I have gotten into a semi-organised state of creating a loose plan in relation to upcoming meals and shopping accordingly. It is with immense trepidation that I use the word 'plan'; it is not a favourite word of mine, I am a spontaneous sort, and I have a touch of commitment-phobia. I do, however, believe in the creation of loose plans - they give direction and structure, without tying one down to anything specific. In other words: organised chaos never killed anyone, but in fact provides something of a guide while still allowing flexibility. When I was doing my grocery shopping on Friday, I was thinking ahead to what kind of feeding I would need after heading out for a cycle on Saturday morning. I have just joined a new triathlon club, and I was going out on a Saturday morning cycle to Howth Summit that turned out to be a total of 42k in the end. Though I do not have the power of seeing into the future, I was able to hazard a guess that a steaming bowl of soup and some scones would warm me up nicely, and how very on-the-button I was.
I had been itching to make Nigella's soup made with garlic and love and pumpkin scones (from Kitchen) in an age, and there was a tin of pumpkin purée waiting patiently in the cupboard for me to get my butt in gear. I had to venture into Fallon and Byrne to buy the canned item in question, and boy-oh-boy did it reinforce my theory that you may go in there to one teeny weeny tiny thing, but you will always reemerge with a full bag and an empty wallet. It really is a very special store though, and one that has provided some much needed colour on the city's culinary landscape. Any time I find myself in a head-scratching where-will-I-source-that ingredient dilemma, Fallon and Byrne can be guaranteed to come up trumps.
It's some fair whopper of a tin, and I only used a fraction, so the remainder was promptly packaged up and sent out to the freezer. There were lots of interesting recipes on the inside of the label of the can, so I tore it off and have it tucked into The Book.
Spurred on by the need to get out of my stinky running gear and shovel some hot food into me, I threw together these orange beauties in a jiffy: 175g pumpkin purée, 50g parmesan, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce, salt and pepper and 2 teaspoons chilli oil.
Then 250g plain flour, 2.5 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda.
Plop it out on a floured surface and get scone-ing. Nigella mentioned something about 5cms here and there. I made half an attempt to figure out the height of my dough and then got bored and just cracked into wedging that lovely little serrated cutter down into the dough.
Milk on top to glaze and into the oven with them (preheated at 200 degrees) for 15 minutes.
On with the soup while they're cooking away. At this stage I was getting more than a tad impatient with the hunger and I'd swear I was wasting away on the spot! To start, into the pot with one chopped leek for five minutes in three tablespoons of olive oil.
Then one lovely flu-busting bulb of garlic and 1 heaped tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme for another five minutes.
Two potatoes, chopped finely, skins on.
By this stage the scones were out of the oven and I was literally hopping about the place with the hunger. How incredibly restrained of me to leave them alone until the soup was ready! 1.5 litres of stock, all brought to the boil, simmered for twenty minutes partially covered.
When the beauteous moment to sit down and tuck in finally arrived what sighs of relief and oooooing of satisfaction there were.
I have had a lot of friends ask me over the past few weeks how to actually get into exercise and enjoy it, rather than dread it and make excuses to avoid it, and I would strongly advocate having a reward like this to look forward to after your efforts.