Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Six Vegetable Soup

It's a cold, wet, windy day in London and perfect for staying in and eating hot soup and crusty bread for lunch. That,  plus all the admonishments to eat healthily in January after the excesses of the holidays, makes this a virtuous meal.
The trick is to make it thick by using lots of vegetables and tasty by adding enough seasoning to give it a bit of zing when you dip your bread in and slurp it up.
This soup is a variation of many soups that I make, but it's probably the simplest and it requires only what I already have in the fridge and  cupboard.
So, begin by assembling the vegetables you might have in the fridge. Get out the olive oil,  butter, salt and pepper and fresh thyme (if you have it), plus some chicken or vegetable stock, or a stock cube.  I sometimes have fresh stock, but more often I use a stock cube.  If you do not have fresh thyme, use dried oregano for a similar taste.
If, like many people you are going Vegan for January, omit the butter and use a vegetable stock cube.
If you require meat, top the soup with a little crispy bacon.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon buter (for flavour)
1 nice fat leek
2 medium onions
2 or 3 sticks of celery
2 or 3 carrots
2 medium potatoes, peeled
1 medium courgette or a few florets of broccoli
water to cover
1 stock cube
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper (Be generous with the pepper.)

Chop all the vegetables.
Put the olive oil and butter into a large saucepan and soften the leeks, onions and celery over low heat covered, for about five minutes.
Add the carrots and potatoes and cover and cook for another five minutes.
Add the courgettes, followed by enough water to cover, the stock cube and salt and pepper.
Throw in the sprigs of thyme, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and cook for about 30 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
Remove from the heat and take out the thyme stalks. (The leaves will have fallen off.)
Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Using a potato masher or a stick blender, lightly crush some of the vegetables, leaving some texture in the soup.

Serve warm with crusty bread and butter.
Makes a satisfying meal for four or five people.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Starting a Quilt in my own messy way...

It's nearly a year since I last posted. I have had no desire to sew, even though I gave a few friends lessons in sewing. Now, however, I am fired up to make a new quilt.  I have had the fabric for a few years and I even did a post on them (a long time ago). I cut out the strips last spring and then couldn't decide how to put them together.
Yesterday I lay them out on a piece of wadding on the floor and played with them until I felt they were in the right order. It's a bit like putting together a puzzle. I roped in Hubby to help and his input was good.  I don't always give him credit for his colour sense, (Well, sometimes it is non-existent.) but this time he came up trumps
The rectangles are actually long strips and will form four patches each.  I plan to stitch them together from left to right and then cut them up to make the whole process quicker.
The pattern is loosely based on "Wisteria" from Quilt Me by Jane Brocket.  I love this book because all the patterns are modern and not too fiddly. (I don't do fiddly.) My original plan was to do another pattern based on a whole collection by Lotta Jansdotter. (I have some of her fabrics already sewn into strips and will make another design with them.)
The fabrics for this quilt are mostly Japanese,  made by Moda, and I love the subtle colours and simple prints.  The others have been added, thanks to a lovely woman at Creative Quilting in Hampton Court.  She gave me an inordinate amount of her time to enrich the fabrics I already had and to bulk out the quilt.
Right.  Time to get the sewing machine out. Can't wait to get started.