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Saturday, 12 August 2017

SOUP ~ FROM WHAT YOU HAVE TO HAND

Good Morning to you,

.... and where was I on Thursday?

Actually, I have to tell you, I was having lots of fun celebrating Gloria, my sister-in-law's, 60th birthday.

I say I, when I should really say, the whole family were celebrating Gloria's birthday.

When I visited Gloria on Thursday morning, she was surrounded by gifts and flowers and so many birthday cards, that it would have been impossible to count them all.... and if memory serves me well, I don't think she had one repeat card. The mantelpiece and window sills were covered in a mixture of small, medium and large sized birthday cards.... they looked so lovely.

.... and in front of the fire place floated two huge balloons, in the shape of 60.  The floating balloons were huge and when Gloria stood beside them, they towered over her.

After we hugged and I gave her our birthday gift and card, she showed me the many lovely gifts she had received from friends and family. We then decided to take a walk around her garden.  I was especially keen to see Gloria's new vegetable plot which had been planted in raised beds at the bottom of her garden.  She showed me the huge variety of vegetables she was growing and I was excited to see she had one of my favourites, beetroot pushing its way through the soil.  Gloria knows I love freshly roasted beetroot and promised to share some with me when they were ready to be harvested. I definitely had a twinkle in my eye when she offered me beetroot as even beetroot bought from the market does not compare with freshly harvested beetroot from the garden.

We then walked around her flower garden and I had a lovely time. Before I left to return home, Gloria gifted me with 3 lettuces, which were pulled from the soil that very morning.

We said our goodbyes and I said I was looking forward to celebrating her birthday later that day when the family were meeting up, at a fabulous Turkish restaurant, which we all love.

The restaurant was perfect because it was so family friendly.  Our family group ranged from 9 years to 90 years and every age in between. There was something delicious for everyone.  I have to tell you the starter of filo pastry with soft cheese and spinach was fabulous.

By the end of the meal I was so full, that I thought I would not be able to eat anything the following day. I'll tell you how full I was, I refused dessert.  Yes honestly, now you know about me and my sweet tooth, I love desserts, but even I could not face another mouthful.

Now notice I wrote 'I thought I would not be able to eat anything the following day'. Well I was wrong, because I woke up the following morning and I was so hungry. I don't know about you, but I find if I eat a meal late in the evening, for some reason, the following day, I feel ravenous.  Which seems silly, because you would think that as I was full to the brim the previous evening, my tummy would be saying 'please no more food'.

So I decided I would not indulge this supposed hunger, no, I would be sensible and make some soup. Actually, it turned out to be a good idea, because as it was the end of the week,  I needed to check my fridge to see what 'bits and pieces' were left and what I needed to use up.

I often make soup with left overs, as it is a great way to use up food.

.... and my leftovers turned into,



should I call it carrot soup, or should I call it carrot, tomato and rice soup? I don't think so as this soup was made up of food I had to hand, some fresh and some which I had frozen as left overs, I decided, 'Soup ~ From What You Have To Hand' would be a good title.... after all that is what the soup is made up of.

Now the problem with sharing this soup is that technically, nothing is weighed, as I have used leftovers.  So I have given you a rough guide to the amounts I used.


INGREDIENTS 
YOU WILL NEED
TO MAKE 
SOUP ~ FROM WHAT YOU HAVE TO HAND


6 tomatoes (mine were frozen)
1 large mugful of frozen rice
3 medium sized carrots
1/2 onion
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 litre of chicken stock
sea salt to taste

HOW 
TO MAKE
SOUP ~ FROM WHAT YOU HAVE TO HAND



Boil a kettle of water.
Place the frozen tomatoes into a Pyrex jug or bowl
and
pour over the boiling water.
(You will see my jug wasn't large enough for 6 tomatoes, so I removed the skins of 4 and then the other 2)



After a few minutes you will see the skins begin to release themselves from the tomato flesh.

Using a slotted spoon, remove a tomato from the water and peel away the tomato skin. Yes it really is that easy.  The tomato will remain frozen, but it will thaw during the cooking process.




Continue until all the tomato skins have been removed.




Peel and chop the carrots.
Peel and chop the onion.

Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a medium sized
pan and add the chopped onion.
Cook until translucent.

Add the chopped carrots,


the frozen rice,
and the tomatoes.



Pour the chicken stock into the pan.  
Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.




When cooked, allow the soup to stand for 10 minutes.

Using a hand held blender, blitz the soup
until it is smooth.

Taste for seasoning and add salt.

Then all there is left to do,




is pour the soup into a dish
and
Enjoy.

In case you are wondering why I used only half an onion. Well, that is what I had left after making a quiche and I needed to use it up.

The rice was frozen as it was not eaten after I made a chilli at the weekend.  What I would say is, if you are nervous about reheating frozen rice, then add half a large mug of uncooked rice as it will cook whilst the soup is simmering. When blitzed, the starch from the rice helps to thicken the soup.

The frozen tomatoes were some which I knew we wouldn't be using, so I just popped them whole, into a freezer bag and placed them into the freezer, for such a time, when I would use them.

If you find your soup has not thickened enough, just return the pan to the heat and simmer gently, without the lid, until you have the consistency you enjoy.

With a little thought, nothing should be wasted.  I know it isn't always easy, but I see food in my fridge and freezer as money.  It has been spent.... and I would never throw money away.

.... and as Ivy and Phyllis would say, 'Waste not Want not'.

Oh before I leave you, I know some of my friends are experiencing a heatwave, especially in Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Spain and soup would be the last thing on your mind.... but here in Newcastle, it is unseasonally cold, so actually for us, soup is the perfect lunch.

Take care and I will see you next week.

As Always,







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