“Spiced Sweetcorn and Lime Soup” from “Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste, Sound”

Time for some Real Truth about this cookbook: The way it is organised is maddening.

I know we’re only 11 days in the month, and maybe we just got off on the wrong foot, but it’s just a really frustrating cookbook to use. It is organised by the title: with one section each for sight, smell, touch, taste and sound. OK, fine, I can work with that. But only if the index is robust. It is not. Alternatively, there is a list in the front of all the sections with the recipes therein, but finding out what those are means paging through to those specific pages.

Needless to say, it takes a fair amount of time to find specific recipes. So when we want to celebrate Meat Free Monday, for example, it’s a long slog through the index or flipping back and forth to the front of each section. It is frustrating to see the least.

So this is what I finally decided to make. I thought it would go well with the Green Chilli & Avocado Dip from “Together” (it did) along with some Doritos, which everyone loves. Unfortunately, my two dining companions– Nicholas, the teenager, and Tim, the husband, filled up on all the fun stuff and thought the corn soup was just Meh.

I liked it, despite the fact that it doesn’t photograph well (pureed corn soup always looks like sick, no matter what you do), but if the other two-thirds of the family didn’t like it, I don’t see making this again any time soon.

Now don’t mind me. I’ll be over here in a corner for a few hours trying to figure out what to make next.

Advertisements
“Spiced Sweetcorn and Lime Soup” from “Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste, Sound”

“Minestrone” from “How to Eat”

The air was autumnal, the sky was grey and we had just returned from a week of eating all sorts of goodness in the US (read: fried chicken, pizza, cheesesteaks), so there was only one thing for it– a bowl of healthy soup. Minestrone fit the bill perfectly.

Once again, Nigella did not disappoint. As with all vegetable-centric dishes, the prep– chopping, peeling and the like– is what takes up so much time. But Nigella soothingly tells us in the introduction that you can chop one set of vegetables, throw it in at a low heat, and then move on to prepare the next one. It makes sense.

She does note that the soup does turn out to be “an undeniable khaki,” and that’s true. See above. This is one recipe where it probably is a good thing that there’s no photos in this book.

The one thing that tripped me up was Nigella’s recommendation to use Ligurian olive oil. I spent a fair amount of time in my local Waitrose trying, and failing, to find Ligurian olive oil. I went for the Tuscan olive oil instead, reasoning that it was the next region over, so close enough (though she says the Tuscan stuff is more peppery). But funnily enough, that night we finally sat down to watch “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” on Netflixa cookbook we reviewed earlier this year— and Samin Nosrat goes to Liguria to see them make olive oil. Coincidental or poetic? You decide.

We had loads of leftovers, but I’ve got to say that the soup is even better the next day. Once again, Nigella for the win.

“Minestrone” from “How to Eat”

“Self Care Chicken Soup” from “Flavour: Eat What You Love”

img_3058There are moments in life that serve as stark reminds that time is marching on, regardless of whether or not we would like it to. One of those moments occurred when eating this soup when Andrew, 17, turned to me and said, “Can you teach me how to make this so I can make it myself when I go to university?”

[I had to take a moment to regain my composure.]

He’s got about 18 months to go before he’ll be off to university, but still, it’s already a hot topic of conversation– not to mention numerous meetings at school– as he weighs his future options. I fear it might be too late to finally construct the Harry Potter Hogwarts Lego that we were saving for a rainy day, but there’s still time to enjoy chats over after-school snacks, watch any and all shows about dogs together and to teach him how to operate the washing machine.

And, maybe most importantly, teach him how to cook.

Andrew already knows some basics, and he certainly is a dab hand at reheating things in the oven. But what he’s asked me to do is start compiling the recipes of all of his favourite foods and then teach him how to make them.

So I knew this recipe was a winner when he asked for the recipe to be added to his “Things I’d Like To Know How to Cook” list. It was a rainy cold day when we ate it and even though it’s quite simple, it’s also quite sublime.

Our particular bowls of self-care chicken soup may have been improved by the addition of freshly-made noodles (see above). But I also think this would be just as good with regular pasta. Needless to say, we all loved it and all of us were clamouring for second– and in some cases, third– bowls of it.

So while this meal may have made me a little bit weepy, it wasn’t the fault of the food. You can’t deny the march of time. Now I just need to get cracking on the cooking lessons, before it’s too late.

Apologies for the lack of photo of the actual soup. But aren’t these homemade noodles beautiful? 

