Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Chilled soup

I recently received a marketing e-mail from Waitrose which included the headline "An exclusive 25% off chilled soups". Below, it read: "Soup is the perfect comfort food to cheer up a chilly autumn day. That's why we're offering myWaitrose members 25% off all chilled soups until 7 October". Apart from the flawed logic, it is the misuse of "chilled" to which I object. Presumably, they are referring to soup which is served hot but sold from their refrigerators rather than in a tin or a packet. But to me "chilled soup" conjures up Gazpacho and Vichyssoise - perfect Summer soups but not, I suspect, what the marketeers had in mind. As a matter of fact, I'll happily eat Gazpacho all year round: and, in fairness to Waitrose, having criticised their use of language, they are the only supermarket in the land which sell Gazpacho (Alvalle is the brand) that bears any resemblance to what you can get in Spain.

My uncle Alex has a novel way if Gazpacho is ever on the menu at any dinner party he attends. He asks for it to be put in the microwave. Cold soup, in his view, is unacceptable.

In my mother's recipe book is a recipe for "Strawberry Gazpacho". I reproduce it below:

1/2 lb strawberries
1 teaspoon tabasco
1 tin beef consommé
1/4 pint orange juice
2 cucumbers
Salt and pepper
Blend in food processor.

I have not tried it, and must confess I would feel slightly wary about doing so. Beef consommé and orange juice? Hmmm.

There is a further recipe for another chilled soup on the same page:

Beetroot consommé

Boil pieces of raw beetroot, carrots, onions, potato and stock cube. Make up with one packet of Madeira aspic. Serve chilled with sour cream.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Mushrooms on toast

I was once contemplating making this for a late evening meal when Granny rang. I told her, rather smugly, of my plan for supper and she was most impressed. Whether I then made it that evening I am not sure.

It is based on a Nigel Slater idea in "Fast Food" - although I suspect he would be the first to deny that it is a recipe.

Sliced mushrooms
Finely chopped onion
Olive oil - for frying
Double cream
Some fresh parsley
Possibly a scrap of bacon

Heat the oil and gently fry the onions. Add the mushrooms; I think they should be slightly crisp. Add the bacon if you're adding it. Then the cream and let it all bubble and reduce. Pour on to the toast and eat immediately.