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Thursday, 9 February 2017

APPLE, LENTIL AND BACON SOUP

Good Morning to you,


Recently, I have heard it said, that people are running to the hills, waving their arms in the air, because there are very few, Cos lettuces, left on our supermarket shelves.

.... actually, I'm only joking about 'people running to the hills'.

Although, there are some folk who are really upset by the lack of Cos lettuce available to us this winter.

I have to say, I was surprised to learn, that as a result of this, a certain supermarket had decided to limit  the amount of lettuce people could buy. Do you know, I really don't remember this happening before.

There has always been a plentiful supply of lettuce, as each year we import them from Spain, but during last year's growing season,  Spain experienced some very unseasonal weather.... it seems they had far too much rain, which has ruined this year's crop of lettuce. So rather than being plentiful, this winter, there is a scarcity of Cos lettuce. 

I had noticed when I returned from Chicago, that Cos lettuce had rocketed in price.  What had previously cost 56p was now costing £1.57p. I did not know the reason at the time, but as a canny shopper, I decided I was not going to buy lettuce, at the newly inflated price. I would much prefer to keep the money in my purse.

The way I see it is, salad produce, during the winter time, is a luxury and not a necessity.  Yes it's nice to enjoy a salad during the winter, but if salad produce is not available, then I will eat something else.

It seems we have become so used to eating what we want, when we want. That when produce is not available, people get very upset.

I decided to speak to Phyllis, my mother, about the problem to see what her reaction was.

She said, she really didn't know what all the fuss was about, because when she was a young married wife, lettuce wasn't available to buy during the winter months, so she never thought she was missing out. Phyllis also said, she felt we should revert to seasonal eating, which I have to say, I totally agree with, as eating fruits and vegetables which are in season, is much more of a pleasure, because they have not travelled far. She also added, that it was cheaper on the purse to buy seasonal food, because seasonal foods tended to be cheaper.

Phyllis carried on to say, that she remembered as a child, picking walnuts, apples and plums, with her brothers and sisters, from the trees in the family garden. She said that they were always so excited, to experience that first juicy bite, of the new seasonal fruit.

.... and isn't that what seasonal eating is all about. The anticipation of fruits and vegetables coming into season. When we lived in Cyprus, the fruits and vegetables were always full of flavour, because we ate seasonally. We knew in late October, early November, the fig tree would be ready to yield its fruit and I was always beyond excited to eat that first fig.

I admit, I have become a little lax since I returned to England.  I do buy a lot of seasonal food, but I also buy unseasonal foods such as mangoes and avocado which have travelled for miles, only to find, when eaten, I am disappointed with the flavour. When we ate mangoes in India, oh my goodness, the flavour was out of this world, I really enjoyed each bite, but invariably, I find, only 1 out of 5 mangoes, which I buy here in England, will taste anything like the mangoes I ate in India.

So I thought I would ask Phyllis if she had any idea as to what was in season at the moment, as I was curious to see if she could remember.  I really shouldn't have doubted her, because she named the following,

Parsnips, Swede, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Savoy Cabbage, White Cabbage, Cauliflower, Leeks, Onions, Potatoes and Turnips.

She said she always buys the fruits and vegetables which are in season.  Yes, she does buy salad in the winter, but that is because it is available and a good price.

Maybe, like Phyllis, it is time we did the same and returned to seasonal eating.

What do you think?

.... and there is nothing more seasonal, when it is cold, than,



a nice bowl of warming soup, such as this Apple, Lentil and Bacon Soup.

I had a few odds and ends which I needed to use up so I decided, as I often do, with odds an ends, to turn them into a soup.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to is,



a track from the Mike Wheeler Band album, Turn Up.  



Do you remember I mentioned last week that we had been to The House of Blues in Chicago, to watch the Mike Wheeler Band and how marvellous they were.

If you enjoy listening to blues music, then there are many Utube clips of the Mike Wheeler Band for you to enjoy.

.... and Edith, this is especially for you, because I know how much you love Blues Music.


INGREDIENTS
YOU WILL NEED
TO MAKE
APPLE, LENTIL AND BACON SOUP

Serves 4


150g red split lentils
1 large tart, eating apple such as a Granny Smith
2 slices of bacon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion
3 large carrots
1 litre of chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper


HOW TO 
MAKE
APPLE, LENTIL AND BACON SOUP

~ Finely chop the onion.


~ Place the olive oil into a medium sized saucepan.


~ Add the chopped onions.


~ Cook until translucent.


~ Whilst the onions are cooking, peel and chop
    the carrots into chunks. 
    (Don't worry if the chunks are not uniform
     in size as we will blitz
 the soup when it has cooked.)


~ Peel and core the apple and cut into chunks. 


~  When the onions are translucent, add the


~  carrots


~  apple


~  lentils


~  chicken stock

and


~ the bay leaf.


~  Half cover the saucepan with a lid,
 and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until the carrots, apples and the lentils are cooked.

~  10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, place the bacon under a grill and cook until the bacon is crispy.  


~   Cut into pieces. I use scissors for this as I find it makes the job a lot easier.


~   When the soup has cooked, remove the bay leaf.


~   Using a hand held blitzer, carefully blitz the soup whilst it is still in the saucepan.  Be very careful when doing this, as the soup will be extremely hot.




~  Ladle the soup into a bowl and add a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.




~  Add the previously cut strips of bacon




and


Enjoy.

Soups are a wonderful, money saving meal and they are so healthy.

You will have noticed that I did not add any salt.  The reason for this was, the bacon contains salt and also I had used 2 stock cubes, which already contain salt, so no extra salt was needed.

I would recommend that you do a taste test, as you might find you prefer extra salt.

Also, just as an added thought, if you find the soup is becoming too thick, whilst it is simmering, then please don't worry, just add some water to thin the soup a little.

Now, I feel sure you are wondering who Edith is, well let me tell you. Edith writes the blog,



Pop over and say hello, as I feel sure she would love to meet you.

Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,



and




As Always,  





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