Saturday, 16 October 2010

Saturday - Shopping, Stock and Soup

The end of the week, relaxation beckoned and was greeted with a 10 minute lie-in before the need for caffeine took over and hurtled me downstairs to satisfy my craving. Between cups one and two I managed to fit in a shower and then, exhausted by the effort, back for a refill.

Regular readers will realise that Saturday means washing, filing and catching up but this week there was the need to replenish supplies for the house. So 9am saw three of us enter a well known store (where every little helps) to purchase cleansing materials. Food was another matter and with local organic products on sale at the Farmers Market the heirs and successors to sir Jack Cohen were not going to get a look in. A brisk trot across several lanes of traffic disdainfully ignoring the pedestrian crossing brought us to the market where we split up. A late breakfast of a double espresso and whatever tasting portions were available satisfied the inner man and ensured the continued shrinkage of the outer man as well.

Now one of the advantages of being in the market really early is that there are fewer people around, one of the others is that you get the best of the produce and since the suppliers are small they still have stock. Other advantages include looking very keen to any passing teachers or members of the Allen dynasty. No sooner had I loaded my little bag of goodies than Darina appeared, pleased that I was using the market - actually had I been at home I would have been in Usk Farmers Market so no real change there then.

Darina next appeared showing a small group round the market stopping at every stall to ensure that each was treated equally and each got a chance to explain their produce and methods to the group. The photo catches her at the Organic Meat stall in full enthusiastic flow.

Armed with my produce, which included 12 small langoustines which would be made into a stock and a garnish for tomorrow night's Crab Risotto, I headed home to convert ingredients to foods.

First cook your prawns, then refresh in cold water, peel and place the flesh in a box to cool in the fridge. Add the shells, claws etc to a pan in which a shallot has been carefully sweated sweat some more and add tomatoes. The add three pints of boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and return the stock to another pan to reduce. Cool and refrigerate.

 Following this practice chopping skills on an onion, potato and a very large carrot. Sweat in butter until tender. Turn up the heat and introduce some diced smoked bacon. Add chicken stock and a pint of boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes. Liquidise, adjust seasoning and try to persuade housemates that soup and bread by a roaring wood fire is the perfect Autumn evening dish.

Oh yes, somewhere along the way the washing got done on the appropriate settings so Sunday looks like a day of ironing and filing.

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