SWEET POTATO SOUP
We recommend baking the sweet potatoes on a bed of salt in the oven. Baking makes their taste sweeter and more concentrated, whereas when you cook them in water, they absorb water and lose some of their sweetness.
About 1/2kg coarse salt
5 medium sweet potatoes (wash but do not peel them)
4 sage leaves
1/2 liter milk
1/2 liter double cream
1/2 liter vegetable stock
50g pine nuts or blanched almonds
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 level tsp ground cumin
1/2 level tsp curry powder
Salt and white pepper
1 spring onion, green part only
5 cloves of garlic confit (see below)
50g cold butter, cut into cubes
Almond oil (see below)
Ginger oil (see below)
Preheat the oven to hot (220C/ 450F/ gas 7). Cover the bottom of a small baking tray with coarse salt. Place the sweet potatoes on the salt and bake for about an hour, until the potatoes are soft.
Halve the potatoes lengthwise and scoop out their flesh with a spoon into a saucepan. Add the sage leaves, milk, cream, stock, pine nuts or almonds, ginger and spices, bring to the boil and as soon as the soup boils, take it off the heat. Puree the soup with a hand-held blender or in a food processor and then push through a fine mesh sieve back into the cleaned saucepan. Season with salt and white pepper.
Cut the spring onion lengthwise into as thin strips as possible ("hair"), and keep them in ice water until ready to serve.
To serve: Bring the soup to the boil (if it's too thick, add a few tablespoons of vegetable stock). Add the butter and whisk with a hand held blender or a wire whisk.
Pour the soup into bowls and place some spring onion hairs in the center of each bowl. Pour some drops of almond oil and a teaspoon of ginger oil into each bowl; grind some pepper above and serve.
Separate the cloves from a garlic head, but don't peel the cloves. Put them in a small saucepan and cover with oil. Cook on the lowest possible flame for about half an hour. Cool and keep in an air-tight container up to 6 months.
Put 100g blanched almonds and 1 cup corn oil in a small saucepan and heat over a low flame for 10 minutes. Be careful not to bring the oil to the boil. Cool and set aside for 24 hours. Strain the oil through a fine mesh sieve layered with cheesecloth and keep in a closed bottle.
Prepare in the same way, using 100g peeled fresh ginger, cut into strips.