Confessions of a nosh-lover.

I’d like to say that I got through crimbo without eating any chocolate, but that would be a fib. It happened to be in a bit of cake and on a biscuit. Salt intake has been kept to zilch in my own cooking, but it’s a major bmr when noshing out on other’s cuisine.

Over the months I have noticed how salty, fatty and sweet our world is. How easy it is to insult someone by saying you can’t eat what they have cooked, and then giving in quietly the next time, to keep the peace. People get touchy about food and drink, especially when they know what going without means. You eat what you have and that’s that.

Another crimble is imminent next weekend, followed by other people’s slavas, all in January. Seven course dinners will test my resilience. If there is Hungarian salami in the mezze, I’m screwed. It’s costly stuff, forget Italian salamis, Hungarian is the emperor!

I won’t be going to all feasts I’ve been invited to. And there is a wholly vegan n fish side to the cuisine which I will partake in at home, minus the salt – difficult with salted cod, polenta – minus the cheese, sauerkraut minus the smoked ribs. Then I will get fed-up with all of it and revert to brown rice and lentils, raw fruits and veg.

Our relationship with food is linked to our connection to wars, famines, poverty, community and domestic strife. Balance is possible across the globe. We don’t need to live in extremes of not having enough to producing too much. We can alter traditions too, if we wish.

Then there’s Chinese New Year…

I still dream of an orchard in the sun. Fruits kissed by sunshine is surely the essence of life. 

Late autumn weekend soup

It has taken me many years to get used to chunky vegetables in water! I used to prefer finely diced, whizzed up, cooked to a pulp. I can now eat carrots that have been cut in the round and enjoy them. Here’s a simple, hearty vegetable soup for a day like to day – icy, touch of snow, rather cold outside. Serve with a delicious herby homemade focaccia, warm out of the oven.

After a quick dash to the local market in the northerly wind – we have two veg stalls on a Friday and one on a Saturday – I came back with the following ingredients:

Turnip, leek, carrots, new potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower.

How much soup you want to make and what amount of veg you add, is up to you.

I add to the veg, some frozen spinach, dark green lentils.

Then a touch of olive oil, half a stock cube, herbs de provence, 1 bay leaf, pepper. I don’t put in salt – it’s a forbidden ingredient now. Water, of course.

Put it all in a large pan at the same time, bring to the boil then simmer. Stir occasionally  The lentils will take the longest to cook through, but they are worth the wait. In the meantime the focaccia is baking in the oven.

I think I’ll put together a sweet apple and walnut pita too. The rest of the day is for chores, geometric design, assignment writing and reading.

Matisse.