Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Today I am mostly eating...

...Sunshine soup with home-made bread for starters - caramelised onion and goat's cheese tart for main.

I fancied a break from writing today (writers' block) so dug through the cupboards and fridge for something to turn into delicious grub.

I call it sunshine soup because it's made from yellow/orange veg...simples! Butternut squash, yellow sweet pepper,garlic and potato and parsnip, okay not all strictly yellow, but near enough. I would've thrown in a couple of carrots but the ones I had in my fridge had gone all limp.

Has to be the simplest soup to make.
Chop veg into small pieces, add chicken stock (or veggie stock if you're of that persuasion) and a good pinch of harissa and rose spice, then simmer till soft.
Blend, add more seasoning if needed. Maybe a swirl of cream and garnish to taste, as they say. I've done this recipe using coconut milk and Thai green curry paste to rings the changes a bit.

Himself mopped the dish clean with the bread (yes, I did make it...from a packet) so I assume he liked it.

Now for the main:

1 packet of flaky pastry (with only one day's life left in it, phew!).
It was the ready-rolled sort so all I had to do was un-roll it and score a half inch round the edges so it could rise and fluff up nicely.
I put that aside and to a hot frying pan added a knob of butter, 3 tablespoons each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and when bubbling, added 500 gms onion (should be red but I only had the ordinary sort and it worked just as well) and a tablespoon of sugar.

I left that to simmer while I checked for emails from editors...none. Had time to enter a couple of comps on GMTV until all the liquid in the onions had reduced and they were nice and brown.
Note: If you make this, the kitchen will smell fab at this point and your stomach will be groaning for food!
While the onions cooled, I spread a bit of tomato and garlic puree on the pastry base but you could add fresh toms...I didnt have any. I told you I was using stuff from the cupboard!
I added the caramelised onions and veg (oh forgot to say - good tip here: those packets of frozen mediterranean veg cooked with the onions at the last minute make a nice addition.)
Lastly, I topped the lot with with slices of goat's cheese.
Bunged it in the oven for about 25 mins. making sure the bottom was cooked through. I find placing it on a slotted tray works best...or a pizza tray. Anything so the heat can get to the base. And voila!

Served with salad and/or chips. I was pleased with the results looks and taste-wise though Himself moaned he found a dog hair on his plate. Like that was my fault. Honestly!

Monday, 12 October 2009


Sorry to shout but I needed to say it VERY LOUDLY and this seemed the best place, there being no echo. Plus Himself can't mutter a childish, 'Yes you have and no come backs' under his breath.

The disagreement began like this:
I took a phone call from Second Son to say he and girlfriend had arrived safely in Paris and they were 'Up the Eiffel Tower'.
I'm gooey-eyed on hearing this as Himself and I spent our honeymoon in Paris - 35 years ago last month if you've been paying attention.

'How romantic', I said. 'Dad and I did all the other touristy stuff, but never made it up the tower.'

Puzzled look from Himself followed by lots of huffing and puffing about how could I have forgotten? The most romantic city in the world on the most romantic day of our lives and I'd forgotten.

No, I hadn't. It never happened. I'll say it again. Up the Eiffel Tower we did not go!
Could it be Blackpool Tower he's thinking of? If so, he did that alone, because I know I've never been up there, either. I do recall climbing a working windmill in Norfolk - an exercise I'll not repeat in a hurry. Watching the sails whizz past as I clung to a wonky wooden rail was enough to put me off heights and Weetabix for life. Not to mention the ensuing asthma attack.

I digress - La Tour Eiffel...I tried to end the argument by getting out the honeymoon snaps. There we are at Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, the Seine, Champs-Elysées, Notre-Dame, L'Arc de Triomph even the bliddy bus terminal but not one pic taken from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Plenty from the bottom looking up. Hah! Proof or what?

Um, no. He said we were probably still giddy with the excitement of our wedding, and so stunned by the breathless beauty of the city spread below us that we must've forgotten to use the camera.