Soup - Digby Law
It is the personification of cooking with simple ingredients, but always the best available. When combined, they retain a clear, fresh, but intriguing flavour - that is what Digby captures.
Traditional recipes that have stood the test of time, but with a twist of sophistication - I like this kind of cooking - it captures the imagination.
This book provides the basics - but at the same time requires your imagination to engage or even soar.
I am going to try and explain what I mean with Digby's recipes - I have taken his Pumpkin soup - a classic throughout the world, with this recipe, he simply provides the basic recipe, wishes you luck peeling the pumpkin, and then moves on to the variations that can be achieved....
Select a medium-sized crown pumpkin (but actually your personal fav. will do)
Peel it, de-seed it and cut it into segments.
Put it in a large pot (for me it was the crock pot) with some bacon rinds or bacon bones,
- a large potato (peeled and chopped),
- several onions (peeled and chopped)
- several carrots (peeled and sliced)
Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer until all the vegetables are very tender.
Remove the bacon bones and puree in a blender.
Season with salt and white pepper.
Now you have the basis for your pumpkin soup. Either freeze it in batches or keep it in the refrigerator in screw top jars. Always check the seasoning after reheating. and add cream or milk as desired.
Then come the variations - remember - there are no pictures in this book - which forces you to engage your imagination - and it is wonderful, as you read down the variations, to add to the base recipe you realise that you could eat like a king for at least a week, with just one recipe, with he most minimal amount of effort!!!
Now this is where the 'clever' begins - and please read these individually, as though you are tasting mouthful of each, as you go.....
Add a handful of chopped parsley, coriander or chives to the basic soup.
Add a can of shrimps.
Add lots of grated cheese, and stir until melted.
Add some freshly grated nutmeg until it is barely discernible in the finished soup.
Dissolve a little curry powder and stir it into the base soup - definitely add some cream.
Fry some onions until deliciously golden and add to the basic soup.
Aimply add some crushed garlic, and some cream too.
Add some finely grated lemon rind.
Stir in some sour cream.
Stir in some yoghurt.
Stir in some pureed peaches.
Add some finely chopped mint.
Add some finely grated fresh ginger.
Add some finely chopped fresh basil.
This is not a 'new' book - it is a time-tested classic, and fits in as well now as it ever did. Completely comprehensive in the range of soups... winter warmers to summer showstoppers.
An entire chapter dedicated to "Nuts and Seeds" and yes, they are intriguing - Hazelnut and Asparagus....
Cheese Soups - sounds unusual, but... he describes his Broccoli and Cheese Soup as 'Absolutely Scrumptious' and there are several..... 'cheese soups'.
Another entirely to "Fruit Soups" - and his description of Iced Apple Soup is that 'Adults and children alike love this soup. Try serving it cold for breakfast too. It is excellent for awakening palates' ...
I have made several - all completely foolproof, and with a completely hearty result.
Little sayings and quotes provide an interlude as you read through the chapters...
Beautiful soup! Who cares for fish
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of beautiful soup?
Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
There is an entire section at the back of the book, that helps with accompaniments..... Breads, Cheese Puffs, Croutons, Cheddar Cheese Dumplings (yum!) Bacon Muffins, Melba Toasts....
So.... Je vis de bonne soupe et non de langage.
(I live on good soup, not on words.)
Moliere, Les Femmes Savantes