Search This Blog

Monday, April 11, 2011

Red Marmite with Orach, Lovage & Wild Garlic

I have started paying heed to the weather forecast, constantly hoping that "next week will be better". There is nothing wrong in hoping, but lately the sun has been playing hide and seek with me. In the meantime, I am making the most of what I can (feebly) call a spring: everything is brand new, green, and fresh.

Anyway, this is my first spring in three years. Saudi Arabia doesn't have a spring in European terms, strictly speaking. March/April marks the sandstorm season, with sudden showers, and temperature is quite high at this time of year. I was pining for spring when I was living in Riyadh. 

So I am still eagerly waiting for the perfect spring to come. I love the (normally) mild weather of April with its sunny days, when happy kids ride their bikes in the park, and beautiful cherry trees are in bloom.

As you know by now, my beloved blog is bursting at the seams with these wonderful seasonal plants: wild garlic (ramson), parsley, nettle, spinach, orach, spring onions... Mixed and combined, they offer an explosion of tastes and textures. Over the weekend I was made to drool over a traditional Romanian soup that I stumbled upon in I discovered a Transylvanian Orach Broth, soured with vinegar. And so I went down memory lane and suddenly remembered my mother's Orach soup with cream. Oh, memories! Funnily enough, as I was making my own marmite, my mother called me to ask us over for dinner. She was making orach soup as well :)

 Marmite with Orach, Lovage, Wild Garlic and Beef Cubes

a big piece of beef bone with some meat on it (to make the stock)

1 carrot

2 small red onions


2 small bunches of orach

2 bunches of ramson (wild garlic)

1 small bunch of lovage

1 small tomato (diced) or 2 tsb of diced canned tomato

1 extra cube of beef stock (optional) or salt

the juice of 1/4 of a lemon 

Type of cuisine: (new) Romanian

Preparation time: 2 hours (blame it on the beef stock)

Difficulty: easy


To make the stock, boil the bone for at least 1 hr 45 mins. Drain and discard the veggies. By now they should have become a mush. Scoop the lean meat off the bone and cut it in small cubes

Wash the orachlovage and wild garlic. For nice layers, chop the wild garlic Asian style, tear the orach leaves off their stem leaf by leaf, and cut the lovage finely. (Lovage is vaguely similar to parsley, but has a distinctive taste.)

          tomato, beef & spring yummies


Once you drain the soup in a separate pot, work on your marmite. Add the beef cubes and the diced tomato, season with salt or, for a richer taste, a cube of beef stock. Work in the orach, lovage and wild garlic and let simmer for 10 minutes before serving. Sour the soup with some lemon juice

The combination of lovage and lemon juice is a killer :) - it wowed me and Mike, who thought at first that he was tasting miso. 

The orach will turn the soup dark pink bordering on crimson. It's a delicious and appetizing colour.

In Romania people make orach borscht with single cream. My version is much lighter so I didn't pour it over the simmering marmite. 

It was such a great dish that I hope that tomorrow when I go to the farmer's market, I'll be able to find more lovage and ramson, and that their season isn't over. (Isn't spring wonderful?)

beautiful cherry tree in bloom

No comments:

Post a Comment