Archives for posts with tag: Soups

IMG_2019

Themes of the times are simplicity, economy, moving away from meat and dairy, and of course, ever importantly, deliciousness and health.

These past days I’ve made minor changes to my usual methods of soup-making, using vegetables and green split peas and yellow split peas respectively, in more or less equal measure – rather than giving the throne to one or the other. The result has been very smooth and creamy vegan vegetable soups with basic and local ingredients.  I’ve used no dairy,  and no potato or rice, so these soups are therefore lower and slower carb. They move beyond their familiar cousins –a Split Pea Soup with carrots and onion, thyme, maybe bay, perhaps ham or bacon — a Cream of Carrot as a thinned root vegetable potage with the variation you choose– to announce not a superiority but a difference, and an assuredly vegetarian one that doesn’t lack heartiness.  Try this approach for ease.

IMG_2014 Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

IMG_5899

I’m feeling happy for the emergence on the food scene of Olia Hercules. I saw this film a while back and felt really thrilled to be learning from someone so deeply rooted in her own food traditions (and she’s deliberate on that plural) yet gifted with such a light and beautiful cook’s touch. That Ukrainian Green Borsht of hers is of course a much more vivacious cousin to my prosaic Schav.

Today in the Guardian is an excerpt from her new book Mamushka. I want it! Want want want! Because I know I’m going to be bowled over with inspiration, just as I was simply from reading about the way she uses fermented herbs in her lovely and simple soup.  Make sure to check out the link.

Her version uses dill, parsley, sorrel, celery, and spring onions. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_5707 (1)

The Nettle Sorrel Soup was so delicious, I considered it a gateway to Schav, a purer use of sorrel that by never having sampled had become a little mythic. You eat it cold.  And yes, that’s the true colour in the photo above, what we might have thought of as pea-green, a little dreary, a little khaki. I resisted the photoshop urge because I want to speak the truth about Schav.  I placed the spoon in this position so you too could imagine picking it up and experiencing a spoon-full.

It’s what the real old-timers ate, the ones who gesticulated with their hands and ate intense, heavy food like … Liver and Egg Salad, or Chopped Liver in moulded, perhaps grotesque shapes, maybe with strawberries, maybe with pineapple.  Or at least such recipes appear in my all time favourite Jewish cookbook Love and Knishes, along with loads of dishes with schmaltz and lima beans and kasha– these kind of ingredients.  So the book was a natural first place to look for an “authentic” recipe for Schav.

IMG_5717

Love and Knishes is a charming book. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_0740

I know people like recipes, and that recipes define the public realm of cooking, including information and instruction to combat food waste in our kitchens.  I’m always struck by how irrational this is, because it’s rare that you’d have, as leftover (i.e.,waste you want to avoid happening), the specific amount of an ingredient that a recipe would call for.  Is there something I’m missing?

Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_0512

IMG_0517

Idly browsing Food52, I alit upon this recipe for Punjabi Buttermilk Stew with Spinach Dumplings and was drawn in.  The dish sounded so utterly delicious. (Which it was, and is why I wish to share it.)  Preparing it became a kind of odyssey of ingredients, questions and realisations, about which I’ve written what I hope is not too laborious a blog post.  Please disregard if it is! These are the issues that came to the fore for me as I prepared the dish:

  • Culturing Buttermilk
  • How to substitute local winter kale for frozen spinach
  • Sour substitutions for citrus in your cooking
  • Peasemeal as a UK substitute for Gram Flour.
  • Cooking oil conundrums. British Rapeseed Oil as a solution?

Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_9947IMG_9945

A Split Pea Stew becomes a Split Pea Soup With Ethiopian Spices… Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_9839

Honouring the death of a difficult woman by remembering the soup she often made.

Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_9646

All week I’d been throwing things into a small stock pot: onion and leek scraps, parsley stems, skin from roasted pumpkin, carrot scrapings and beetroot skins.

I simmered them and made a stock for a nice lentil soup (which included some #pumpkinrescue pumpkin).  Beet is a wonderful ingredient in stocks, but sometimes it’s the only time the gorgeous colour feels wrong, because it announces itself rather than coming in with stealth. Unannounced, beet is a great suggester of the richness of meat– there’s something of blood and iron in the flavour.  It’s great grated into vegetarian “Spag Bol” variations for this reason, though again, the colour needs to be accepted in this instance, not fought.

We’ve been busy, and the extra “stock” was sitting out on the stove stop, unstrained, unrefrigerated.  Yesterday I sieved out the vegetable bits to put the liquid in the fridge.  Tasting it, it was sour, and I thought, off.  And was about to chuck it.  Me!  Ms Ferment, Ms Anti-Waste, throwing out food!.

But I thought again, and tasted a bigger sip.

Read the rest of this entry »

The End of the Lime: Some Top Tips

The End of the Lime, or, How Not to Waste that Precious Little Dehydrated Organic Golf Ball That’s Come All the Way from Mexico.

There they were, free for me to take, because otherwise they’d be thrown-out and wasted. Un-pretty, un-sellable, un-loved.

Did you know:  if you cut a lime in thirds, on the vertical axis, you get sections that yield the most juice. Different from the geometry of other citrus fruits.

These were so hard, I wasn’t sure I could even get a knife through them. Then I had the brain-wave to just throw one in with the chicken bones, zest and all, as the acidic element that helps those bones offer up their mineral goodness into the stock that is the basis of so many soups.  Despite my efforts to get this family eating lower on the food chain, when we do eat something with bones, I make the most of them this way.  All scraps (except Brassicas, which get bitter [though that may be a gospel I’m ready to question]) from leeks and onions and carrots and parsnips and bits of herbs and nettles and potato skins (if not green) and and and…

(I love this post on the wonderful blog Foodways Pilgrim on Potato Peel Broth)

In this case, I knew the stock was going to the agent of transformation for the leftovers from a curry my husband made for supper, to become, with  red lentils and some yoghurt, a soup. And there was the lime, looking forlorn, and I wanted to sour up that curry soup, and I wanted some of that calcium out of the chicken bones, and I just, maybe a bit recklessly, plopped it into the simmering stock.

(Here’s a great article on why not to use the word “curry” as I just did.)

In the morning, I strained the stock and examined the lime, and it had rehydrated in a beautiful way, and conferred it’s sharp bright lime-ness into the liquid.  Now I am bemoaning the times in life I’ve tossed Citrus Rocks.  Now I know to reconstitute them this way.

And the soup was delicious.

I wonder if just soaking in plain old water would work?

———

PS On the Lime Shortage that’s causing prices to skyrocket:

PPS: A top tip from a very nice lady I met: put dried out lemons and limes briefly in a microwave if you have one for the freer flow of juice….

 

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.

%d bloggers like this: