Ever changing seasons of vegetable soup
Thursday afternoon is ‘clear out the fridge time’. I find it satisfying to take everything out, assess the remains of the week and have a tidy up. There is one single-minded purpose; not to waste a single thing. Plus it’s a test of ingenuity. How to transform the last of my weekly farmers’ market haul into something delicious that everyone will want to eat (and to make room for tomorrow’s new bounty). Vegetables are sorted and chopped – it’s always easier to start thinking with a knife in your hand rhythmically cutting onto a wooden board. There is rarely anything that needs to be discarded because it’s past its best – even lettuce – because the veg is picked on the morning of the market
This week I made a soup, started while drinking my first cup of tea of the weekend (Friday, Saturday here in the United Arab Emirates) and finished off after I got back from the market. You might call it refrigerator soup but that never sounds very appetising to me. The recipe is a vague one, I neither weighed nor measured, but here’s a sort of recipe if you need one:
Farmers’ Market vegetable soup
Heat a splash of olive oil in a really large pot and soften chopped onion, celery and fennel. When it has lost its crunch and looks a bit golden, tip in a lot of chopped fresh tomatoes and raise the heat. Skins go in as well – life’s too short to skin a tomato when you’re making a rustic soup. After a while the tomatoes lose their shape and sort of melt down.
Boil a kettle and add about the same volume of water as tomatoes and a couple of good vegetable stock cubes (Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon) and a piece of Parmesan rind (straight from the freezer). Once back to the boil throw in some shredded green cabbage (about a quarter), a scant handful of small pasta (orzo in this case) and plenty of green beans and cook for about 10 minutes until tender.
Serve with good fresh bread (in my case Pain de Campagne made with organic flour by Baker & Spice and bought at the market), a grinding of black pepper, and some fresh herbs. I used curly parsley from the garden.
Reading about tackling food waste this week, I like Charmian Christie’s idea of calling them ‘seconds’ rather than leftovers. It’s also a liberating way of cooking; I find it easier to experiment with flavours than if I’ve just gone out and bought a lot of expensive ingredients.
After a busy morning at the market this soup was the perfect lunch to come home to.
What’s your favourite way of using up odds and ends of vegetables?
My friend Ren Behan’s Simple and in Season event is back on and I’m so glad I’m able to join this month. It’s an indication that I’m on track with my resolution to write more about what we actually shop and eat for at home (rather than eating out events). P.S. I’ve just found out about another event that’s spot on too: Extra Veg hosted by my dear friend Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy. This also fits into an amazing long-running event called ‘No Croutons Required‘ which showcases vegetarian soups and salads.