Monday I went for a Thai sort of thing. Three carrots, some frozen sweet potatoes, an onion, about 40g of creamed coconut, two teaspoons of smooth peanut butter, pinch of chilli flakes. I think the third carrot made it too thick, but it tasted lovely.
Tuesday 45g of lentils (soaked for 30 minutes), 1 medium carrot, small onion, teaspoon of smoked paprika, a dollop of tomato ketchup, about half a cup of yesterday’s soup. No bouillon! Very nice, but lacking … something. Bit thin, maybe, and needed more seasoning. Might try some thyme.
Thursday small amount of broccoli, the green part of a large leek, ¾ of a small courgette (the rest had gone mouldy). This wasn’t all that nice; it tasted a bit raw, and not blended enough. Of course, there is a “blend” button on the machine, but I didn’t think about that till we’d eaten it!
Friday one medium-large potato, which was sprouting in the cupboard, and a bit soft (I cut the sprouty bits off, but didn’t bother peeling it), and the white part of yesterday’s leek. This was really nice.
Reminder: all soups have a teaspoon of Marigold vegetable bouillon, salt, and black pepper.
So that’s another week done – we’re still hugely enamoured of the soup maker, and it has earned its permanent place on the worktop.
A friend served us some lovely tomato soup last week, and told us he’d made it with a soup maker. He bought it from Lakeland, so I went and had a look there and it was £50. So then I went to eBay and found one at £40, with free postage. And I looked at it again on Friday, and it was down to £36, so that made it a no brainer. The seller was AO, and they were an absolute pleasure to deal with. It’s a Morphy Richards 501021, and Amazon also sell it at £40.
It arrived this morning, delivered by two cheery chaps – It’s quite sleek, and takes up very little room on our crowded worktop, and to honour it, we are having soup for supper, with home made rolls from this everyday bread recipe. I bake these in silicone mini loaf tins, and they’re always nice. 125g per roll, should you care – best to weigh the dough, as otherwise the rolls are all different sizes (trust me on this).
In the soup maker in readiness are two leek tops, one cabbage core, a broccoli stalk, a teaspoon of Marigold bouillon, and some seasoning.
We eat a lot of soup at lunchtime in the colder weather – we either have a big pot on the go, or we (sorry) have cup soups. If this machine will make us nice fresh soup from scrag ends of veg in half an hour, it’s a win in my book. I’ll let you know!
We went to my daughter’s house for Christmas, and it was lovely. But the downside of being away is you get no leftovers; thankfully, she offered us the turkey carcass to take home, and so we did, despite her protestations that there would be no meat left on it. As soon as we got home, I lobbed it in the big slow cooker with some water, and left it alone for about six hours.
The next morning, I surveyed the vegetable drawers. They contained sundry carrots, three courgettes on the edge of disaster, two fairly dried up leeks, four sweet potatoes in need of eating, and a rather soft swede.
I small-diced the courgettes (half of one of which I had to throw away – how I hate that), the leeks, and half the carrots, and put them in the medium slow cooker with a little olive oil to cook down. Then I peeled and larger-diced the rest of the carrots, the swede and the sweet potatoes, and put them in a big pot to cook for root mash later.
Then I turned to the turkey carcass – readers, there was loads of meat on it, so I picked it clean like a vulture. Then I foraged in the freezer for some puff pastry (yes, ready made – who makes puff pastry?).
Took a pack of bacon lardons from the fridge and set them to cook off slowly in their own fat. When they were crispy, I added about a tablespoon of flour and cooked it in, a good splash of white wine from a bottle that was going over a bit in the fridge, and then some milk, until I had a nice creamy constituency. Added some chopped garden herbs, most of the turkey meat. and enough of the slow cooked veg to make the mixture fill a pie dish. Then Pete obligingly dealt with the pastry side of stuff (he’s much better than me at the rolling out side of things), and made these charming pastry moosen with a cutter that friends brought us back from Norway.
We ate it with the root mash, and sprouts – there was enough of everything to repeat the performance the next day, which was fine by us.
