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Have cold, want soup

13 Apr

Urgh. Flu season! The one downside to winter and commuting to work on a train packed full of people who don’t cover their faces when they sneeze. And here I was thinking I’d avoid it this year by feasting on multivitamins, vegetable sticks and OJ.

Anyway, I’m at work, doing my best to spread love germs. What I really want is to be at home, in bed, with a big mug full of soup and a few movies. Because soup totally kicks arse when you have a cold. There’s minimal effort involved in eating it, it’s warm, and usually only take a few minutes to make.

I happen to be really, really good at making soup – I think, perhaps, that it may be genetic. My mum still makes the best ever vegetable soup when I visit her in winter and I remember pots of bubbling soup featuring prominently in my childhood – massive saucepans full of pumpkin, potato, or ham and pea soup that we’d gradually make out way through, boiling it every day for extra flavour.

By far my favourite soup this winter is potato and leek soup. It’s an oldie but a goodie, and The Boy and I have been making it with tubs of cream and a heady dollop of horseradish. I can’t quite remember how the horseradish came about – I think I wanted steak sandwiches one night and forgot the meat – but it’s a stroke of genius. I can’t get enough of it and will suffer days of heartburn and nausea for this soup it’s that good.

POTATO AND LEEK SOUP

  • 6 red skinned potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 leeks, sliced
  • chicken stock, enough to just cover the potatoes – about 1 litre
  • 250 ml of cream
  • 2 tablespoons of horseradish cream
  • splash of olive oil

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Wash and slice the leeks, using the white part only, and toss them in the pan. Saute until there’s some colour in there, adding a bit of stock if things are starting to stick.

Peel the potatoes, cut them up into 2cm cubes, and toss in with the leeks. Cover with the chicken stock and boil until tender.

Whiz up the potatoes and liquid using a bar mix until smooth. Start pouring in some cream, stirring over a low heat. I normally don’t add the entire 250 ml but it’s up to you. If things are looking a bit too thick, add more chicken stock.

Dollop in some horseradish cream and serve, topped with a sprinkling of parsley if you like, with fresh garlic bread and Parmesan. Or just do what I do when I’m home alone and ladle it straight from the pot into your mouth in big, hungry spoonfuls.

Monsters in the night

11 Mar

Ahhh… Friday night. Oh how I’m looking forward to you, and your delightful cousin, Saturday morning. This week there are no bucks nights to get up early for. No flights to Tassie. No early morning shifts, no appointments… nothing. Nothing but a good sleep in and plans for breakfast in bed. And maybe an early morning viewing of a Harry Potter movie while cuddled up to my beloved.

I totally need this Saturday. Because this week has been crap on the sleep front. Wednesday night? Shot to shit with what I thought was another bout of gastro. Thankfully, I was saved from the impending vomit explosion, but I managed to keep both The Boy and I up with my miserable whining and panicking about the fact that I was never going to make it through labour if I’m practically begging for an epidural over a few stomach cramps.

Thursday night? Even worse. Though thanks to my handy pregnancy apps, I’m assured that these horrific dreams I’ve been having that kept me wide-eyed awake in terror since 4:30am this morning are perfectly normal. Or rather, that bad dreams are normal. I’m not sure where my particular brand of mass-murdering, terror filled dreams fit on the ‘normal’ scale, but let’s just say that they’re worse than all five SAW movies put together. With a bit of Wolf Creek and Paranormal Activity thrown in for good measure.

Apparently, all the needing to pee and bladder kicking from Pork Chop are to blame. Waking up while in REM sleep is bad. Waking up three times a night while in REM sleep makes for one totally screwed-up sleep session that has left me with bags etched so deep in my eyes I pretty much look like an Emo with a mascara addiction without even trying. What’s really scary though is it’s not as though the little one is causing these whacked out dreams. No. Apparently it’s just the waking up while in REM sleep makes you more likely to remember your nighttime imaginings. Which makes me totally worried about my mental health if I’ve been dreaming this crazy shit for years and didn’t even know it.

Anyway. Saturday. Saturday will be good for sleep. And then I’ll get up for tea, and pancakes, and hop straight back into bed where I can stay wrapped up in some big, safe arms.

In other news – The Boy and I finally chose a pram that we’re both in love with, the graphic design course is going splendidly, and I’m the mood for baking hot cross buns this weekend. I blame the rain this morning. That, and the fact that Easter is just around the corner and I’m yet to see a good hot cross bun in our local store. And I’m totally hankering for one. Could this be one of those elusive cravings?

Anyway, since every recipe I’ve made from Design Sponge has turned out to be totally stellar so far, I figured I’d give this one a burl tomorrow. It has figs and chocolate in it… how could it possibly go wrong? I’ll let you know how it goes.

Orange marmalade

1 Mar

On my day off on Saturday, between sewing projects and procrastinating about cleaning the house, I whipped up some of The Boy’s favourite banana bread.

The recipe for this banana bread comes from Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess cookbook, though I make a few of my own additions. I leave out the bourbon soaked sultanas because we don’t usually have any sultanas (or bourbon) in the house. And I add walnuts, plus a teaspoon or so of my favourite secret ingredient – pumpkin pie spice – to liven things up. This time I added in one of those kid-sized packets of apricots and sultanas and something must of gone right because The Boy declared it to be The Best Banana Bread Yet. Looks like it’s an A+ for me this week!

Anyway, aside from slapping on some butter when it comes out of the oven, I love this banana bread with orange marmalade. Or apricot jam. But since apricot season is well and truly over, I figure it might be time to try my hand at making some marmalade to have on toast once the little one arrives.

Thankfully, Design*Sponge has inspired me with this gorgeous recipe. And if it’s anything like the pulled pork recipe that I made a few weeks back, it’s going to be a hit.