My go-to soup for forever has been a spinach and chickpea soup from one of Bonnie Stern’s HeartSmart cookbooks. It is very simple and quick to make with pantry items. It is what I fall back on when I don’t know what else to make for lunch.
Jane Jeffes’ beautiful Moroccan harira soup could just knock the Stern soup out of first place, though. I made it today and it was delicious, simple and uses things I always have on hand (I don’t always have fresh cilantro, but almost always have parsley either fresh in the garden or in the freezer). Most soups and stews benefit from sitting for a day and letting all the flavours mingle, but this was super soup right off the bat. It should be unbelievable tomorrow. Sorry, chickpea and spinach, you had a good run, but we are all about the warming spices now!
Feeling a bit “squashed” by zucchini? Only two of my summer squash plants made it through the hens picking most of the garden to death, but, really, there have been plenty of zuccs to go around with only two plants!
Thankfully, The Guardian has a cornucopia of courgette recipes. Just made Nigel Slater’s recipe for sweetcorn cake (I didn’t read the part where it makes two cakes, so ended up with one, which was fine), and last week make this rather odd-sounding but completely delicious Creamy Courgette and Tarragon Cobbler. Both vegetarian and easily made vegan and gluten free.
A pro tip from my mother, who used to grow and freeze oodles of corn: cutting corn off a cob is a lousy and potentially dangerous job, so cook your corn on the cob, then pry the kernels off using a fork. They come off the cob easily as you run the fork along, and stay pretty much whole, so no waste. You also don’t slice your thumb off, which makes everything better. I also find steaming corn is better than boiling it, and that’s what I did for the sweetcorn cake recipe.
Gentle readers, I regret to inform you that Felicity Cloake is correct in claiming that peeling chickpeas makes a nicer hummus. It seems like a silly job, but you could say the rosary or review the Four Noble Truths while doing it for an efficient and holistic win-win!
Today’s culinary revelation is smacking vegetables, which is not a description of how delicious they are but rather how you give them a good bash before cutting them. This is to ensure that any dressing clings to the uneven surface created by said bashing rather than sliding off neatly sliced chunks. Meera Sodha led me to this epiphany via this vegan recipe for sesame noodles with smacked courgette, and this video dramatically illustrates the Chinese cucumber smack she references. Smashing!
I subscribe to The Guardian because I deeply value their news reporting, but I also really love so many of their food writers and recipes!
This vegan Creole rice by Meera Sodha is delicious and pretty easy. I’ve made it a few times and it is so reliable. Last night we had it with some Mighty Mushroom Bites (oh, the plastic packaging, but so good and vegan!). Tonight I’ll take the leftovers in another directions and serve them with some of Ranald MacFarland’s sausages.
Recipe hack: use bottled roasted peppers if you can’t be bothered to char your own. If you don’t have the jasmine rice they prescribe, buy a little and try it. And now that you have jasmine rice, try a Kylie Kwong fried rice recipe.