Soup Season

What is it about the end of the year and the start January which suggests soup? It’s not just me; my neighbour Jolita has also got the soup bug. At a guess, it goes back to childhood and Mother making meals from festive leftovers. To be fair, I don’t remember any soup, but I do remember a nut bread she made based on a recipe in a copy of Family Circle someone had passed to us. Is Family Circle still going? We weren’t a magazine taking family, though the Radio Times was taken weekly, and I was a big fan of the Dandy before I reached double figures, then it was Jackie and Fab208 as often as I could get them, with very occasional forages into Rave before I graduated to Honey. Nowadays it’s the Guardian and magazines from various organisations I belong to or charities I support. Favour, the magazine for supporters Hearing dogs of the Deaf doesn’t feature many soup recipes. But then neither did the Dandy.

That said, for me soup generally begins with what I have in the fridge rather than a recipe. And this week I had some celeriac that needed using, lots of tomatoes, and some nice white bread that was past its best. So Monday’s soup was a version of ribollita which worked surprisingly well. Motivated, I moved onto tomato soup, with a pound of tomatoes and some other veg I already had. I found a recipe which became the base for my soup, but to my surprise it didn’t include garlic. Surely some mistake? Easily rectified though, and thus emboldened I added half a tsp of ginger purée instead of the tomato purée I did not have. I love chilli, so after a slight hesitation I added a few flakes. Continue reading

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Soup Season

Yesterday I was mostly eating soup. Now that the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is handing the baton onto the season of fogs and frozen toes, hearty soups from those forgotten vegetables at the bottom of the fridge seem somehow right and comforting. Standing in front of a warm stove, stirring the pot, watching it simmer, the steam rising and bringing the flavours straight to you nose, is a wonderfully comforting cold day task. I am being a bit purple here, as today has been gorgeous; bright and sunny and I have had the windows open, but you get the drift.

Stirring Stuff

I took the cauliflower to the boat and brought it home again. It had some cream on it that wasn’t there when it began its journey eastwards and was looking a bit tired, a bit like a nightclub performer in the grey light of dawn. The leaves that had curled so tenderly and protectively about it seemed to have lost their sense of purpose, so they were consigned to the compost where they can do good works. The head of the cauliflower joined a couple of carrots who had done the same journey and looked as though they were about to revolt, some garlic and an onion in the saucepan. I munched on the crunchy stalk while they cooked. We used to fight over it as children. Ah happy days. Continue reading