A stinking cold and sore chest, together with seasonal North-East England weather, brought thoughts of at least one hot, comforting, bowl of tasty soup each day foremost to my mind. Usually this means a ham or gammon shank, loads of dried pulses, onions and carrots. But I decided to do things differently this winter, giving a nod in the direction of ‘harder’ times. What follows is an experiment. I’ll describe what I’ve added to my ’stock’ pot, intervening cooking times and the verdict for each day the pot is ‘re-stocked’, in a series of small posts.
The idea is to ‘charge’ the pot initially, cook slowly, then each day have a bowl of the result, probably with some crusty bread. Any suitable scraps of food will be added on an ad-hoc basis, and seasoning (if any) added to taste.
500gm Tesco ‘cooking’ bacon (scraps). (£0.75) 1st fried gently until exudate forms, then drain this off and fry again gently, then add to pot.
1 medium french onion chopped roughly.
3 small carrots, scraped clean and chopped roughly.
2 tablespoons left-over baked beans (in tomato sauce) (£?)
1 draining from potato boiling. (£?)
2 tablespoons left-over (canned) garden peas. (£?)
Luxury Item! 100gm Italian Salami piece found in back of fridge, sliced generously. (£1.50)
Boiling water to suit.
Total cost so far, excluding fuel: £2.75
Estimated generous servings: 6
Initially simmered in large pot for 30 minutes, then heat turned off and left 4 hours, (for the whole afternoon) then simmered for further 15 minutes before sampling.
I tore up a piece of crusty white bread and dumped the pieces into the bowl in the above picture.
Initial impressions were – very tasty, if a little salty. The carrot pieces had not dissolved, but were soft and very sweet. Of the onion, although almost totally absorbed, small, tasty remnants remained. The beans and peas still remained intact. The Italian salami pieces were still whole and tasted fabulous, and the bacon retained it’s ’smoked’ taste – pleasant, but as I said earlier a little salty.
I would expect this saltiness to moderate as I add more veg and/or dried pulses later on.
I enjoyed the soup very much and was tempted to have another bowl, but opted for a couple of yoghurts instead, which nicely balanced the salty soup.
Look out for the next exciting instalment!
Other anti-illness strategies – I bought my very first pair of thermal Long-John’s!