Sunday, 11 May 2014

How Many Surf Boards?

It's not often I treat myself to something other than food.  I don't buy many clothes and when I do it is normally something I have found in a charity shop.  Occasionally I will buy a new CD here and there. Books however are more my downfall and especially cooking books.  I normally just wait till I find them in charity shops but recently I fancied treating myself.  I bought a total of 8 and in my defence, all of them were second hand.  When Phil found out I had ordered so many he made the comment that surely I had enough vegan cooking books. My answer was that you can never have enough vegan cooking books and asked him whether he felt he had enough surf boards.  I never heard a peep out of him after that.

The value of the new editions to my heaving cooking book shelf was clearly demonstrated further to Phil on cooking my first recipe from one of them; Vegetarian Soups For All Seasons. I opened it up on page 52 to find a Winter Celery, Potato and Mushroom Soup.  Admittedly it is not winter here anymore, although Cornwall is currently doing quite a good impression of it with the absence of springtime sunshine, but we did have a load of celery that was crying out to be used.  We also had all the other ingredients to hand so I set to work on it.

Winter Celery, Potato and Mushroom Soup
Page 52 of Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons by Nava Atlas

This is our summarized version of the recipe!

2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour
5 cups of vegetable stock
4 large celery stalks (and leaves) diced
3 medium potatoes diced
1/3 cup of barley rinsed
2 bay leaves
Sprinkle of oregano (it says 2 tsp salt free herb and spice seasoning mix in book)
1/2 pound chopped mushrooms
1 cup frozen green peas
1.5 to 2 cups of non dairy milk (we used almond milk)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the onion in the oil until golden.
2. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until disappeared then slowly pour in the stock and stir.
3. Add the celery, potatoes, barley and bay leaves and simmer 15 minutes (covered).
4. Add the mushrooms and herbs and simmer for 30 minutes till the barley is tender.
5. Add the peas, milk and salt and pepper and simmer for another 10 minutes.

This soup is a lovely creamy thick affair.  It is also very filling, especially with a little tasty sourdough on the side.  This recipe is for 6 servings so we had enough left over to enjoy the next day too.  It does thicken as it cools, as indeed it mentions in the recipe, so you will need to add a little milk or water to thin it out a bit the next time you heat it up.

Most of the recipes in this book are vegan but nearly all of them that aren't can be adapted.  It was most definitely a good buy and a book that I am sure to revisit on many occasions.

So there Phil!

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