Soup & a slice: 20151119

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French bread with a hint of onion

The focus on food waste tends to be on the fresh items we don’t manage to eat before they go past their sell-by date, but in our house there are plenty of pantry items that are hidden from view and remain unused, and my Inner Womble has been inventing ways to make use of them. Now that I’m at home for lunch, making fresh soup and bread is a good way of dealing with both of them – a blended soup can hide a multitude of less-than-perfect food items, and an inventive bread recipe can make use of some as well.

As it happened, Ryan’s dad came round to help re-hang the garden gate on Saturday, so I needed to make lunch for the three of us. After a breadmachine recipe I found on the internet failed spectacularly, I returned to the breadmachine booklet for a reliable one. I chose French bread, as I had everything I needed on hand. Bread flour tends to linger in the pantry, as after a couple of loaves the breadmachine languishes on the shelf for a while – or it did, when we were both out at work all day. So I used up the end of a bag of old bread flour in this loaf, and topped it off with some onion flour (just bread flour with dried onion included) to make up the weight.

For some reason we have two open bags of caster sugar, and very rarely use it, so this is a good way to do so, although it keeps indefinitely. And we had lemon juice in the fridge left over from making hot toddies to soothe summer colds, and it definitely doesn’t keep indefinitely 😉

Whilst the breadmachine was wombling away on that lot, I turned my attention to making soup. Vegetable soup is easy enough to make without a recipe – I simply start by frying garlic and another allium of some sort (often an onion, a leek if we have one), then add the veggies for a few minutes, then add a fluid and some seasoning and let it all simmer for 10 minutes. After that, if I have the time, I let it cool down with the lid on – mainly because blending a hot soup is a bit of a high risk activity! Once it is blended it’s time to adjust the thickness and/or seasoning as necessary, and the soup is ready to quickly reheat when required. (And, of course, soup is a great thing to cook outdoors!)

Finished squash and coconut soup

On this particular day what went into the soup was:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 leek, cleaned and sliced
3 potatoes, roughly chopped
1 small orange squash, peeled, de-seeded and roughly chopped
A small handful of chopped chard stalks (keeping the leaves to use elsewhere)
1 big lump of frozen Thai herbs from the freezer (I finished the packet)
1 carton coconut cream (which I tend to keep in stock)
Salt and pepper, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce for added seasoning
Milk and water to thin after blending (next time I would probably use vegetable stock)

Coconut cream/ milk gives you a lovely creamy soup. This one was very pleasant, quite sweet with a mild flavour. After thinning it was still thick, and made 4 very hearty portions. We ate 3 with the bread, still warm from the breadmachine and extremely tasty! I added a little garam masala to the leftover portion for some extra flavour (while it was still warm), and popped it in the fridge when it had cooled down. (Soups that contain potato don’t freeze very well, as the texture goes a little grainy when thawed.)

The rest of the loaf quickly disappeared – a couple of slices each to go with a ploughman’s lunch the next day. A couple of chunks to dip in the cheesy sauce I made to go with a lovely head of romanesco broccoli (it has been sooooo long since I made cauliflower cheese!). And the very end I fried in sunflower oil to make croutons to serve with the final portion of the soup.

So this made a good dent in the veg box delivery, and our current breadmaking habit is rapidly removing all of the old flour from the pantry – to the extent we’ve had to buy some fresh bread flour!

Categories: bread, food waste, soup

Author: Emma


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