The rest of the veg went into the soup pot, with the remaining turkey meat, the stock and some barley.
Not bad for “no meat”, eh?
And here’s a picture of my Christmas cake, just because. As I said a few weeks ago, I made it in a ring mould, and covered it the weekend before Christmas with orange slices caramelised in water, sugar and a hefty glug of Cointreau. Rude not to, really. One of the eight or nine smaller cakes went in the middle, and I added fresh holly on Christmas Eve.
I love butternut squash. It has a lovely texture, and works in so many things: risotto, roast veg, Thai currys, soup, etc. But there’s no denying that it’s a faff to deal with due to the peel. So I did a little experiment.
I wanted some soup to come home to on Saturday, and astonishingly, there was no mongrel soup on the go (which I must address). And there was a squash in the fridge. I cut the top off the squash, and then chopped the rest in half, scooped out the seeds, and put it in the medium slow cooker with about ½” of wine (all there was left in that bottle, although obviously in this house, other bottles were available). I then added about 1″ further of water. Switched it on, went away. Returned after a couple of hours and added a diced and peeled Bramley, because it struck me that it would work rather well.
In the small slow cooker, I put a big onion, chopped, three cloves of garlic, and some chopped sage leaves from the garden. Half of this mixture went to make sage and onion tear and share bread (which I baked in the Remoska when we got home),
After four, or maybe five, hours, the squash seemed well cooked, so I scooped a bit out, and lo – even the skin was really soft. So I put it, the apple, the onion and sage mix, into the food processor and blitzed it all. Returned it to the pot with a bit more water, tasted it, and decided it needed some toasted cumin, which Pete obligingly provided. Switched the slow cooker onto medium, and it was all done and dusted when we got home, just half an hour to bake the bread. Splendid.
And then …
I had planned to make Anjum Anand’s Gujarati lamb on Sunday, and had removed half a shoulder of the relevant beast from the freezer. I usually add a squash to this, because the texture is so nice, but there was a bowlful of soup left and it seemed rude not to use that instead. So instead we had a kind of use it up Gujarati lamb, which went like this.
one shoulder of lamb, browned on all sides.
one onion, finely diced
some garlic (I used about six cloves) and a big piece of ginger, made into a paste with some water
a couple of handfuls of dessicated coconut
ground cumin, coriander, turmeric
some chilli flakes
leftover butternut squash soup (I accept that most of you won’t have this to hand)
some chickpeas (I always used dried, so had them cooking in the small slow cooker while this was going on)
lemon juice – about a tablespoon’s worth
salt and black pepper
Soften the onion in some vegetable oil, then add the garlic/ginger paste and fry for about three minutes. Tip in the spices (quantities here are very individual – we like our foot spicy). Fry a bit longer. Put the lamb in the slow cooker, tip the onion mix in, add the soup, and a little water if required – I wanted it to come about half way up the meat. I normally add sweet potatoes, but mine had gone mouldy (oh the shame).
Cooked it for about six hours (adding the previously cooked chickpeas about two hours from the end) and it was just beautiful. We gorged on it, and there was plenty left for today’s lunch. And indeed there’s still a fair bit of the sauce left, so I shall be adding red lentils and veg to that, and making it into this week’s mongrel soup.
So there you go – slow cook your squash, and no need to peel. Win win.
We held a small gathering here the other night, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We cooked up a slow cooker’s worth of lemony chicken and coriander, and a big pot of dhal to accompany it, and also for the vegans/veggies in the throng. We also served (bought) chapatis.
That recipe, incidentally, is a base – we use a lot more garlic, chillis and spices than that, and I’ve discovered that if you just sling the chicken in the slow cooker without browning it, it still works beautifully, and you save a lot of time and effort, and a lot of oil too! Makes it a very low calorie dish. Anyway, I digress.
