Soup, cookies, salads…

Have you finished for Christmas yet?  I’m nearly there.  I’ve slowed down, another couple of days to go.  I’ve been batch cooking, trying to do myself a favour.  An appropriately named ‘Beetroot Haters Soup‘ (that’s it’s name in the book, not online) from the original Riverford cookbook is a great one for me: the ginger & orange in this soup bring a warm spice and sweetness.  The beetroots need to be cooked ahead for this one, & I followed instructions from the newer book, giving the roots a covering of oil, and adding some rosemary to the pan.

I’m not the hugest fan of the old beetroot but this soup is easy, quick, and looks super pretty with some yoghurt swirled in (can you see the reflection of my kitchen fairy lights in the soup?  Festive all over the house.)

With Christmas parties comes the need for some hefty, stomach lining meals; with the Big Day ahead, honestly I can’t be bothered to plan ahead, so there have been a fair few chips & beans meals.  Learning how to make my own oven chips was a revelation to me, & it’s neither the best nor the worst meal.  Plus everyone eats it. These pics are an amalgam of two meals, using white potatoes and sweet; the white potatoes were cooked plain, but I added some piri-piri seasoning to the sweet potatoes (got that idea from a recipe box, thanks Katie!) Both times I ate them with beans, a fried egg, and plenty cheese on the beans. Good stomach lining for those parties.

Having been astounded by my children’s enjoyment of a fragrant north African peanut butter, fish & peanut stew at a friend’s, a Saturday night stir fry was in order (I seem to remember the recipe coming from Groundnut, a beautiful book).

The remaining 1/3 of last week’s savoy was dispatched, along with two heads of pak choi, and my eldest declared it a success: SHE ATE GREENS PEOPLE. The sauce was a peanut butter/stock/tamari concoction, made to taste, and it was lovely & hearty. Another veg heavy, super tasty meal, which could easily be vegan if the eggs were swapped to tofu.

Keeping up the healthy side of life, I went in for another cauliflower salad. As with soup, having a tupperware of salad in the fridge guilts me into a salad for lunch, over cheese on toast.  Having depth of flavour, different textures & colours also reminds me why I like trying new recipes, new formats, and why a veg box can be fun: there’s no way I would ever have chosen cauliflower, celery or beetroot, and needing to find new ways inspires me.  Else I just steam it, cover it in butter & eat as a side.

The salads are also necessary because this is all happening:

Brandy butter (being taste tested on a ginger nut.  Just because), cookies, home made marzipan (scroll down).  Can you see how filthy the pages of my Delia are?  Love her.

My Christmas delivery arrived on Sunday morning, and tomorrow will be par boiling, sage & chestnut butter mixing, and, erm, other stuff I haven’t planned out thoughtfully yet.  There will be roasties, roast parsnips, prob just steamed carrots; braised cabbage to go with this heartstopper.  A broccoli pasta for supper tomorrow, nice & easy.

So much to cook, and it couldn’t make me happier.

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