After a prolonged period away from the hob, and, reluctantly, from this blog, I am finally back in action. We have had some tough times, but I have re-donned my apron and am once more capable of brandishing a wooden spoon and feeding our family.
And it seems like perfect timing, as it’s definitely my favourite period of the year for all things culinary. The weather has turned chilly, and we’ve stocked up with root vegetables in preparation for autumn and winter warming meals.
I have already knocked up a pot of my dad’s stew this week and then my mind turned towards one of my favourite tastes of home – vegetable soup. A version of this is made all over NI using one of its homegrown products, about which I have blogged before, a unique fresh vegetable soup mix which is sold in every supermarket.
It’s a combination of very simple ingredients, including carrots, parsley and soup celery and means that a healthy veg soup is a doddle to make. Making it while living in England is slightly less of a doddle, but still very simple. The main thing you need to remember is to soak your lentils etc overnight.
Even though I cannot find a good English soup lentil mix, our celtic cousins in Scotland have come to the rescue with Great Scot vegetable broth mix. It’s sold in our local Asda in handy little 125g sachets which are the perfect size to make one big pot of soup.
Each sachet is a perfect mix of pearl barley, yellow and green split peas, marrowfat peas, split lentils and vegetable flakes.
And after it has soaked, all you need to do is rinse it and cook it in a pan for 40 minutes or so with vegetable stock and a hearty portion of chopped carrots, fresh parley, celery and leek.
As is traditional at home, I like to add a few whole potatoes and a bit of shredded chicken in there too. Hot and steaming with a chunk of buttered bread, it makes for a pretty unbeatable bowlful for lunch or an evening meal.
I am certainly looking forward to replacing sarnies with it for my packed lunch at work tomorrow.