Friday, 28 May 2010

Soup n' stock, rock n' roll

I had a clash of leftovers vs tastebuds this week. In the leftovers department, I had celeriac (aka celery root) and garlic-infused olive oil from the earlier salads. In the tastebuds department, it was tomato soup I wanted. How to combine these unlikely things?

Huh, not much of a cliffhanger question, that, is it? Tomato and celeriac soup seems the obvious answer, but there was little or nothing online. Time to invent a recipe!

I started by halving my tomatoes, putting them in a baking tray and pouring the garlic olive oil (I got olive oil on points and just put half a dozen smashed-up garlic cloves in some for a few days) on top. Some sea salt and in the fan oven for an hour at 150C. Meanwhile I peeled and diced the celeriac and made a standard soup base with stock from my pot - and re-used the oil from the tomatoes to start it off, which pleased me no end.

To the soup base I added the baked tomatoes and the celeriac cubes. I also chucked in a carrot to please Lord Woolton and a diced potato. When everything was soft, I separated the lumps from the base, blended the lumps and reunited the two. The result was lovely, although I really couldn't taste the celeriac.

The leftover celeriac peelings went into my stockpot, with the ends of the carrot. My last stockpot having gone whiffy through ill-use, and the celeriac making the stock smell glorious, I've decided to use a cheat not available in the 1940s. I've taken the stock and put it into plastic tupperware and they'll go in the deep freeze for later use. Marguerite Patten is clear that a well-used stockpot can be kept almost indefinitely by making sure you boil it daily (unless you've got anything green in it - that reduces it to a week). I can get the stockpot to go for 3 weeks or so with daily boiling, but after that it starts to smell musty, and then sweet: a very bad sign.

I'll start a new stockpot the next time I've got leftover vegetable matter, but the hurry to do so is lessened by having some in the freezer. And the multiple boiling produces a lovely, flavour-heavy, golden stock that reduces the need for salt as a flavour enhancer.

Meanwhile, the craving for tomatoes has not gone away, despite spinning the soup out for three days between the two of us. I decided that I wanted pasta in a tomato sauce for tonight, so wandered around the dreaded Morrisons buying mushrooms, basil and pasta. Eventually I remembered the tomatoes. Having bought them earlier this week, I was shocked and annoyed to find that the four types of domestic tomato had been reduced to none. It was Spanish, Dutch and Moroccan all the way... and all off-limits to the project.

I had to buy - on points! - two tins of tomatoes instead. This is a terrible waste of points, especially when I've spent freely on the olive oil earlier. It also does for my bake-to-intensity plan for the tomatoes. I'll just have to carefully reduce the canned tomatoes on the stove with a stern look on my face and the occasional tutting noise.

And the rock n' roll? Well, I voted for the Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final yesterday. They didn't get through, despite having the campest entry ever ever. So tomorrow I'm either voting for Cyprus (because they're Welsh... don't ask) or Greece (on the basis that they don't know they're so homoerotic).

1 comment:

Kecske said...

My mother-in-law used to send me breaded celeriac to eat on Sunday, which was very nice. However, I found I could taste it for the next two days or so, which wasn't so good and I've gone right off it. Full of Vitamin K though...