So this morning, I tipped the remainder of the coriander chicken sauce into the stock pot, added a few carrots, a courgette and an onion which had been minced in the Magimix, and two mugfuls of red lentils, and a nice pot of spicy soup is now bubbling away for lunch. To go with it, I used (most of) the rest of the stout to make a Guinness soda bread loaf, which is now baking in the Remoska.
Sadly, Pete declined to drink the rest of the stout – it was two days old, I know, but still. I poured it down the sink.
I don’t normally bother with recipes for soup – they’re a bit mongrel here. But I’ve started tracking what I eat on MyFitnessPal, so it’s worth writing stuff up, just for that. So hopefully there’ll be a lot more appearing here now.
We make this quite often, as Morrisons do three lamb bones for about £0.85, which make a fine soup. I roast them off in the Remoska for half an hour, then boil them up in some water. Let them cool, fish them out, and strip the surprising amount of meat off them and shred it. And there’s the basis for the soup.
In the slow cooker (or a big pot), put the stock and meat, two leeks and some carrots (couple of big ones, or five smallish assorted, as I did this morning), which have been chopped finely. I use the Magimix for this as a rule, but sometimes I will stand and chop; it can be quite therapeutic, particularly if you imbue the veg with human personalities 🙂 Add 200g ish of barley, a couple of teaspoons of salt, and a good sprinkling of black pepper. Top up with boiling water if there is insufficient liquid.
About four hours in the slow cooker will do it, less if you’re in a pot on the hob. It’s very nice, and exceeding warming, which given the thermometer says -1C here today, is just what’s wanted.
I had a ham shank in the freezer – they are ridiculously cheap, really; this one was £1.69, I think. And yesterday, our Morris side, Rackaback, was due to dance out in Bridlington, a seaside town on the East Yorkshire coast, where the wind blows straight from the Russian steppes, with nothing in the way to divert it.
So, I sautéd a finely chopped onion in olive oil, dumped the ham shank in the slow cooker with 500g of dried split peas, added the onions, a couple of teaspoons of Marigold bouillon stock, and enough water to cover the lot, switched it on, and went out.
And came home seven hours later, after a cold and rainy afternoon, to a glorious smell. Fished out the hock, and let it cool, then stripped the meat off it, We ate the meat separately (not all of it in one sitting!), accompanied by the soup and some ciabatta. Just wonderful. We shall be doing that again.
This isn’t quite the first soup of the season, it’s the second. But never mind.
Regular readers will know I’m not a fan of supermarkets, but if I have to use one, the local Morrisons is my favourite. We popped in there yesterday on the way back from picking up my new melodeon (yay!) for some wine, and popped some lamb bones into the trolley for soup. At £0.57, it would be mad not to, and I don’t have anything like that in the freezer right now.
As always, I popped them in the slow cooker with some water when we got back, much to Iggy’s delight; he loves warmz, and likes to sit beside that when it’s on. This morning, I finely chopped leek, swede, carrot and courgette and started them in the Remoska (what a surprise – love it love it) and realised that I should have roasted the bones in that first. So, undeterred, I fished them out of the stock, and bunged them on top of the veg, sprinkled with a bit of olive oil and left it for about 20 minutes, just to kick start everything. Lovely lambish smell ensued, and I shall combined everything with some barley to get the soup ready for tonight’s supper (eating quick and earlyish, as it it is music night).
Also, in Morrisons, I bought a shoulder of pork. Was discussing roasts in the gourmet conference on CIX, and realised that we haven’t had roast pork in absolutely ages. I have a red cabbage to cook up in the slow cooker, and I shall give the Remoska a try for roasting meat.
Well, not quite … But this week’s soup includes broccoli stalks, leek tops and cabbage stalks!
Into small dice were cut one courgette, two carrots, and the aforementioned veg leftovers, and they went in the slow cooker on low for about six hours with a little bit of olive oil to soften them up.
Then this morning, I added a mug of red lentils, a good pinch of chili flakes, about 2l of boiling water, the very last of last week’s lamb and barley soup, and some seasoning, put the slow cooker on high, and with a bit of luck and a following wind, it’ll be ready for lunch.