I’ve been reading this book on and off since christmas: The Flavour Thesaurus. I’ve really enjoyed it so far, it discusses the theory of flavour pairings and why they work in an effort to free us from simply following recipes.
With a basic understanding of which foods go with which others and a basic understanding of techniques we can make sure that we are not bound by recipes, we can discover our own methods. i really liked the principles of this and thought i would give it a go. i have followed recipes for years and have loosened up to some extent amending recipes and using prior knowledge but i couldn’t really say regularly develop any truly 100% fresh recipes for myself from an intuitive point of view.
Putting the flavour pairings hat on, i figured parsnips would work well with celeriac and thyme, lots of earthy winter flavours. i figured this would work well in a soup with a simply fried onion at the start and a bit of blending at the end. With the flavours already involved i figured i didn’t even need stock or aromatics.
It worked a treat, felt much free-er than following recipes and was much quicker as i could just launch into it without looking up recipes or researching. I do obviously like those parts of cooking so have no plans to throw that part of my life away just yet but i really enjoyed the freeform way of thinking and will definitely begin trying to embrace it more often, using the book as a reference guide to sense-check certain flavour combinations i come up with.
Here’s my topline recreation of the recipe below:
Serves 3 (i know, awkward right? i tried to do it for two but had some leftover…)
- fry half an onion with some salt on a low heat until translucent.
- add a teaspoon of cumin and a pinch of pepper.
- cook for a couple of minutes.
- add finely diced parsnip and celeriac (cut out the woody bits from the parsnips first if they’re a bit old).
- Cook off for about 5-10 mins then add thyme water and a bit more salt and pepper.
- cook until the veg are just on the turn between hard and soft
- blitz in a food processor
- reheat gently and serve (i served mine with yoghurt and curry oil, with a couple of slices of wholemeal sourdough)
my first recipe on here…whoop! (although if it doesn’t read well please let me know.)