Alina’s Sweet Potato Orange Soup & Cauliflower Hazelnut Salad
For the first time ever, there is a lovely little video documenting it all, have a look:
Video credits: Ina Schebler
This is Alina.
Alina is a Berliner free spirit who coincidentally loves to cook. Where did Alina and I meet? On a sunny park bench in the middle of Berlin, not too long ago. Did we hit it off? One could say so. Do we share our love for food? The answer is more than yes. Did we put our words into practice and met for a cooking session? The following photos are undeniable proof that it happened. Alina, the kitchen is yours and you, lovely foodie behind the screen, better get ready for food markets, lit candles and delicious food.
Alina first took me to her local food market and it was not only crowded with hungry shoppers but also packed with colourful vegetables and fruits such as pumpkins, potatoes, leeks, khakis, clementines and mangoes. I can tell you: it wasn’t the easiest task to keep each other in eyesight, sample fresh produce while also capturing the scene through my lens, but we managed it all! What we needed were sweet potatoes, oranges and cauliflower. Because you know what Alina cooked? That’s right, a lovely sweet potato orange soup and as if that wasn’t enough already, she also made a tasty cauliflower salad with roasted hazelnuts! Indulgence? There is no better word to describe it!
The lush ingredients we saw at the market were so tempting that we took samples of freshly cut fruits wherever we got them. Alina lives in a very lively area of Berlin where this food market rolls up twice a week. She goes there regularly to buy fresh herbs, smell the spices before she makes her choice and to soak up the atmosphere. Berlin is a true melting pot of many different cultures. That doesn’t only reflect in the languages that are spoken on the street but also in the many different dishes that are sold at the market stalls. Turkish flatbread, Moroccan stews, Iranian sweets, you name it. Alina quickly got what she needed and with a slice of kakhi in our hands, we got on our way towards her kitchen. When we arrived at Alina’s cosy shared city apartment, there was plenty of time to unpack the groceries, drink fresh ginger tea and unleash my inquisitive nature. Talking to Alina revealed that she has been cooking for a long time. When she was a child, her mother announced a new tradition: once a week, she and her brother had to take turns and cook the family’s meal. They would tell her which ingredients they needed, figure out how to cook them, claim the kitchen and heat up a storm. She did the same just then as I was listening to her stories, because it was about time to throw on that apron, preheat the oven and get that soup bubbling!
Alina’s kitchen is bright, well equipped with spices, herbs and nothing but functional items. Alina met her two housemates at an initiative that saves wasted food and gives it to those who can’t afford to buy their own. The food that is left behind after distribution ends up in Alina’s kitchen, so she oftentimes stands in front of a box filled with all kinds of vegetables, making up recipes and brainstorming about what to cook. Alina loves to experiment with food, try different ingredients and not shy away from crazy combinations. Maybe that is why for today, she picked sweet potato & orange soup as well as cauliflower & hazelnut salad. Speaking of which, it’s about time we all saw Alina in action, slicing and stirring and roasting and serving! Shall we do this?
Sweet Potato Orange Soup & Cauliflower Salad with Roasted Hazelnuts
Prep Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Total Time: 50 min
For the sweet potato & orange soup you will need:
800g sweet potato
30g ginger, finely chopped
800ml vegetable stock
2 small red onion
4 tbsp olive oil
100ml coconut milk
2 oranges, juiced
pinch of cinnamon
a few twigs of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp shaved coconut
salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the sweet potato and chop into cubes. In a big pot, cook the sweet potato together with ginger and vegetable stock for about 20 minutes or until everything turns soft.
- Add in the orange juice, coconut milk and cinnamon and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
- With a hand blender, puree the mixture until the soup becomes smooth and creamy. Have a taste and check whether you would like to add in a bit more salt and pepper and then you’re good to go!
- Serve with shaved coconut, fresh rosemary and a wide smile on your beautiful face!
For the cauliflower &hazelnut salad you will need:
1 cauliflower head
5 tbsp olive oil
1 stick celery, chopped into 0.5cm thick slices
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
½ pomegranate, seeded
⅓ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
- Break the cauliflower head into its small pieces and stir it in a big bowl together with 3 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and roast for 25-35 minutes on the highest oven rack until it turns crispy and gold-brown.
- When the cauliflower is done, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. Reduce the heat to 170ºC and line a tray with baking paper. Roast the hazelnuts for 15 minutes.
- After the nuts have cooled down a little bit, roughly chop them up and add them to the cauliflower. Combine the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil, the celery, pomegranate seeds, cinnamon, maple syrup and parsley and give it all a good stir. Add more salt and pepper to taste and serve the salad while still slightly warm.
We ate these two dishes alongside each other and they fitted really well. The fruity elements that appear in both recipes give these dishes common ground and justify that they are an absolute match. Go ahead and try these recipes at home, fellow foodies!
Alina, thank you for being such a mindful and caring host and for sharing your wonderful recipes with the world.
I hope that many people will make that lush soup and try that fantastic salad, all thanks to you!