Friday, 26 February 2010

Asparagus and pee soup

If only to make Michelle jealous (the Rational Living household have been reduced to liver - ugh!) tonight is a winter salad: lettuce, tomatoes, new potatoes, shredded cabbage, grated carrot, you know the stuff, with some fresh heavy bread.

I've been desperate for green veg, with nothing domestic in either the greengrocer or the dreaded Morrisons. I've got a solution, though I'm not too happy with it: tinned vegetables. Now these are already overcooked and pulpy before you even start, so aren't worth much. But some tinned asparagus and tinned celery (yes, who knew?) have been added to my attempt at Belgian Groensoep.

When we go to rural Flanders, this is a standard lunch menu item you can get in most cafes, even in railway stations. It's always fresh rather than tinned or rehydrated and I've become a big fan. But I've never had any luck finding out what's in it. Conversations with waiters always run like this:

What's the soup? It's our groensoep. What's in it? Green vegetables. Which ones? Err, green ones. Two bowls, please.

It's clearly a mix of vegetables, probably asparagus, possibly broccoli (not in my version shakes fist) and on that basis, I can make it with what's available. So this is spring greens, asparagus, leek, carrot, parsnip and onion, starting from a paprika roux base. It's a blended soup, and is currently cooking without heat ready to serve at 7pm.

As you may know, there are two facts about asparagus. It's all green; the white stuff is made by putting more soil on the spear each time it grows through, so it never makes any chlorophyl. The other fact is the pee smell. You may not know this one. Asparagus has a chemical in it that, when processed, makes your pee smell odd. But there's a Venn diagram at work here: 50% of the population don't process the chemical and thus don't get smelly pee; 50% of the population can't smell the chemical when it is processed. So you can be in any one of four states: producer/smeller; producer/non-smeller; non-producer/smeller; non-producer/non-smeller.

Now go away and find a method of discovering which one of the four you are. Report back when you're done.


peezedtee said...

Just had some asparagus, as it happens, with spaghetti bolognese. I can already tell you from previous experience that my pee will smell funny in the morning.

Michelle said...

Producer/smeller checking in for duty.