Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snowy Soup

Let there be no doubt about it, this is serious soup weather. When I was daydreaming in work earlier about how to warm myself from within, I remembered that these beauties were patiently hanging out in the garden, keeping their elegant green necks held high in the snow.

When I planted these out first, I had a vague notion that they might be leeks, but I wasn't entirely sure; like a genius, I had made labels for all of my seeds on cardboard written in pen. Worra muppeh: yes, clearly they promptly washed off as soon as I watered them, which made for a very entertaining guessing game when I planted out the, at that stage, extremely similar little green leafy plants. As they grew tall and became more plump I figured out that they were leeks, and, as I munched my way through the crops around them, I was uncharacteristically patient and ungreedy in waiting until today to pounce. With a bag of spuds in the kitchen, there was nothing for it but to make leek and potato soup.

The zingy scent of freshly chopped leeks is all the more refreshing when 1) you grew them yourself and 2) you're just in from crunching your way through inches of un-stomped-upon snow in the back garden.

Leeks and onions and 'tatoes - oh my!

The big fat Ballymaloe Cookery Course cookbook is my go-to guide for essential basics, and though soup isn't exactly rocket science, it provided direction for my first foray into soup-making and has remained a reference point. I have learned many good habits from it, including covering the diced veggie base with a butter wrapper so that the vegetables sweat beautifully. And there is never a shortage of butter wrappers in my fridge.

Sweaty, steamy veggies...chicken bouillion cube...easy peasy. Why on earth do people buy soup?

Whizzed-up veggie goodness. The stick blender is such a marvellous invention; before I got mine, I used to turf the pot of un-blitzed soup into the food processor, which was messy and to be honest fairly dumb. But this little beauty makes it all smooth and lovely in an instant.

Ordinarily I don't put milk into my soup, but it's all hands on deck on the comfort front with the snow 'n all. And it added such lovely thick bubbliness to the pot.

I don't really eat bread, not white batch bread anyhow, but here I am again with the need to make food decisions that correspond wisely with the weather. Lumps of butter melting on crunchy toast with a steaming bowl of soup - I had one of those "it's good to be me" moments.

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