Saturday 13 February 2016

Wonky Vegetable Soup

A 'wonky' parsnip from our kitchen garden

The idea that vegetables should be straight, of a certain size, the correct weight and unblemished, is bonkers.

I find it infuriating that EU specifications and supermarket requirements dictate what consumers should be offered with no consideration for the farmers and growers.

One supermarket is now offering a ‘wonky veg’ box in just five of its hundreds of stores, (as at 26 January 2016), which I suppose is a step in the right direction and they are reportedly selling very well. But the terrible waste and loss of income that these stupid so called requirements cause is, quite frankly, deplorable.  Does it matter if the carrot you are chopping isn’t straight? Or the parsnip not twisted? How often do you eat a whole cucumber? So what if it bends a little?

On today’s menu is our Wonky Veg Soup, most ingredients coming from the kitchen garden, but some are shop bought, although we do prefer to buy from local, independent growers and vendors.

A 'lumpy' cauliflower from a local grower
Wonky Veg Soup

Suggested ingredients:
1 un-trimmed leek so that you can use some of the green part too
1 medium-sized onion
1 bunch of spring onions
1 carrot
2 parsnips
1 apple
2 or 3 sticks of celery, with leaves left on.
1-2 pints of stock*
Vegetable oil (about a tablespoon)
Butter – about an ounce
Salt** and pepper

*Today I used stock made from the water I cooked a gammon joint in yesterday. You can, of course, use stock cubes and boiling water.

Here’s what to do:

Wash and chop all the veg, discarding roots and tops.  
Can you tell whether this carrot was wonky?

Put the oil into a large pan, turn on the heat and add the butter. 

Add the onion, leek and spring onions and cook them gently, but do not brown. (About ten minutes.)

Pour in the stock and add the other ingredients. 

Simmer until all the vegetables are cooked. 
**Add white pepper but make sure you taste before adding salt, as it may well be salty enough.

You can leave the soup ‘chunky’ or liquidise it (I use a Kenwood hand blender).

Chunky soup

Smooth soup
If the soup is too thick, add some milk until you reach the correct consistency for your taste.

Serve with warm, crusty bread.

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