We are really lucky, I think, that we have a proliferation of unusual food shops in our little city. It has really only been the past few years that they have started to appear, but we now have a Chinese shop, a Thai market stall, a Polish delicatessen, and an Afro-Caribbean grocery.
I shop quite often in the latter - there is a wonderful array for fresh fruit and vegetables at really good prices, as well as some fantastic herbs and spices. The people who run it are really friendly, and I like to support them by buying as much as I can there.
It happens to be on my way home, and has offered some excellent inspiration for my weekly Wednesday soups. This week, I had in mind to make a sweet potato soup, and so on the way home picked up 4 sweet potatoes, a large red onion, a few limes, and a tin of coconut milk. Making the soup was simplicity itself, and I was really pleased with both the cheerful colour of it and the depth of flavour.
This was another of my roasted soups, and I started with cutting the potatoes and onion into chunks, drizzling lightly with olive oil, and roasting in the oven for about half an hour, until everything was soft. I put these into my blender along with a tin of coconut milk, and a good dollop of thai green curry paste. (Do check, if you are making the soup for vegetarians or vegans that your curry paste is suitable for them - many of them use fish sauce as an ingredient). I cut a lime into quarters, and added the flesh from one of the quarters, and whizzed it all up together.
The resulting soup was really more of a puree, so I thinned it with some hot water from the kettle, and threw in a handful of fresh coriander before blitzing it again, and then returned it to the pan to warm through, before serving.
When I eat soup like this, made out of fresh simple ingredients, I get double enjoyment out of it, as I know it tastes good, and is doing me good too.
So, apart from making soup this week, what else have I been doing?
Reading...I reread Dorothy Whipple's Someone At A Distance this week. I love her writing so much, and this story stood up well to a second reading. It is a story of a husband led astray by his elderly mother's French companion, and the aftermath. The first time I read it, I felt more of the horror of the inevitability of some parts of the story, but this time around I was more able to appreciate some of the beauty in the details and the writing. Whipple makes some observations that are very astute, and paints such evocative portraits with only a few words. There is one part where she talks of how the wife has joined the ranks of ladies who eat boiled eggs for dinner, and I knew exactly what she meant. I have started now to reread Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. I am not sure why I am in such a mood to revisit a few favourites at the moment, but I am.
Knitting...more on my soft gray sparkly Miss Marple scarf. I seem to have had very few evenings in, but I am enjoying working on it when I have time. The pattern is here if you fancy making one of your own: http://www.skiffvintageknittingpatterns.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/skiffs_marple_scarf1.pdf
Eating...a really lovely spicy chicken bake from The Hairy Dieters book. We ate at a friend's house and this is what she made us, it was really delicious, and I have ordered the book from the library so I can try out some of the other recipes.
Watching...Poirot of course, the perfect thing for a Sunday afternoon.
Buying...dresses for the office. I had not particularly planned to go dress shopping, but as I was browsing, on three different occasions, I found dresses that I loved and were in the sale! First there was a blue and white flowered ditsy print dress which really nips in around the waist; then there was a black lace dress with a black slip dress underneath. The last dress came this morning, a jersey dress which looks like a wrap dress, but isn't. So that is me sorted for work for quite some time to come! These last days of the dregs of the sales can turn up some real bargains - I have three dresses for less than the price of one! I really like wearing dresses for the office (and indeed at home). They are so quick and easy and help me channel a little bit of the Mad Men Vibe.
Before I go, do go and visit this lovely blog and post about the joys of soup! http://moonroot.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/thriftwitch-in-praise-of-soup.html