Saturday, 6 March 2010

Purple-sprouting pleasure

A beautiful spring morning propelled me out of the house before noon for a stroll to the supermarket. And what I found there caused me to run back: broccoli! British broccoli for the first time this year!

I've missed broccoli. Not being able to buy imported stuff creates strange shortages - the worst was January's tomato drought - but broccoli and celery have been impossible to get domestically. And there it was: viciously overpriced broccoli, to be sure, but broccoli all the same. I abandoned half-formed plans for another salad and grabbed a carrot, a leek, an onion, a cabbage and some mushrooms.

At home I paused to open all the windows - again a first for this year - and then paused some more to wash the kitchen window, noticing that it hadn't been washed... well, CJBS bought the house in 1977, so, probably since 1977 (there's nowhere to stand to do it - a sheer drop to the basement means that the window is actually at second-floor level; I had to wash it with a mop, leaning over from the doorstep).

Then I started cooking. I chopped the onion in two, then divided one of the halves into four. I chopped up the mushrooms, leek and carrot. These then went into a medium high oven for an hour to roast to get a "deep" flavour.

The remaining onion I finely sliced, then fried off in a little fat. From that I made a roux from flour and paprika, with a shot of cheap brandy for some "bottom" (yes, I know "deep" and "bottom" are vague, but they're the best I can think of for describing what roast veg (depth) and brandy (bottom) give to  soup). The brandy is almost done and won't be replaced - booze wasn't rationed but it was difficult to get, especially stuff not made at home (ie almost everything but beer).

I put the roast vegetables into the roux and made it up with stock from my stock pot to cover. Then I put in a diced potato, for the ever-needed wartime bulking of food, and brought it to a vigorous boil. Then I added the broccoli and a few cabbage leaves and have turned the heat right down. When to potato begins to soften, I'll turn the heat off entirely and let it cook in its own heat.
This is another puréed soup, I reckon, so the separate-broth-from-veg, purée-veg, recombine-the-two thing will be later: hence the usefulness of letting the soup cool. Bring back to the heat and serve with some National bread.

There should be enough for it to be my dinner tonight and a starter for two tomorrow: all from only one rationed item - the spoonful of fat at the start. It should also be nice and warming; useful, since British weather being British weather, the morning's spring has gone and has been replaced by steel-grey skies and a chill wind. Back to winter for a few days, then.

To counterpoint doing yet another soup, here's a picture of last night's sausage hot pot, which used slightly more fat but was still well within rations:


Kecske said...

The sausage hotpot looks absolutely delicious.

Michelle said...

Yea for broccoli and a nice spring morning! We're celebrating both here, too. Except now that you point it out I'm pretty sure I need to clean the windows...