice mix
4 Salad Tomatoes
1.5 litres Water
4-5 Savoy Cabbage leaves
Salt and Pepper
To prepare the vegetables – dice the onions and carrots. Slice the celery finely. Peel the celeriac and pumpkin (remove the pumpkins seeds) and chop into small chunks. Peel the garlic cloves.
Heat a little oil in a saucepan (veg or olive oil will be fine) and add your onions, celery, carrots, celeriac, pumpkin and garlic. Cook on a medium heat for 6-8 minutes untill beginning to soften. Then add your spice and the chillies and stir on the heat for another 1-2 minutes untill the vegetables are all nicely coated in the spice.
Add the chickpeas and rice and then add the water and a little salt and pepper. You need enough water to coat the vegetable mix because some of it will get absorbed by the rice and veg. Put a lid on and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes.
Chop your salad tomatoes and shred your savoy cabbage leaves. Once the 20 minutes is up add the cabbage and tomatoes to the pan, check the water levels of the soup aren’t too dry and also this is a perfect time to check your seasoning. Then put the lid back on and cook for a further 5 minutes. I don’t stir the cabbage into the soup I simply placed it all on top and let it steam, it sinks down into the soup and then when your finished you can give it a good stir.
Make one final check of seasoning and make sure everything is cooked then serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and an accompaniment of your choice (If you like a bread roll with your soup I’d suggest a mini plain naan to compliment the spices)
Do you have a favourite spice? Do you know much about African Cuisine and do you recognise the other spices pictured above? I’d love some suggestions!