Crackers and soup!

by Sunita on January 2, 2009

Hope all of you had a wonderful start to the New Year. It was just the four of us on New Years eve to usher it in. The following day, we had friends visiting us, and the day just flew by ( and most of the night too) amidst plenty of good – natured banter. And today, I realised that we are already on the second day of the new year. Time does fly by- clichéd, I know, but oh, so true!

As for new year resolutions, I don’t make any. Somehow, they always tend to backfire. Over the years, I have come to believe that the best time to start anything is ‘now’…I would rather not wait for another year. Taking each day as it comes is what works best for me.

On the weather front, we are still experiencing the bitter cold. Of course, it may not be as much, compared to what many of you are experiencing out there. But, you see, our region is comparatively milder than others. So the sharp fall in temperatures this year, have come as quite a surprise.

And in this cold, all that we are craving for is soup, soup and even more soup. The warmth from a bowl of colourful soup does wonders to brighten up an otherwise grey day.

A few days ago, I made a lovely roasted butternut squash soup.

I made it very casually, and so, won’t be able to give you exact measurements. But, if you’re interested, this is how I made the roasted butternut squash soup-

  1. Chop 1 medium sized butternut squash and arrange it skin side down on a roasting tray.
  2. Halve a head of garlic horizontally, place the halves in a piece of foil and drizzle a tsp of olive oil over it. Wrap it in the foil and place it one corner of the tray.
  3. Drizzle the squash with olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, add a little crushed red chillies and sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of dried oregano.
  4. Bake in the top rack of the oven at about 230 deg C till the flesh is quite soft (a knife can go easily through them). Keep tossing in between and basting with the juices.
  5. Cool a while and remove the skins. Take out the softened cloves of garlic from the pouch.
  6. Place the flesh and garlic in a pan  along with a few tablespoons of cream and some stock (add the stock as per your preference of thickness of the soup).
  7. Check the seasoning and mix everything well together, mashing the squash well.
  8. Place the pan over heat, and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  9. Garnish with a little crushed red chillies and fresly ground pepper.

Now, I wanted something to accompany this glorious soup; some bread maybe, but there wasn’t any, and there was too less time to make some. I rummaged through the fridge and realised that I had quite a bit of feta cheese. I had planned on making something, which I had very inconveniently forgot, so was determined to use it. The pack of rye flour was summoned, some cumin seeds were roasted and ground, and along with a few other ingredients, a dough was formed, which was later, turned into crackers.

And we loved those little crackers so much that I can’t wait to share the recipe with you.

What’s needed for the cumin and feta crackers-

1C rye flour
1C whole wheat flour(atta) +  little extra for rolling
1/3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
5 tblsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tblsp cumin seeds, roasted and coarsely ground
150 gms of feta cheese
3/4 c milk

How to-

  1. In a bowl, rub together the rye and whole wheat flour, soda, salt, cumin, oil and feta cheese with the fingertips, till the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and tip in the milk. Quickly mix together till everything is moistened. Do not over mix, the ingredients should just come together, over mixing will make the crackers hard.
  3. Wrap the sticky dough in plastic wrap and chill for about 45 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Return one portion to the fridge and work on the other.
  5. Pre heat the oven at 170 degC. Line a baking tray with foil. On  a well floured board, and with a floured rolling pin, roll out the portion of dough into a disc of about 9 inches in diameter. Cut out smaller discs of about 2 and 1/2 inches in diameter with a pastry cutter or with a lid. Gather the trimmings and repeat till all the dough has been used up.
  6. Take out the remaining ball of dough and do the same.
  7. Arrange the cut out discs on the prepared tray. I got 32 of them. Prick them lightly with a fork.
  8. Place the tray in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 22-25 minutes or till the tops are golden. They will puff up while baking and form little pockets.
  9. Cool in the pan for a few seconds and transfer to a rack.

We had our crackers with the above soup and it was bliss.

