Monday 5 December 2011

Simple Soupy Twist

The first snow of winter is here. A quick freeze/thaw/freeze cycle has formed a sheet of frozen sleet just perfect for sustaining a layer of delicate snow. I'm aware of that wonderful soft silence that comes with the sound-insulating quality of new snow. The mainland mountains are entirely greyed out behind a foreground curtain of drifting snowflakes.

Ducks dabble in the bay as the feeble dawn approaches. The heron doesn't hang around long after presumably finding the pickings a bit thin and somewhat frozen.

It's thick soup weather. And we came up with a gem of delicious soupy-twistery yesterday. We had boiled up a chicken carcass for stock with the intention of just adding barley to make a simple and tasty chicken broth. Upon visiting the fridge to collect up the bowl of wee bits of meat stripped from the carcass prior to boiling, we found some other interesting leftovers.

Those little clingfilm-covered bowls of leftover bits and bobs have a tendency to build up. And there's a certain joy in being able to offload the lot into one coherent recipe. The bits in question were: a bit of homemade Thai curry paste left over from making a fish curry a few nights before; a bowl of coconut milk left over from same; some cooked green cabbage from the night before. I put the whole lot in with the chicken stock, chicken bits and barley, then boiled it up for an hour. This made for a pretty special soup: warming chickeny goodness with soft barley and the soothing aromas of coconut and lemongrass.

I hate throwing food away and I get a little annoyed with myself when I have to do it. It gives me a vague feeling that I've made a miscalculation somewhere that has meant that I haven't used the food efficiently and timeously. A hard-working cook for a mother and an extended family full of Scottish Presbyterians will do that to you.

Try experimenting this Christmas: Offload your leftovers by creating imaginative and colourful flavour combinations that haven't come out of any recipe book. You might just discover something wonderful and in using up all your leftovers you will be, at least in this regard, free of sin for a while.

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