Sunday, May 16, 2010

Soup and fires and rain on the roof

One of my favourite memories from my high-school years is those days when I would flop in the door after school, soaking wet from walking home in the rain, to find a pot of meaty soup bubbling on the coal range. No, I did not grow up in the 1800's, just country town NZ. Apart from one short-lived glorious time when the school bus stop was right outside our gate (as in gate to the paddock that our house was in), there was usually a long walk to the bus stop. Every house seemed to have one of those old fashioned coal range fires, which everyones mum used for cooking and to heat the house and the water.

Maybe it's these memories that make me fond of winter soup and crackling fires, even if these days, it's an eco-friendly, low-emission log burner. Stinky, polluting coal is certainly 'off the menu' for the fireplace of the regular citizen.

Making a winter soup could not be easier, and my recipe is 'anything not nailed down' (i.e. lots of veges, particularly root veges and onions) plus a chunk of meat on the bone - bone marrow is very nutritious - and sometimes a little chopped up Freedom Farms bacon. I'll add a bit of salt and, depending on how the flavour is going, may throw in a Massel stock cube. I would add winter herbs except that I've somehow managed to fail at growing significant quantities of any winter herbs this year. Maybe I over-watered, or under-watered, or my cats over-fertilised. I'll have to look into it. This soup is the very definition of slow food. It's ready in about five hours, but better at 8-10 hours and even seems more flavoursome on reheating. You can freeze any leftovers too. High-water foods, like soup, are ideal for people like me that like to eat a lot. The water content means that you feel full more quickly, also the slightly tricky nature of soup consumption means that you automatically eat more slowly. Exhibit A, above, was my lunch today, at 3pm (one of those days).

Soup was followed with an antioxidant hit in the form of raw, organic chocolate. I've discovered a new brand, NZ made, and I do prefer it to the Loving Earth one. It seems smoother, less 'gritty'.

Just the thing to create that nice state of alert wakefulness that I need for effective exam prep (speaking of which... )

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