Yup, the rest of the office is on a diet but I have turned to soup because of my fatigue with sandwiches. The latter have become so dull that I can barely bear to tuck into them these days, no matter how hungry I am.
My trusty key pieces of soup-making equipment have therefore been in action frequently in the last few weeks as I take something warming, comforting and nutritious to my desk. I can’t do without my stick blender and my New Covent Garden Food Co Book of Soups. The book was given to me by a best friend for Christmas one year when they spotted its lamb and Guinness number and thought it would be just up my street.
Funnily enough, it is one of the soups I still have never made, despite owning the book for nearly 8 years! I’ve been too busy obsessing over the roasted parsnip and parmesan and the kumara sweet potato chowder.
I have many favourites from its pages and yet I still have a lot of fun finding something new in there – as I did a few days ago. Finding myself with some red peppers and goat’s cheese in the house, I made just that soup. And I found that, as usual, I could tinker with the recipe – halving quantities and not having quite enough red pepper – and things still turned out beautifully.
It is a wonderful thing to find a cookbook in which you completely trust and a piece of kitchen equipment you value highly, for that matter. A lot of the CG soups can be made in one pan, and then blitzed in the same pan with a stick blender which is what we time-pressured mums really want.
It’s one of the things in the kitchen I think has worked out as the cheapest by far, re cost per use. When you consider that it saves time and effort moving things from A to B to blitz them and back again, in addition to turning a bit pot of chunk into smooth and velvety deliciousness, it’s a must-have for any home cook.
And it was a key ingredient in ensuring the silkiness of my latest experiment, a soup inspired by one my good friend Lou ate on a trip out. When I saw her post about a terrific cauliflower and parsnip soup she’d eaten, I thought first, oh, never had that before, and secondly, could I rustle up a bowl?
I used milk and a little bit of rice to thicken it and it was divine. Lou agreed that it’s a keeper.