The crackers were great fun. They are quite the kid pleasers too. The li’l ones loved the little pockets in them.

Everyone was hungry, so I thought of taking a picture later, with the leftovers. But they were disappearing so fast, that I got up halfway and quickly clicked them. And all the while, two little people were hovering over the crackers. No sooner had I finished that they were eagerly lapped up. This was the last one, and the little lady wanted me to click it in her hand :-)

These crackers would form  a wonderful healthy snack on their  own too, and I guarantee that you won’t be able to stop at a few. As for me, I was happy to see the empty bowls and plates as I got up from the table :-)

Have a great weekend!

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike January 2, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Butternut squash soup is one of my favorites and the vibrant color on yours looks fantastic. I also really like the crackers as a pairing. I hope you and yours have a happy new year!

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2 Sunita January 2, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Thanks Mike…hope you and your family had a great start to the year too :-)

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3 sig January 2, 2009 at 9:00 pm

You just whipped those crackers up, huh? Wow Sunita, you are amazing… Those look so cute, and they are healthy too…. Roasted butternut squash soup is one of my favorites, I am loving all those crushed chili flakes on top… :)

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4 Sunita January 2, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Things conjured on the spur of the moment are really special, aren’t they; of course, provided they come out okay :-D …thanks Sig…we did love them a lot :-)

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5 Namratha January 2, 2009 at 10:52 pm

You are a genius baker Sunita, whipping up all these amazing stuff in your kitchen. The chilli flakes are making me drooool! Good one!

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6 Sunita January 3, 2009 at 10:39 am

Thanks Namratha, and what about those lovely cakes of yours :-)

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7 CurryLeaf January 3, 2009 at 12:04 am

So healthy & Perfect for winter.Love the soup,but give me my crackers.I prefer them anytime anyday.

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8 Sunita January 3, 2009 at 10:40 am

Thanks…the crackers were indeed very addictive :-)

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9 ttfn300 January 3, 2009 at 2:27 am

i love your savory crackers and biscuits, i gotta get on that!!

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10 Sunita January 3, 2009 at 10:41 am

Thank you…do give them a try :-)

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11 snookydoodle January 3, 2009 at 6:49 am

these look great ! you re really tempting me. and i usually not a big fan of soups. the crackers makes it even more delicious :)

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12 Sunita January 3, 2009 at 10:42 am

Thanks sd…the crackers did add a zing :-)

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13 Meg Wolff January 3, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Sunita,
This looks like the perfect meal. I don’t eat lot of spices very often, but the addition of the chilles to butternut squash soup would be something that my kids would love. And your crackers look devine!! A real treat. Happy New Year, Sunita. :-)

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14 Sunita January 3, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Thanks Meg… we can’t do without our spices…hope you had a wonderful start to the new year :-)

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15 grace January 3, 2009 at 2:37 pm

i love that your crackers have that little pocket of air in them–they’re like miniature pitas and completely awesome. :)

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16 Sunita January 3, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Yes, mini pita pockets is the word for them :-)

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17 Ivy January 3, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Those rye biscuits are really original. Although I would never have thought to combine feta with cumin they do look delicious, so does the soup. Wishing you and yours Happy New Year.

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18 Sunita January 4, 2009 at 1:39 am

Thanks for your wishes, Ivy…as for the crackers, we absolutely adored them :-)

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19 Ramya January 4, 2009 at 2:56 am

Hi sunita,
ur soup is so colourful and yummy….good start for the year….

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20 Sunita January 4, 2009 at 9:34 am

Thanks Ramya :-)

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21 Soma January 4, 2009 at 3:03 am

I like the soup but I love those pocket crackers! I cannot believe u just made those all by yourself! I can imagine how all of you must have loved them.

those pictures show the hollow in the crackers! Awesome!

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22 Sunita January 4, 2009 at 9:33 am

Thanks Soma, we did love them a lot too…and yes, I did make them myself :-)

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23 mandira January 4, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Happy New Year to you and your family Sunita, the soup and crackers look fab!

