Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Cold August. Hot Salad.

So, that was August. Apparently the Met Office officially summed up the month's weather yesterday with the word 'changeable'. It didn't seem to manage to change to summer at any point though, did it? Oh well... on to autumn with conkers and hats and bonfires and pumpkins and much more seasonably reliable weather.

This driserable* August has made it hard to decide what to eat. It's summer, and there are lovely salady things everywhere. But I've got ski socks on and am wrapped in a quilt. Conundrum.

I have compromised with what I always call (in my head) a hot salad. Bear with me...

I know it looks like soup, and I guess it sort of is, but it always seems more salady to me because you don't cook any of the component parts.

It was inspired by the miso soups you can get that have things floating in them, and in particular the seven vegetable one they sell in Itsu. (I work above an Itsu and its constant sushi-temptations. Interesting fact: it's the one where that poor chap got polonium-ised. Doesn't seem to have had much of an impact on their sales...)

It's also, as is often the case with my recipes, a useful way to Use Things Up and, as such, doesn't have a proper recipe:

1. Empty fridge of random bits of vegetable. (Mine have so far included carrot, mushroom, cabbage, beetroot, beetroot leaves, anything else leafy, spring onion, green beans, tomato and courgette. The only thing that I'm not sure would work is cucumber...)

2. Chop them in to bite-sized bits.

Feel very welcome to use a clean carrot. I obviously prefer mine grubby for added grit.

3. Add some chopped tofu or halloumi or cooked chicken if you want to up the protein.

4. Put it in a saucepan.

5. Boil the kettle and, in a jug, make up some stock/broth/soup to a quantity that would cover the veg in the saucepan. I use Marigold Bouillion powder, but I'm sure lots of other things would work as long as you like the taste. Miso soup is the obvious choice...

6. Pour the stock over the veg and pop it onto the heat very briefly. You don't want it to boil or cook the vegetables, just to make sure it's hot through and to start to wilt the leafier things.

7. Slosh into a bowl (I always end up having to use a small mixing bowl as I make too much) and douse liberally with soy sauce.

8. Eat and feel virtuous.

*A useful word to describe the British weather, being a portmanteau of miserable and drizzly. Possibly the Met Office should have plumped for that one instead of changeable. 

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