Monday, April 26, 2010

Meal in a bowl

I arrived home from Dawn Service on Sunday morning, (after a Honeypot breakfast: mmm) and found it was still only 9am. Unlike most Sundays when I lie in bed reading before dragging myself into the shower around 11, I was up and about and had the whole day ahead of me. I decided to make the soup I'd planned for dinner my lunch instead.

Minestrone (p87) has one ingredient that requires  a little advance organisation. The dried haricot beans need to be soaked overnight before cooking. Luckily, I'd noticed this in the recipe and set some to soak on Saturday night. As long as you're organised about it, using dried beans and lentils is pretty easy - and very very cheap.

Making the rest of the soup was put on hold, however, when I found that my camera battery was flat: I bet that's not a common interruption in most kitchens! I had a lot of chopping up do do, though, so I neatly prepared all my veges while I waited for the battery to charge. It helped a lot to have everything ready for the pot. I should try to make a habit of it: usually I'm still frantically chopping one ingredient while another is already burning.

By the time I'd finished with my chopping, the battery had charged enough to take a few of the obligatory photos. Then it was on with the soup: fry he onions, then add the rest of the veges and cook for 8 minutes. After that, add the tomatoes and stock, season, bring it all to the boil and simmer for an hour and a half. It seems like a long time, but you can make some ANZAC biscuits while you're waiting!

I was slightly disappointed in the texture of the soup. The recipe said it would thicken, but it didn't. And when I thought about it, there's no thickening agent of any kind in it, so I can't see why it would thicken. Apart from that, it was pretty good. With all the veges, a bowl of this is quite filling - certainly enough for a meal for me! It's an absolutely perfect winter warmer on a chilly day like today.

The afternoon, while visiting my Nana,  I was describing for her the things I'd cooked lately. I suddenly realised I'd missed an ingredient in my minestrone. Nothing hugely important, just a handful of green beans that should have gone in with the rest. I'd bought them specially, but couldn't remember seeing them in the recipe when I was making the soup. I asked to see Nana's Edmonds book so I could double-check that I'd made a mistake.

Nana went to her recipe-book drawer to look for her Edmonds book. There we unearthed a facinating collection of old cookbooks which we spent the rest of the afternoon looking through. We never did find an Edmonds book, but that idea was fogotten amidst the perusal of an old Aunt Daisy cookbook, various fundraiser cookbooks and Nana's notebook of hand-written recipes dating from 1940.

Later in the afternoon, I arrived home (bearing Nana's Aunt Daisy Cookbook for further reading) and checked the recipe in my Edmonds. Yup, should have had green beans. Oh well - it can't have made much difference to the result. Now I just need to use up those beans I bought... Where's my Edmonds Book?

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