Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The great Soup Off

My lovely cousin Kate and her husband Rohan live in Melbourne, and while visiting earlier this year, an annual "Soup Off" was mentioned.  This was like waving a red rag at a bull... a Soup Off!!  Kate, tell me more!  What, when, where and how does this Soup-Off work?? 

Here is what she had to say...

Rohan and I were invited to a "Soup Off" from a work colleague, we didn't really know what to expect but were advised to bring along a soup.  The soup would be judged by all in attendance, and was a bit of a laugh. The best soup won a prize!

I had a few practise runs of soups and ended up making a spicy coconut and pumpkin soup with sesame salt. There were about 6 soups at that event, not one was the same. We had to give a score out of 10 for each soup.

We won the Soup Off that year, and decided to have a 'Curry Off' the following year with our group of friends that are all made keen on curry. 
I made a goat curry and Rohan made his magnificent Sri Lankan chicken curry. We had a big score board on the wall with the team names and name of each curry, some names were tongue in cheek and that has since become a bit of a tradition too, to give your soup a good name!!!
The curry off was a great hit, but it was a lot of food, so we decided to go back to the soup off for the following year. (Turns out Rohan won the Curry Off... amazing culinary talent in my family!)
The Rules?
No dessert soups is really the only main rule.

You have to prepare your soup at home and bring in the pot to just re-heat. Any condiments you wish to serve with your soup must be semi prepared also. You have full use of the kitchen when it is your turn to serve your soup, and the oven if required for condiments.

How many soups?
There are 7 couples/individuals that have been with us from the start. The previous year's winner, and therefore host, can invite some friends.  Last year (2010) the soup off was at our place as we won the comp from the year before (2009). I invited some friends to come along as they had heard me talking about making soups for the Soup-Off.  In 2010 we had 12 couples (so therefore 12 soups).

Soup off is held yearly, generally in late July/early August. Being Victorian we have to work around the AFL games it is a big event. 

So... any recipe sharing?
After the soup off is held we can share our recipes, before the soup off there is a bit of a 'lock down' of no talking about soups!!! It has grown into a bit of a serious competition now. We generally see each other weekly at football games or the boys have a chat, but there is never talk about is top secret!

What makes a winning soup?
I made a zucchini, broccoli and blue cheese soup last year and it had some crumbled blue cheese on the top - I got a caining from some people that don't like blue cheese!! So needless to say I did not do terribly well with lasts years soup!!!
We have never had the same soup at a soup off event. Last year there was only 1 soup with meat in it, the rest were all vegetable type soups.
I do try and do a different type of soup each year, and some people just try a pot luck kind of soup and hope for the best.
Some of the soups have been:-
  • Peanut soup (a combination of peas and nuts!) not nice!!
  • Spinach soup with a touch of cumin
  • Moroccan lamb soup
  • Beetroot and apple soup
  • Prawn wanton soup
  • Roasted tomato and capsicum soup with parmesan biscuit
  • Cock-a-leekie- soup (chicken and leek)

  Winning soups?
  • Spicy Coconut and Pumpkin soup with sesame salt
  • Pea and Ham soup
  • Tomato and Red lentil soup
  • Chicken, corn and veg soup

The Prize?
The winner receives a white chefs hat and the right to hold the event the following year. They then wear the hat for the rest of the evening!!! Peter, who won last year, still likes to wear it as he was so surprised that he won!!! He will hold the soup off for 2011.

Thanks to cousin Kate for sharing the details of her "Soup Off" - hopefully we can get some recipes out of her, and a post-even report of the 2011 Soup Off - watch this space!

An annual themed dinner is such an awesome idea, especially for people who are not quite ready for regular dinner-parties.  If you have an annual cook-off of some sort, let me know, we'd love to hear from you!

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