Archives for posts with tag: creme fraiche

Fast Food Spinach Soup

As frequently as possible, I make a thermos flask of soup for my husband for his lunch. This is to use up leftovers, save family money so he doesn’t buy junk or eat out, and give him a portion controlled meal which he says helps him to feel energised rather than overfull.

I have lots to share about soup-making, which I will save for a less sunny day.

This morning first thing, I had loads to do and had to get out the door. So I took a quick, almost careless approach, which I’m transcribing into second person so you feel you could make it too if you’d like, such was the feeling of success:

7am.  Take out the recycling, lament how much friggin’ plastic there is that even you do not manage to avoid using.

Chop one large leek, saute  in a butter/ olive oil combo while you make the coffee.  Turn off the pan, drink your coffee upstairs with everyone else doing their morning thing.

Return downstairs, kick your son’s shoes out of the way, find some amazing fresh spinach you’ve bought, though a bit at the end of its life, from Great Oak Foods and decide you are too lazy to worry about examining the rather thick stems.  Or even to wash it, as it is organic, and decide if there is some sand, well, “a peck of dirt before you die” is a good motto.

Stuff the unwieldy spinach in with the chopped leek in the pot that is momentarily too small because spinach reduces in volume dramatically.  Throw in a glass of water, and another glass.  Realize you actually have bone broth in the freezer but decide it’s too frozen and too strong a flavour anyway.  Feel a bit stressed about time.   Begin to whirl it all together in your semi-broken food whizzer.  Decide too-pureed doesn’t matter anyway.

Put it back in the pan on the heat.  Add some pepper.  Grate a little nutmeg and think about how stale this spice is though still fragrant but without the top notes.   Imagine how expensive it would have been 400 years ago.

Find the jar of home-cultured Creme Fraiche in your fridge.  It’s a little on the edge but ignore this.  Add a tablespoon.  Add another.  Taste.  All’s fine.   Add some more water. Looks like you think soup should look.  Remember the out-of-date Feta you bought, ponder that it’s so salty but you’ve added no additional salt to the pot. Crumble a little into the soup.   Put in the flask and put the flask on the table and make sure your son’s trombone is in the car and that you know where you are meeting your daughter after school.  Forget to brush your hair.

For the bit you reheat later for your own lunch, garnish with toasted walnuts and pine nuts because they are delicious and they are there in a jar that somehow has lost it’s lid.

Et Voila!

And next time, because it’s spring and the greening ground is offering, it’ll be nettles and dandelion leaves.

I love the slightly sour tang of creme fraiche, and the best brand to buy around here (with not too many retail choices) is Rachel’s Organic, a local, responsible, family-owned Welsh company in nearby Aberystwth. NOT. As their Facebook public relations person cheerily responds to any who mention the 2010 buyout by Nestle — there are many and you can be one too:

Hi XXXXX, thanks for getting in touch. Rachel’s is owned by Group Lactalis. LNCD is a joint venture between Lactalis and Nestle and here in the UK, Rachel’s is distributed by LNCD. We hope this helps, Best wishes, Rachel’s

If you want to stay on top of why Breastfeeding and Child Health advocates decry Nestle policies, Baby Milk Action has long been a place to to go. Breast Milk is the first best local, organic, easy, perfect, slow, wonderful, delicious, perfect food.

But after watching this video, I dislike Nestle even more, for it’s efforts, backed by all powers conferred by markets, governments and unwitting consumers, to seize and privatise water resources which are so fundamentally collectively owned, and to which, by any progressive vision of a social humanity, people, all people, have a right. It’s hardly complicated. There’s no argument, until people like this man begin to pretend they are disinterested stewards in the public interest. Bullshit.

This time round the Banality of Evil seems to hide its greed under an ideology of public good, and we see clearly the moment we’re in at which the Corporation seeks to justify it’s trumping of the role of State. State– which once could have been imagined in the interests and values and common resources of people (and planet), and now cedes to Humungous, ungovernable Money. And I would never actually call myself anti-capitalist. But I profoundly believe in common resources and genuine democracy.

If you watch Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon, a brilliant exploration of authoritarianism and social violence, you will be hard-pressed not to be reminded of this Peter Brabeck clip — so simultaneously extolling and critical of the Nestle project.

Meanwhile, on the home front:


I don’t pretend to myself that the Nestle boycott is supremely effective, and occasionally I still do buy Rachel’s Organic Creme Fraiche, though I seek to do so as seldom as possible. It’s so easy to “culture” your own with other cream you may have. In this case I bought some reduced from the Co-op (love those orange stickers), mixed the two together and thinned a little with some milk. By tomorrow, it will all be creme fraiche, and wonderful with … hmmmm, what shall I make… an easy Apple Crumble!  As long as I can keep it fresh, spoonfuls of the stuff then can duly “culture” the next bit of cream there happens to be.

Not bringing revolution, but a small act of kitchen counter culture.

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