When it rains it pours - how very true. There has been all manner of upheavals going on lately and on Mother's Day we had the icing on the cake. My eldest got socked on the top of the head by a fast moving lacrosse ball. Down she went, out cold. Off we went to the emergency room where all manner of tests were administered. We booked in for the night and bright and early the next morning she was whisked off for an MRI and an EEG. I was trying to keep the atmosphere light and took pictures of her with 35 electrodes stuck to her head. "You'll laugh about this later, I promise!" I said. She's not laughing.
The upshot is that her lovely little head is fully intact. She has a massive headache and a nasty concussion but she will be back on the field way before I'm ready for her to be there. I can't tell you how lovely the hospital staff were, every single one of them. When you're feeling vulnerable and scared, what a difference that makes.
Now we're home and I've shifted into full "comfort food cooking mode." Soup surely is the ultimate comfort food with the added bonus that it's good for you (and requires no skill on the part of the cook, which is just as well as I'm still a bit jittery). I had tasted fennel soup at a restaurant a few weeks ago and was longing to make it. My daughter who lost her appetite along with her consciousness wanted a second bowl :)))
Fennel Soup with Crispy Leeks;
2 Fennel bulbs, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small potatoes, cleaned and diced
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
32 oz organic chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
In a large Dutch oven or saucepan heat the olive oil and butter.
Add the onions and sweat for 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, fennel, carrots and potatoes.
Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes or so, until soft and very slightly golden.
Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and partially cover. Cook on a med/low heat for another 15-20 minutes until the all the veggies are well cooked through.
Remove from heat and blend in batches.
Return the soup to the pot and add the heavy cream if using. Stir to combine.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan until foaming. Slice the leeks in half and then into very thin strips. Fry them in the oil and butter until crispy.
Pour the soup into a bowl and top with the crispy leeks.