Saturday, 29 March 2008

Potato and Parsley soup with black peppered bread

Saturday 5.45pm

Potato soup, another creamy comforting soup for autumn this one with some parsley for freshness.

- heat some oil hot in a saucepan

- add a couple of rashers of bacon chopped anyold how and turn the heat down (if you are vegetarian of course, just miss out the bacon)

- when it is just sizzling add an onion and three small sticks of celery all chopped

- leave to cook gently until it all smells glorious – a good ten minutes I should think. You - want people to come into the kitchen and ask what you are cooking with a dreamy longing look on their faces.

- Peel and chop three potatoes , add them to the pan and leave for a few more minutes now, stirring to mix and stop it sticking.

- Add a pint and a half of vegetable stock – I used Rapunzel vegetable boullion mixed half strength as usual.

- Once the potatoes are soft, say twenty minutes to half an hour, whiz the lot in a liquidiser

- Bung it back in the pan, check seasoning and add a tablespoon of chopped parsley as you warm it through.

As say, creamy and comforting this one with a hint of onion, celery and bacon for depth. It still needed a bit of a kick though so I made some bread topped with olive oil and lots of crushed black pepper. The pepper seems to take on a lovely lemony tang when cooked with a warmth to match the soup.

Strangely enough after I added the parsley the soup took on a slightly fishy taste which gave me an idea. How about for a dinner party starter – grill some nice firm white fish with salt pepper and butter. Put the soup in some warm shallow bowls and place a fish fillet in the centre with the hot salty peppery butter poured over. Sounds good to me, and I’ll probably have a go one day, but not for Nicola – I cannot really describe the shape of her face when I mentioned this idea but it was not encouraging !

Mind you, she also compared my soup to packet soup as well, and I can see what she means, I think it is the onionyness in the background, but there is nothing wrong with packet soup if that is what you want at the time. Or actually I should say there is probably lots wrong with packet soup but I have still eaten it !

Monday, 24 March 2008

Nicolas’ breakfast

Monday 9.10am

Sunday morning, out late last night so a quiet lazy morning is planned. I have eventually got up but am alone in that – Nicola is still in bed reading, and the children are asleep. I like Sunday mornings like this, when there is time to gaze out of the window over my teacup and reflect on things. Around me wafts the smell of toast and mushrooms cooking – Nicolas’ breakfast produced in response to her comment “ Oh, I thought you had brought me something nice to eat “ as I went into the bedroom to borrow her camera.

Buttered toast, mushrooms sliced and fried in a little oil and butter until they brown a little and their juices run. All served sort of café style perhaps to christen a beautiful blue and white striped bowl that Nicola has recently bought.

Life can be good sometimes.

Sunday morning music ? – how about “Fat old sun” by Pink Floyd.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Swiss Chard or Silver Beet Soup

Friday 1.00pm

Got up this morning thinking of celery soup. Celery soup and walnut bread. Celery and walnuts, a classic combination really. I knew there was some celery in the bottom of the fridge, but when I got there I found that nature had got there first, leaving me with three small stalks and another bag of green soupy mush. Well off to the worm farm for the green mush but what else might be there . . . . two slices of bacon, some mushroom stalks ( Nicola does not eat the stalks ) and, well that’s it really apart from potatoes. The lettuce and red peppers are for tea tonight.

Ok so I have the makings of a base for a quite autumny soup.

- 2 slices of bacon, 3 sticks of celery, some mushroom stalks and a peeled potato are chopped and left cooking slowly in some oil while I search for a main ingredient.

And gazing outside I spy Nicola’s beautiful swiss chard or silver beet as it is called here. Problem solved.

- Once everything is soft and fragrant add a pint and a quarter of vegetable stock and simmer till the potato is cooked, ten/fifteen minutes or so.

- Now strip the green leaves off the silver beet stems wash them, tear them up small and add to the soup.

- Simmer for another few minutes until cooked then liquidize the whole lot.

- Put the soup back in the pan to warm through and season – I like quite a lot of black pepper.

The walnut bread is easy to make. I don’t really like flavoured breads as such, preferring plain bread with ingredients on top, so I just make some white dough in the bread maker, flatten it out onto a tray and top with some walnuts rolled about in some of olive oil (so that they toast rather than burn) squashed into the dough.

A rather nice soup I must say with a beautiful chard taste and a warm depth of flavour from the base ingredients. Of course the reason the silver beet was there is because I am the only one that likes it ! So I’ll be freezing some for my lunch next week. Extra earth mother points for me !

And todays musical accompaniment ? - Statesboro’ Blues by the Allman Brothers Band, Live at Filmore East, a classic album featuring Duane Allmans slide playing big time.

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