Wednesday evenings are amongst the times I enjoy cooking most. I always make sure I leave work on time, to get home and make supper so I can get out to my burlesque on time. I want something nutritious and satisfying after a day at work, but also light enough so that I can get into my corset and dance without discomfort. It also needs to be something that will keep and reheat easily for when Carl comes home later. My lovely friend Annastasia comes to share this meal and a pot of tea with me each week, and she happens to be vegan, so whatever I cook needs to tick all of those boxes for me.
Soup is just the most perfect answer to all those questions. I have rarely made the same one twice, and don't very often follow a recipe, just going with what I find myself thinking about that day, or what looks good on the vegetable stall at the market. I suddenly realised, the other day, that I have not been writing the recipes down anywhere. So, here is the soup I made this past week, and also the slow-cooked baked beans that I put on to cook overnight, ready for supper on Thursday night, before I went off to ukulele class.
Slow Parsnip Soup In A Hurry
In the morning, when I got up and started putting together breakfasts and our packed lunches, I put the oven on to heat, and put in a tray of chopped parsnips and red onions tossed lightly with a little olive oil. I left them in while I went about the rest of my morning, letting them slowly caramelize and their flavours mingle. When they were done, I sprinkled them with mild curry powder, and left them to cool, before putting them in a covered tub in the fridge.
When I got home, I put some vegetable stock into a saucepan along with some potatoes, just a handful, and simmered them. After about 15 minutes I added in the parnsip and onion mixture, simmered for 5 minutes more to heat them through, and then popped the lot into my blender and blitzed to a thick rich soup.
Annastasia had been to Planet Organic in London, and brought with her a wonderful baguette that was so dense and rich and delicious. When Carl came home, he had his with some chorizo. Simple, satisfying, soothing...soup is just fabulous!
Slow Cooked Baked Beans
While the soup was heating, I chopped a large onion and softened it in a little oil with a couple of sticks of soft celery. I scraped them into my slow cooker, and added a carton of passata, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a diced red pepper, a can of butter beans, a can of kidney beans, a pinch of dried chillies, a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and a pinch of sugar. I covered it and set it to low and let it cook overnight. The transformation that long slow heat has on the contents of the crock pot is amazing, the flavours are really deep and complex.
Let me know if you try making either of them how you get on!