I was trying to get back into reading blogs after the holidays three days ago and saw a recipe (and sublime pictures) for a tomato and quinoa bread on Cooking Books. Right away I knew I had to make it. Bread intimidates me something awful, but this one looked so good that I just had-had-had to try it.

But it is winter and you cannot go around making bread like this without having a bowl of steaming soup of some kind of vegetable to eat it with.  Tomato soup would be overkill, pea soup sounds too mushy, mushroom soup would be too creamy. I’m picky about soup, you see. My maternal grandfather would have soup for lunch 6 days a week, regardless of the season. During childhood summers on the farm, when it was in the high 30C’s outside, we’d be eating soup at his lunch table and had to keep quiet about it. Today the thought of soup as a meal is hugely off-putting idea to me, but every now and then I get a craving and then it has to be good.

I finally settled on a celery soup. Celery and tomato juice works well in a bloody mary so no doubt it will work well as a bread and soup combination.

I’m not going into the details of making the bread, Andrea did a great job of that, so head over there for the tomato and quinoa bead recipe. One thing I added to the dough was a couple of cubes of tomato flesh, without the seeds and juice, for some extra color and texture in the bread.

For the celery soup you need to collect:

– 500g of celery stalk, cut into about 1 inch pieces

– 1 medium sized potato (peeled and cut into cubes) or a cup of uncooked rice (brown would be a healthier choice)

– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

– 1 medium onion, chopped

– 2 crushed garlic cloves

– 2 and 1/2 cups vegetable stock

– salt and pepper to taste

Making the soup:

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the celery, onion and garlic. Cook until the the onion is light, then add the stock and the potatoes or rice. Bring everything to a boil, lower the heat and let everything simmer until the ingredients are soft, but not mushy. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the soup to cool. You’re going to blend the ingredients and blending hot soup can have very nasty results. I know from experience.

Once the soup has cooled a bit, blend it in batches until it reaches the consistency you like. I prefer keeping some chunks in my soup, so I blend just a little. Pour the soup back in the saucepan and heat until ready to serve.

Enjoy it with slices of fresh bread, tomato and quinoa in my case, at a sunlit table on a winter afternoon.