Thursday, 21 January 2016

Zen and the art of soup making



Long time, no posts – sorry about that. But one thing I have stuck to is the weight loss regime. It’s amazing how much difference getting on the scales every day makes, even when I seem to be doing little else to alter my weight. OK – let you in on a secret – I have eaten very, very little wheat in the last six months. Minimal bread, and hardly any pasta (only once in Italy, and that was a disaster as I mistook zucca – pumpkin - as a label for the filling; not the shape of the pasta, which turned out to be filled with one of my all-time unfavourites, hard boiled egg… yeeuch).
My new weight even survived Christmas in tact. But, since then, there have been a lot of leftover hamper foods knocking around. Betty’s Yorkshire Gingerbread is to die for.  Who knew? I certainly wouldn’t have, and I could have ignored it had I not tried one first morsel.
By last weekend I was starting to feel those carb cravings revving up again. And that “will I get hungry?” question mark hanging over me whenever I was planning my next meal.
My remedy was to cook soup – something I find hugely therapeutic on the rare occasions have the kitchen to myself. And soup is a nice filling and comforting winter food for lunchtimes that isn’t overloaded with calories.
Over “twixtmas” I’d already made and frozen several litres of turkey stock, and spent Sunday night chopping onions for two soups – pea and ham, and celeriac and mushroom. There were further onions for a lamb and aubergine stew, and a Spanish tortilla – so all four burners had onions sweating on them.
Then, for the soups: easy mcpeasy РI added fried bacon, garlic, tarragon and a bag of frozen peas (plus stock) to one pot, and chopped and saut̩ed celeriac and chestnut mushrooms with garlic and stock to the other.
A new ingredient I’ve just discovered that went into everything I cooked that night is Lemon Salt from Spice Mountain in Borough Market. (Deliciously umami and I’ve just sprinkled it on an avocado too.)
I had to get written permission from my husband to use his Thermomix – but, after promising to clean it thoroughly and put it all back together, back where I’d found it, what joy! This is a machine that whizzes up soups to a fine cream. Steve even makes fish soup using all the bones, and they are crushed to silky smoothness by this kitchen wizard.

So we are now eating soup every day at lunchtime. And though I am not really losing weight any more (after losing 3-4 kilos, which turned out to be about 6% of my bodyweight, I am hovering) the soups, and the daily weighing, are stopping me from soaring again. And helping me eschew wheat...