I made a raid on the fridge last night and seized my suspects. The remains of that celery cowering in the corner? Into the pan you go. That inch of courgette, those flabby carrots? Their fate was sealed. Even the large but softening beetroot was fair game.
I started by frying onions in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. I find if I start by frying, it commits me to cooking and I have to carry on.
But one was not enough. This soup had four onions, peeled and chopped. An onion-craving due I believe to the weather turning – after the spring sun, back to British chill. I swear these temperature changes play havoc with the immune system and thus my body was pleading for sustenance.
Who would have thought that the miserable occupants of my fridge plus the onions could help? But they did.
I amused myself by cutting the vegetables as thinly as possible, inspired by browsing through a copy of a recipe book by Boy George and his macrobiotic cook in the Luscious Organic shop in London last Friday.
Cooking is so dramatic. Look at the mess I made with the peelings. But aren’t they beautiful? Some naturally interlaced with each other too…
I was entranced by my vegetable peelings but life is tough and into the compost bin they went.
Meanwhile the mound of veg in my pan (with lid) was stewing away. I gave them a stir every now and then.
Then I added water – about 500 mls – and left the concoction to slowly simmer with the lid on.
I could have added salt to flavour but I had a brain wave. Due to an enduring macrobiotic flirtation, I had some miso in the fridge (it keeps for ages).
Miso is a friend, providing flavour, health and richness just from fermented plants such as soya beans or brown rice or barley.
I squeezed about two tablespoons of the miso into a cup, added some hot water and mixed it to a thin paste, which I added to the soup.
For garnish, I added a handful of nettles I had picked on our walk yesterday, and served the soup with fresh organic bread. It had taken a pleasant half-an-hour to produce from virtually nothing and it was delicious.
I swear I heard my immune system whisper “thank you”.