Friday, 6 June 2014

Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow - Fish Soup (#ReadCookEat)

I reckon you don't want to hear anything about snow right now, but ... I do it anyway. Where does it say that you have to read books playing in winter and with snow and winter and summer books in summer? Does this aid your imagination or what?
Well, I read a certain book, when I feel like it. There was it on my bookshelf: Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow or as you would call it in the original Frøken Smillas fornemmelse for sne by Peter Høeg. What shall I say? For sure there are better short summaries of the book online somewhere, but I still give it a shot. 
Smilla, 37 year old daughter of a female Inuit hunter and a rich Danish physician lives alone in an apartment complex. One of the neighbours is an alcoholic. That one has a son called Isaiah. She forms a friendship with him. Suddenly Isaiah dies. The police explains it as an accident, the boy falling from the roof. However, due to his marks in the snow on the roof and some other facts, Smilla does not believe in an accident. She investigates, later together with another neighbour, called Peter. He is a mechanic. Whatsoever, there is some kind of conspiracy and ... the rest you have to read for yourself.
As Galina from Chez Maximka and I myself are still doing the ReadCookEat challenge, it is no wonder I also kept an eye on the food in the book apart from obviously following the real plot.
While I would have loved to go for a raspberry cake I decided for this ...

In one scene in the book the mechanic, Peter, is preparing a fish soup for Smilla and himself. The description of the ingredients and the preparation is quite detailed so I tried to reproduce it, although I stuck to the ingredients I could get more easily ... eh ... for what was in that one shop, when I went shopping for the dish.

Splash of olive oil
1 onion
2 carrots
1 small bulb of fennel
1 leek
Various items of fish (I had: gilthead bream, haddock, salmon)
Hand full of prawns
2 Star anise
1 tsp. cardamom
2 tbsp. sour cream
Juice of half an orange
Salt and pepper

I prepared the rice in the usual way with the star anise and the cardamom. I did this in a separate pan. You know, double amount of water, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to minimum or turn off and let it work for 20 minutes. Anyway, you may have a different method or even a rice cooker. Feel free to do as yo are accustomed to do.

Than start with a large pan to do the soup. Give a splash of olive oil to the pan, which you put on low to medium heat. Chop up your onion and throw it into the pan.
Afterwards go for the carrots. Peel, chop up and off to the pan. Now the fennel and finally the leek. Give the vegetables a good time in the pan to soften them a bit and to release some flavour, maybe 20 minutes or more. Just make sure, you don't burn anything.
In between season the whole thing with salt and pepper and Pour in 1,5 litre or water. All this you bring to the boil and let simmer for 10 minutes.

It's not called fish soup for no reason. Therefore we need some fish in the pan. If you feel you just want to go ahead as I did (with little knowledge about fish) just use whole fish like I did with head, fin and bones and all (as was done in the book as well). However, that might get a bit messy, for later you don't want the head, fins and bones in the finished soup. For your convenience use fillets of fish. That will make your life easier, but you might have less flavour, if you can notice. Just one more thing, you don't want to have the scales of the fish anywhere near your pan. That, of course, if you have a good fishmonger should be no problem at all. I don't have ... a good fishmonger.
Fine, you put your pieces of fish into the pan, pushing it under the liquid and let the fish boil together with the rest for 10 minutes. If you need to remove heads, fins and bones afterwards ... your problem. 
Once all the undesirable parts are removed, add the prawns and cook them for another two minutes. After that you can finish the soup of with the sour cream and the orange juice.

Serve the soup together with the rice and if you like some bread as well.
That was one of the more expensive dishes, for you know, fish isn't that cheap. However, I got a good quality meal and finally some more fish for my health and a more balanced diet. Apart from that, there are some leftovers for another day ... or maybe too.
While eating I still discovered some fishbones in the soup - maybe that's why I don't have fish too often.
Whatever I say, I enjoyed the fish soup and am glad I have some more for the weekend.
Now that's something lovely for ReadCookEat.

Anyway, it wouldn't have been my fault, if the soup would have been terrible, for I followed most of the time Peter Høeg's description.

If it happens to be the case you have been reading something or are still doing so and you find any connection with food in that book and find the power to do a dish, then I see no reason, why you should not join ReadCookEat this month ...


  1. I think it is a super soup, even with bones and fish scales. Maybe next time cook the heads in a bit of water with spices and fennel for the fish stock, then later strain it, and cook the filleted fish in it with veg? I love a good fish soup.

    1. Thanks, Galina. Something like that was the original idea, but I things went ... eh ... eh ... I don't know. Sometimes things are like this.

  2. I adore this book and I love fish soup too. You've captured the essence of this magical scene. Gorgeous looking soup

    1. Thanks Dom. Fine, there were a few ingredients I couldn't get, but I guess there as also missing something completely different after I had finished the soup. Ah, right, I did it for myself.

  3. That looks fabulous - a very brave choice too :)

    1. Thank you, there was only a bit of thinking involved here, I thought I had to do it no matter what this would mean.

  4. This is one of my favourite books ever - you've reminded me to get it out and re-read it. I like the sound of your soup too.

  5. Your soup sounds lovely, fish soup is a favourite of mine. I've never thought of adding orange though - must give that a try.

    1. Maybe I should have fish soup more often. It's really lovely.

  6. Oh I have read that book and remember the scene. That soup looks gorgeous

    1. Well, I reckon you have to remember that scene, if you are a little bit more interested in food.

  7. This book has been on my to-read list for a while. Thanks for reminding me. I just learned about your event and I wish I had a post to add to your list, but my two recent book-inspired recipes are not specifically mentioned in the novels. I will keep it in mind next month.


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