Also, Google Books has indexed Flavour: Eat What You Love, so if you’d like to check out the recipe for this amazingly simple and amazingly delicious soup, click through here.

“Self Care Chicken Soup” from “Flavour: Eat What You Love”

“Spicy Shrimp Ramen” from “It’s All Easy”

DSC02685

Ella: This needs to be spicier!

Kirstin: It has a jalepeno in it!

Ella: MORE!

Tom: The broth itself is quite thin.

Kirstin: I imagine the miso broth might be thicker, but these are never going to be as thick and tasty as those at Bone Daddy’s, or any of our other favourite ramen places in town. This broth is made of mushrooms.

Ella: It isn’t spicy enough!

Kirstin: How could I have made these spicier for you?

Ella: Basically, you could have made the prawns spicier…

Kirstin: Perfect hangover food. And it was the usual faff going to the local Asian supermarket where I didn’t recognise anything and it takes me ages to find what I’m looking for.

Ella: I like this because it doesn’t feel like it requires any effort to eat, but it also makes you feel full.

Kirstin: Shall I make it again?

Ella: With chillies!

Kirstin: Soup-er!

“Spicy Shrimp Ramen” from “It’s All Easy”

“Carrot and Cardamom Soup with Ricotta Dumplings” from “A Year of Good Eating”

IMG_8115

One of the many good things* about Meat Free Monday is it forces us to try different things.

While I do love a good hearty soup while we’re in the throes of winter (Editor’s Note: This was a week ago, when London really was winter-like. Now, not so much.) This soup has the added twist of dumplings in it, made by combining flour, fine oatmeal, ricotta, parsley and butter. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thought it would be a bit different from our usual throes of winter soup fare, so I was willing to give it a go.

We all loved it. Andrew, 16, even requested that it go into the regular rotation of Meat Free Monday dishes, he liked it so much. Tim was surprised at how filling it was. Nicholas liked the dumplings. Having eaten the leftovers for lunch, I can tell you that it’s fantastic warmed up a few days later, too.

Yum. Yum. Yum. Another winner from Nigel.

*Some of the good things: Good for us. Good for our planet. Forces us, at least one day a week, to not look to meat as the starring player in our dinner. Did I say Good for Us? It bears repeating: Good for us.

Want to make this yourself? Find the original recipe from The Guardian, found by clicking on this link.

“Carrot and Cardamom Soup with Ricotta Dumplings” from “A Year of Good Eating”

“Meatball Broth” from “A Year of Good Eating”

Is there anything better than a nice soup on a cold January night? I think not.

It was the perfect weeknight dinner for a cold January night when half of us had to be somewhere at 7 p.m.* and the other half of us got in from school/work late. We all have nights like that, and this fit the bill perfectly.

This is a very simple recipe with only seven ingredients. Take ready-made meatballs, fry them, fry some spring onions, grate 1/2 a head of celeriac and pop that in there too, add some thyme, beef stock and bring it all to a boil. Finish it off with some grated parmesan and you’re done.

The adults loved it. The teenagers and near teenagers? Not so much. When pressed the morning after, Nicholas, the near teenager at 12 years old said, “It reminded me of Benihana.” When I pointed out that he loved Benihana, he admitted that was true, but that he didn’t think Benihana would serve this. So I’m flummoxed as to why he did’t like it, but perhaps a little bit of mystery will make my life more exciting.

I really enjoyed paging through this book so far. It’s got several recipes that I’m eager to try, which is always a good sign. I know it’s going to be a long month when I struggle to find a selection of things I’d like to eat, but it looks like this isn’t one of those months.

I also very much appreciate the fact that it’s chronological, so I can see what he made and ate in January, when I know he’ll be using ingredients that will be available to me. For every season he’s also got a section of seasonal eats, which are quick and easy recipes that can be made. This recipe was taken from “Winter Eats.”

I’m hoping the success of this recipe portends a good month of eating. We’ll see.

*The lack of photos reflects the fact that I rushed out before they could be taken. Sorry. It’s a Cookbook A Month FAIL.

“Meatball Broth” from “A Year of Good Eating”

“Pour-Over Soup” from “A Modern Way to Cook”

Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset

Kirstin: So it’s just me for lunch and the perfect time to make this pour-over soup. Super easy to make, super delicious to eat and very, very good. I’ve been looking for something easy to take to work and this totally fits the bill. I love that I can transport it in a jar. I made something very similar to this from Jamie’s Comfort book and while I am aware it’s not vegetarian of me I think I might add the odd prawn for variety here.

“Pour-Over Soup” from “A Modern Way to Cook”