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24 Sunita January 4, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Thanks dear Mandira…hope you had a great start to the New Year too :-)

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25 Coffee and Vanilla January 4, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Sunita,
Another delicious soup recipe on your blog! I love all your recipes, but this soup sounds really good… especially now when is so cold outside…
Happy New Year!
Margot

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26 Sunita January 5, 2009 at 8:27 am

Thanks Margot, and yes, it is ivery cold indeed…we woke upto a snowy world today :-)

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27 aquadaze January 5, 2009 at 2:15 am

After all the food that we have indulged in over the last fortnight, this soup and crackers is just what we need to get back to healthy eating ways!

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28 Sunita January 5, 2009 at 8:28 am

Thank you…and the cold weather outside makes us crave a hot bowl of soup so much :-)

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29 Nirmala January 5, 2009 at 6:16 am

Lovely soup and crispy cackers! Even chennai weather makes me to crace these right now Sunita!

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30 Sunita January 5, 2009 at 8:29 am

Thank you dear Nirmala :-)

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31 sandeepa January 5, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Wow those crackers with pockets look lovely and what a nice warm soup

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32 Sunita January 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Thanks Sandeepa :-)

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33 Sharmi January 5, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Hey Sunita, lovely pica as always. Wish you a wonderful and fun filled New Year!

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34 Sunita January 5, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Thanks, dear Sharmi :-)

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35 Gretchen Noelle January 7, 2009 at 3:57 am

The soup looks creamy delicious! I like the sound of those crackers as well. I bet they were perfect for each other!

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36 Sunita January 7, 2009 at 6:30 am

Thanks Gretchen…the soup and crackers did complement each other :-)

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37 Nicisme January 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Very colourful and I just know that soup is going to taste delicious. I LOVE butternut squash, only discovered it in the last year or so.

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38 Sunita January 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Thanks Nic…we adore this squash too :-)

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39 Lisa January 16, 2009 at 1:14 am

Sunita, the soup looks amazing, but I am especially intrigued by the crackers. I am going to make these for sure. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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40 Sunita January 16, 2009 at 7:45 am

Lisa, do try the crackers…we loved them and hope you do too :-)

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41 Usha January 22, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Hi Sunita,
I tired these cookies but didn’t come out soft as yours. First I didn’t have Rye so replaced it with maida. And second, before putting in the refrigerator, I just mixed by making sure everything forms as a dough. But while collecting all the pieces and rolling out, at that time I think I over mixed. Was that the problem? And the third, by the time I finished rolling out all the cookie dough, I felt that my parchment paper has observed all the moisture from my cookies. My cookies have puffed here and there but they weren’t soft at all. Or maybe I kept it too long in the oven. Can you please let me know, so that I can make it better next time. Thanks for your time.

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42 Sunita January 22, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Hi Usha, there is negligible amount of kneading involved in these crackers. Overhandling the dough does make it harder. Moreover, I had lined the tray with foil…probably you could try that too, instead of the parchment. Regarding keeping them in the oven, just bake them till the tops are golden…do not overbrown them. Hope this helps.

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43 Rosa April 4, 2009 at 8:09 pm

A gorgeous soup! With these crackers, yummy!

Thanks for the kind words…

Cheers,

Rosa

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44 Kay June 18, 2009 at 11:03 am

Sunitha, I tried this recipe yesterday and wrecked the recipe by using hung yogurt instead of feta cheese and using yogurt instead of milk but mainly over-kneading it. :( It was very flat and still tasted edible and we finished it all but we’d had loved the crackers better, had I stuck to the original recipe…. Will try it again exactly as the recipe next time. Thanks for all the inspiration, recipes and the idea that it is simple to make all these cookies and crackers!!

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45 Sunita June 18, 2009 at 11:26 am

Do give it a try again, and this time please do not over – knead :-)

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