Saturday 17 March 2018

Soup Weather

I think wherever you are in the country today, it will be cold.  Very cold. With a stonkingingly cold N-E wind.  The Son of the Beast from the East.  I can do without it - I want spring back.  We had a day and a half of it this week and it was LOVELY.  I even got hot on my walk yesterday.  Now we have been having flurries of snow coming past the window in a horizontal fashion, courtesy of the fierce gusts of wind.  On such a day as this, staying indoors as much as possible sounds like a plan, and making a pot of soup for lunch a must.  I made mine last night, so I could make a gammon steak make several meals - half went into a risotto which did for two meals - and the other half into my standard Minestrone soup.

Recently though, I made a sort of Scotch Broth only using cooking bacon as the meat in it, rather than lamb (or traditionally mutton).  You could use any scraps of meat really.

I am trying to remember the proportions of ingredients I used to make it.  I know I had a 60p pack of cooking bacon, and 2/3 of that got frozen in two packs of 1/3 in each, so I will have used 1/3 pack of bacon, chopped, in the soup.  There were two carrots, peeled and chopped into rings, a medium potato, peeled and chopped, and a good size onion, peeled and sliced. I put about 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil in a Le Creuset pan, and fried the onion and bacon, then I added about 1 1/2 pints of chicken stock, and put probably 4 oz of red lentils in to cook and added the carrots and seasoned.  In a separate pan I put about 4 oz of pearl barley in hot water, boiled for 10 mins or so and then simmered for another 50 minutes, before draining and adding to the soup.  Then I stirred well, cooked for a further 5 minutes and served.  Yummy!  Especially with a slice of buttered fresh bread.

Let's hope this cold weekend is the very end of winter and we can move forwards into spring.  We had one day where we had the front door open all day (bliss), and I managed to get some gardening done.  When we went to Wotton-under-Edge last week, alongside the motorway (just as we crossed the Severn) I noticed the first tiny flowers of Blackthorn flowers showing the smallest white margins in the buds and yesterday alongside the A40 there were green smudges on the stretches of Hawthorn along the hedgerow.  I had only just been remembering when we used to take the children up to see Manchester granny at half term and Easter, and the hedgerows would be the brightest of lime greens, and when boredom set in we would have counting competitions for Magpie houses (black and white timbered cottages), brown cows, cherry trees and when the edible distractions were running out, I would get them counting sheep (THAT kept them busy!)


  1. Oh my goodness I remember those counting games. I used to get mine counting milk tankers, hay lorries ... and seeing who could make a polo sweet last the longest. It certainly has been soup weather today and yours looks especially tasty. It was homemade carrot and ginger for us, then homemade lemon drizzle cake at teatime and a lazy Saturday supper of spaghetti and meatballs in tomato sauce - meatballs and tomato sauce both out of the freezer as I just could not be bothered to go shopping today. In fact I spent the afternoon hand quilting while watching the 1992 film of Howard’s End which was glorious - costumes, gardens, houses, acting all completely sumptuous. I cannot believe I was at the allotmrent yesterday afternoon in full sun and at a quarter to six a group of us were still chatting outside the hut while watching the sun go down. When will this winter end?

    1. Hi Sarah - weren't we inventive mums? As Elaine said, parents have it easy these days with their kids plugged in to all sort of electrical gizmo's! Your carrot and ginger soup sounds yummy and lemon drizzle cake is one of my favourites.

      I haven't had meatballs for ages so may rustle up a batch next week. How lovely to sit and enjoy Howard's End and sit and quilt to your heart's content. One of my favourites is a reasonably (2012?) version of "Lorna Doone" - I caught the 2nd half of it on tv recently and want to watch it from the start again and fortunately have it on DVD.

      Let's hope spring returns (and STAYS) next week.

  2. We missed out on that mild day, it was bitter cold here in Lincolnshire, yet mild in Norfolk which is 'just down the road'. It is definitely broth weather - and sort-of broths are my favourite. I made one using an old packet of dried peas plus random bits of veg, quorn and oatmeal. I topped my husband's portion with shredded bacon and he didn't realise the broth was otherwise vegetarian.
    Oh, the joy of long car journeys, although these days don't parents simply plug their kids into a dvd or an electronic device of some kind? :) We used to do endless singing games and on quiet country roads the old guess what colour/type of vehicle we'll see next.
    I hope you have plenty of broth left for today. Bring on spring!

    1. Hi Elaine - I saw Lincs had it bad - again. We are on the edge of the weather again (thank goodness) - enough snow to enjoy knowing it shouldn't be with us tomorrow.

      We certainly had the knack of keeping the kids amused on long journeys - on motorways, they had to look for the most unusual vehicle, and I can remember still doing this (for a laugh!) when I took eldest daughter and her friend into England to stay with a good friend, after their O levels were over.

      Your broth sounds good (I have a cupboard full of dried pulses and stuff to use up) - today it is Minestrone though.

  3. I make a lot of soup BB - so shall add that recipe to my soup book.
    The weather here is dreadful - three or four inches of snow drifting in the strong east wind.

  4. Oh dear Pat - even we have snow this time, but not very much and I've just walked up the hill. It's laying in some places more than others but the roads are OK and it's nothing like as cold as it was last time the Beast visited. Keep warm.