Post-therapy soup

Image shows a bowl of tomato soup shot from above. The bowl is white inside with a blue rim.  The soup is bright red and topped with sesame seeds.

Tomato, miso and sesame soup.

Another Anna Jones recipe from a modern way to cook.

This is one of our favourite soups. When I first made it, I couldn’t believe the result was going to be palatable. It contains a lot of miso paste and tahini and the topping has even more miso and tahini, plus honey, lemon and sesame seeds. It just sounds like there’s going to be too much flavour happening, but somehow it works.

Weekend cooking

Image shows a cooked gratin in a round, black oven dish. The top is covered in chunky toasted bread and grated cheese.

Butternut and cannellini gratin

From a modern way to cook by Anna Jones.

The picture doesn’t look very appetising, but this is a really nice vegetarian recipe. Red onions, butternut squash, cannellini beans with a sourdough bread and cheese topping. Tearing up bread is a good way to top a gratin or casserole without all the work of making a dumpling or scone topping.

Weekend Cooking, Melanzane Parmigiana

Image shows a square black baking tray containing cooked melanzane parmagiana, sliced aubergines in a red tomato sauce toped with melted cheese

“Why haven’t I made this in ages?” I asked myself as I started cutting up 2 lbs of aubergines. I mean, I love aubergines and I love vegetables baked in cheese. But my question was soon answered – because it’s a right bloody faff that involves three stages of cooking. First, you have to make a tomato sauce. Then you slice up the aubergines real thin and fry them in batches. Once you’ve done all of that, you layer the aubergines with the tomato sauce and cubed mozzarella, top it with grated parmesan (or in our case, its closest affordable relative) and bake it in the oven. Was it worth the effort? Yes, absolutely. It was delicious and I served the leftovers on pasta for lunch today. Will I make it again soon? Probably not.

Recipe from my beloved and very battered copy of the Good Housekeeping, Complete Book of Vegetarian Cookery (1992)

Weekend Cooking – Root Vegetable Cobbler

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I love cooking and I’m trying to make sure I get the time to cook something a bit special at least once a week.  This weekend I made the Root Vegetable Cobbler from Ruby Tandoh’s Flavour. There are not many cook books that make me want to work my way through pretty much every recipe, but Flavour is one of them.

This cobbler is basically a vegetable stew with a simple scone topping. It’s delicious and filling. After a lifetime of hating swede (thanks 1980s school dinners!), it’s also the first recipe that’s brought me around to the vegetable.

A Quiet New Year

I never really know what to do with the calendar New Year. We both find Christmas difficult and, by the time 1st January rolls around, we’re thoroughly sick of the festivities. Certainly not in any mood for partying.  But it’s one of the ways that society makes sense of time passing and it’s difficult to ignore, so we feel that we should acknowledge it in some way.

We’ve decided to redefine New Year’s Day as “banish Xmas and take care of ourselves day”.  My mother, devout Catholic that she is, always made us celebrate the full twelve days of Christmas. I enjoyed the holiday when I was growing up, but that last week, with the half-naked tree, drooping decorations and endless heavy family dinners, just made me feel like I hated everything.

This year we spent the morning cleaning our flat and getting rid of Christmas-related stuff. We changed the sheets and made everything smell nice. We had an aromatic lentil soup for lunch (which is traditional for New Year apparently) and went for a walk. The sun even came out and I saw a green woodpecker. For dinner, we had Bigos, the Polish sauerkraut and sausage strew that we love, but which takes ages to cook.

I’m quite looking forward to January. I intend to enjoy it for what it is, a time of relative quiet before the year really gets going at work. I’m planning to eat lots of wholesome, hearty meals, drink brandy toddies, and go to bed early with a hot water bottle and a book.

What we got up to this weekend

Image shows a savoury tart in a round tin. The filling is yellow and browned on top.

I made this egg and bacon tart on Saturday. I haven’t baked a tart in years because I’m terrible at making pastry. This time around, I decided not to risk doing it myself and used a box of ready-made shortcrust. I still messed it up a bit. The pastry started tearing and then it shrank in the tin, so I patched it up and ta daa! Well, the filling was tasty.  The recipe comes from this book, Good Food The Collection: 480 + Triple-tested recipes which is as reliable as it sounds.

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