Like I said a while ago, I won’t cut down on cooking, even in busy times. I might be struggling to hand in my essays by the time they’re due, but at least I get some decent food in every day. It’s an investment, you could say: good food equals better concentration. In the end, the ‘loss’ of an hour a day will earn me higher marks!
And now that we’re on it, I think it is in fact in busy times more than ever that people should be eating properly! I read an article a couple of weeks ago weeks which, of course, is utterly unfindable now that I want to link to it, but the gist of it was that home cooking is declining rapidly and that more and more people are buying the lion’s share of their 21 meals a week in a ready-made version straight from the shops. People these days don’t know how to cook, or simply cannot be bothered.
And you thought it was a coincidence that at the same time that home cooking is changing into a hobby for pensioners, the Euro is about to collapse, riots are breaking out, whole Europe is in crisis? Think again! If only people ate decent food and took the time to prepare and eat it with a bit of attention, there would be no need at all for all of this occupying Wall street. Life would be going on as peacefully as ever. But noooo, half the world is too busy to eat properly and now there’s crisis. Yeah, well, that’s what happens when you fail to pay proper attention to your nutrition. Countries in despair, panic all over, before you know it there’ll be civil war and bloodshed all over the goddamn continent. And the papers will be writing: “All of this could have been prevented with decent dinners”.
And it’s a shame, really, because it’s so easy to cook something good! This tomato soup, for example, you could whip up in 20 minutes! Maybe 25, but that’s still not a lot! Quicker than going down to the chippy for a fish supper! And if you don’t like these toppings, you can just add others! Instead of leek and celery you could chuck in red onion, courgette and butterbeans! To make it non-veggie, stick in wee little meatballs, bits of carrot and cauliflower, or go for bacon lardons, onion and celery! Want it fancy? Blue cheese and shallots. The possibilities are endless!
So, you take the following:
- a tin of chopped or peeled tomatoes
- about 250ml of stock (I use veg but chicken’s fine, too)
- a bit of milk, not more than 100ml
- half an onion
- a small leek
- couple of stalks of celery
- clove of garlic
- half a dried chilli (if you fancy)
You will also need a (hand)blender or food processor. If you don’t own a hand blender, I suggest you buy one now. They’re among the handiest things ever and you can get them for under a tenner from Amazon or for under a fiver from Tesco. If you find both companies morally deplorable then I’m sure some other shops will sell them for next to nothing as well.
So, chop up all of your veg, the onion in wee chunks, same for the garlic, the celery and the leek in slices/rings. Take all of the onion and garlic, and about 1/3 of the leek and celery, stick them in a saucepan with some butter or oil and fry on low to medium fire for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, do the same with the rest of the veg in a frying pan.
Once everything has gone fairly soft, add the tomatoes and the stock. Turn up the heat, bring to the boil and after you’ve left it to simmer for about 5 minutes, stick the hand blender in (or alternatively stick the soup in a blender or food processor). Whizz it all up to a fine liquid, add the milk, stir or whizz some more, taste, add salt and pepper to taste, and a little pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are sour.
Serve up the soup and top with the gently fried veg from the other pan.