It's 5pm and still light outside, although the sun is setting and it won't be more than a few minutes before I can see the first few stars glittering in the clear and freezing sky. It is very cold. Apparently there is snow in London but not here yet; maybe later... Nevertheless, I will shortly diving beneath a lovely woollen blanket with a hot water bottle and curling up with tacky movies and books for the rest of the evening.
It's been perfect weather to indulge my current obession with making soup. Inspired by this post on one of my favourite foodie blogs, I have been making lots and lots of green soup recently. My creations have turned out far, far greener in colour than the picture shown; incredibly so... but then I have been ramping up the kale and adding spinach and other green goodies big time; I've never been one for following recipes meticulously at all. But this base is a winner. Yesterday's variation on the riff included cauliflower rather than potato as a thickener, and onions and leeks and january king cabbage in addition to the napa cabbage (or chinese leaf, as we seem to call it here). I also added 2 packets of a spinach / rocket / watercress salad mix just before blending and... well, the colour was neither shy nor retiring. And the soup was pretty delicious as well - possibly a bit too brassica-ry, but it would carry some blue cheese really well and if I wanted to bring it out at a dinner party, it would dress up fantastically with some yoghurt or creme fraiche. So I have some leftover in the freezer waiting for its Cinderella moment.
I also made a huge pot of hearty winter veg stew, to use up a pretty poor bottle of wine that I had picked up as part of a meal-deal for P mid-week. Lots of root veg (onions and leeks and carrots and parsnips and rutabaga and celery and the essential garlic), said wine, fresh and tinned tomatoes, lots of dried and fresh herbs, and puy lentils. Again, all mostly frozen to bring out later on, for convenient deliciousness. I think this would be great as a filling for little tartlet cases, perhaps with some blue cheese melted on top, and served with some cauliflower puree, brussels sprouts and red cabbage - a complete winter warmer, a comfort food dinner for friends.
It makes me happy to have my "ready-meals" to pull out when I want them. It's been a life-saver in London recently since P and I have such different foodie requirements. To know that I have something nutritious and wholesome just ready to defrost or microwave for me, which lets me put dinner for both of us on the table without wasting lots of money on veggies that he won't eat, takes such a load off my mind. I really hate spending the working day thinking about what I am going to take home for dinner that evening that will suit us both, and my mindset is such at the moment that I think about it far too much (stress, and stupid stupid recession and lack of job for P).
Right, the first star is in the sky and my blanket (maroon, welsh wool, snuggly wholesome comfort in yarn) is calling me. As is the rather delicious purple sprouting broccoli that I picked up on the organic veg stall in the market yesterday. For all the cooking that I love to do, I would far rather eat just plain, steamed veggies if I am on my own. Hopeless case!
Love to all.