Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Do you remember Saturday soup?

Earlier this year I made a lot of soup; be it lifechanging, carrot and celeriac, chicken or Saturday. "Hang on!", I hear you ask, "What's Saturday soup?" The answer, dear reader, lies here, but just in case you have mid-week fatigue and can't be bothered with clicking,


"my stock recipe is what I call 'Saturday soup' (TM) where I use up all the
leftover veggies from the last weeks veg box, boil them in stock until soft
and blend until smooth. That's it. Hardly Masterchef material."

Since the move, the day I get my veg box has changed to a Tuesday. Which in itself is fairly radical as changes go; well radical for me, I've always planned my menus Saturday to Friday. But, there's more. I know, brace yourselves. It's summer, so what am I to do with leftover veggies? Of course I can parboil and freeze (or when I'm feeling lazy just freeze). And our Local authority does collect our compostable waste each week, so snaps to Enfield there. But it still needs using up in some way at some point. And that is where my quandry lies.

This week for instance, I was left with a leek, a red pepper, some celery, 2 tomatoes a cauliflower and some lettuce. Were I at work then packed lunches would safely dispatch the salad ingredients with some added feta or houmous. But what to do with a pepper, a leek and some cauliflower in August? I should also mention I had defrosted some chicken pieces on Sunday before feeling horrid due to my painkillers. I've made varying pasta sauces using most of the veggies already this week and was not in the mood for a further variation on pasta and veggies in a tomato-ey sauce. I bet Nigella doesn't have these problems. However further investigation into the what to eat situation produced half a jar of passata, half a bottle of white wine (the only reason for this is the fact that I'm on medication, I promise you that I wouldn't normally be so lax) and of course my usual storecupboard. So I made a fairly outlandish (for me) decision and decided upon a kind of tomato based, chicken and cauliflower curry.

Leeks and onions are related aren't they? Because that's where this plan started. Consider the leek chopped, and added to a red chilli and crushed couple of cloves of garlic. I sauteed this off until the leek started to soften and then added the chopped up tomatoes, a couple of chopped up sticks of celery and half the head of cauliflower which I had broken down into florets. And now for the spices. Here I must confess that I'm not confident with Indian cooking. Give me a recipe and I'm good to go, but I'm just a bit wary of chucking it all in the way I can for casseroles or pasta sauces; due to lack of experience more than active choice. So I added half a teaspoon of turmeric, ground coriander (smelling slightly dusty so the rest of that has been binned), ground cumin, and garam masala. You know what? It smelled great! I was still slightly worried about the cauliflower which didn't seem to be softening at all, but added the chicken and stirred the fantastic smelling, but slightly odd looking concoction in my pan. Once the chicken had started to seal, I added the passata and then about a big glass of white wine. It didn't look great, kind of pink to be honest and smelling dubiously of alcoholic spices.... I wasn't convinced, and found I had a distinct lack of a back up meal of toast and marmite. Damn. So I did what any aspiring chef does in a tricky situation such as this. Made a cup of tea, turned the heat down and went for a sit down and a chat to my flatmate and the cat.

To my complete and utter surprise, twenty minutes later, we had a relatively dry but fantastic looking curry. The cauliflower had cooked beautifully, and worked really well with the spicing (which I have to say I was dubious about) and the sauce, whilst reduced to a really thick consistency (think more like a paste than a sauce) had great flavour (and was no longer scarily pink either which was a HUGE relief). Added to some basmati rice I was most impressed. As always I made far too much, so the remainder is in the freezer but I am generally pleased with my Monday masterpiece. So now we have Saturday soup, and Monday masterpieces... I may need to work on that name.

Photo to come... completely forgot to take one last night, but will do so next time I have some. Although right now, I have to work out what in heaven's name to do with the marrow from today's box, as my memories of stuffed marrow are up there with aubergines, and macaroni cheese. Watch this space...

3 comments:

ginger@dinnerdiary.org said...

It's great when things you've created turn out well isn't it. I miss this aspect of having a vegetable box, it definitely made me more creative.

Pen said...

It's exciting, and I was proud of this, as my initial thought was just to freeze the cauliflower. But I fear the marrow is a step too far...

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Sounds delicious - I love it when slapdash stuff turns out well. (Though a pink curry sounds a little creepy, esp with chicken in it - glad to hear it got it together in the end!) :) Vege boxes sound pretty fun, I wonder if we have them in NZ...

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