The vegetable garden is being cleared out this time of year. Partly, that is. We are reaching the end of the summer abundance. The summer crops are making place for the scarcity of winter crops. Due to this, we are now having to deal with a very mixed harvest. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. The best thing to do with these colourful baskets, is to make a soup. And that’s what I have done the last few weeks and I’m guessing that that’s what I’ll be doing the upcoming few weeks. Today I’ll be sharing my vegetable soup with parsley knödel and grilled cauliflower with you.

So soup it is! Weeks of soup can become boring though and to spice things up, I try to mix and match things to make dinners more enjoyable. These kind of pimped up dinners make very difficult recipes to share on the internet. I realise well, that most blogs are filled with very narrowed down step-by-step plans of clear minimalistic recipes. They are designed to serve the grocery shopping reader. This is great if you can run to a store and buy your specific ingredients, but if you are dealing with the glut of the garden, you often find yourself with harvests that are forced on you by the seasons and you just have to make do and mend with what you have. I’m guessing that readers of this blog, who have a vegetable garden as well, might find it useful to see what I do with this kind of variety packs from the garden and that’s why I’m showing you this garden-to-table-to-plate of autumn abundance. It involves three recipes, or cooking plans. That’s because I’e prepared a vegetable soup, parsley knödel and a grilled cauliflower head. I hope it makes sense. If not, you know where to find the comment section this blog!

Let’s start with the vegetable soup. I made a big pan of soup from this harvest. We ate three times from it. Once like this, as a main dish and twice as a starter. I didn’t use all the dried beans on the right side of the picture. Those are for winter. I only used the beans that I had to harvest, but weren’t fully dried. You can see those on the left top side of the picture. I also didn’t use all the celery leaves shown on the picture, I only used the stem part, the leaves are now being dried for winter soups. I will show you how I do that in a future post. I also didn’t use all the broccoli shown above. I made a separate rice dish from those. I did use everything else for this soup. This picture will hopefully be a guidance for you of the quantities you need to make this happen, as I won’t be giving those in the soup recipe.

Vegetable soup

  • carrots
  • celery
  • onions
  • beans (haricot and regular beans)
  • courgette
  • aubergine
  • brocoli
  • garlic
  • bouillon cube
  • sunflower oil
  • bay-leaves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • water

Chop up all the vegetables. Pod the beans that need to be podded. Sauté the vegetables together with the sunflower oil in a big pan. Add in the water and the bouillon cubes, bay-leaves, salt and pepper and let it cook on a slow fire until the beans are of the right consistency. Your soup will be ready then and you can adjust it to your taste in between by adding some more salt and pepper to taste. Take the bay leaves out at this point.

Up next are the knödel, or dumplings. I’m not an expert in making these. I just wanted to make an easy dinner with soup, but per request of the boyfriend, I needed some carbohydrates to strengthen the meal. In my search for a good recipe, I found lots of ideas, most of them were butter based. And butter was the only thing I didn’t have ready for use in the fridge. As an easy dinner doesn’t imply a quick trip to the supermarket, I really wanted to make these without butter. Also, we are in the midst of a period of butter shortage here in France, so it’s always a good idea to replace butter by something else if it’s in any way possible. As you can read, I really didn’t want to go out and get butter! Feel free though to replace the oil by butter if you really want to. I think that you will get a different taste experience with butter and your ‘balls’ will be more perfect. For me the sunflower oil experiment worked out really well. It made the dumplings turn out lighter.

Parsley onion knödel

  • 125ml milk
  • 120gr semolina flour
  • 80 gr sunflower oil
  • 2 eggs
  • generous amount of ground nutmeg
  • handful of parsley
  • one onion
  • garlic clove
  • salt & pepper
  • boiling water

Sauté the onions quickly in a tablespoon of sunflower oil, add in the pressed garlic clove. When it’s done add the chopped up parsley. Let it cool down. In the meantime mix up all the other ingredients in a separate bowl. Now mix up everything together and let it sit in the fridge for an hour.
Take it out of the fridge as soon as you have a pan ready with boiling water. Ideally you use a wide pan, so that you can make as many dumplings as possible at the same time. The pan doesn’t have to be very deep. Now take two spoons to form balls of the mix and gently ‘dump’ the dumplings into the boiling water. As you throw them into the water, try to place them next to each other, and not on top of each other. Depending on the size of the dumplings that you make, they will need to cook in the simmering water for about 15-20 minutes. Don’t worry if they are not perfectly round, they will be tasty anyway. Mine didn’t come out as balls, but that made the meal look very ‘rustic’.
They are ready as soon as they come up from the base of the pan to the surface of the water. You can take them out now and place them onto your plate to be covered the hot soup that you already prepared.

On to the last part of this mix-and-match dinner. I had a cauliflower that needed to be harvested from the garden. I could have chopped the cauliflower up in the soup and just consume it like that, but I really prefer my cauliflower boiled and grilled as a whole. So I took these two extra steps to perfect this dinner. Boiling and grilling in the oven doesn’t imply leaving the house, so that’s no extra work in my head.

Grilled cauliflower

  • cauliflower
  • bay leaves
  • bouillon cube
  • cumin
  • salt & pepper
  • sunflower oil
  • water

Boil some water, place the cleaned up cauliflower head, bay leaves and bouillon cubes in the water. Let the cauliflower cook for a decent amount of time until tender. I think it took about 15-20 minutes for mine to cook. I used a small cauliflower. Now take the cauliflower out of the water and place it on a baking tray. Sprinkle it with some herbs of your liking. I used cumin, salt and pepper. And drizzled some sunflower oil on top, just a little. Then I placed it in a preheated oven on a very high (top) grill for 5 minutes of so.

And that’s it. The last part of your nourishing autumn meal.

The hardest part of this meal is to get the cauliflower out of the oven at the same time as your dumplings, everything else is pretty easy I would say. I hope this dinner inspires you to mix and match your own dinners instead of just blindly following my recipe. But if you do follow it, please let me know if you liked it! And perhaps what you did differently?