Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Day 13: Winter Vegetable Miso

I've been wanting to do a chunky vegetable soup with miso but - likesay and to my dismay - good old British root vegetables aren't exactly plentiful in these parts and I didn't see so much as a parsnip down East Street this morning. Oli had parsnips and also these amazing radishes, which I thought might work in the absence of turnips. I stepped in to Somerfield on my way back up Walworth Road and picked up a couple of shrink-wrapped swedes and a bag of curly kale.
radishes, parsnips, swedes, carrots, onion, celery and kale (in colander)

Back at the Pullens Centre, I started by boiling up the pearl barley, probably about 500g. You cover it with cold water, bring it to the boil, then drain and repeat. When the barley water boils for the second time, it has to simmer for at least an hour.

This soup isn't going to be blended, so everything needs to be diced quite small (as in the picture). I roasted the diced swede, parsnip, carrot and radish in a little vegetable oil for about half an hour with the oven turned up as high as it goes, turning the dice in the roasting tray every ten minutes. Meanwhile, I made a mirepoix of finely diced onion, carrot and celery and sweated it in a little oil with the lid on the soup pot.

I dissolved a 240g tub of Organic Sweet Brown Miso - which is especially rich in soups, or so it says here - in a litre of hot water. I assembled the soup by tipping the cooked pearl barely into the cooked mirepoix, mixing them together while adding a 2 litre jug of Marigold bouillon. Then I added the miso, plus another three litres of Marigold bouillon. Finally, I added the diced root vegetables, which were just cooked through, and the kale, which I washed and shredded a bit finer than it came out of the bag.

Iraxte and her Mum, a Basque, were first through the door with baby Irene. Iraxte thought her Mum might not like the taste of miso, but she cleaned her bowl.

Of the 18 people who came for soup this lunchtime, at least half a dozen brought their own bowls and scurried back to their workshops with their soup. Which is fine, of course, but it gets a bit lonely if no one hangs out. Ira from the Buddhist Centre sent over a chocolate cake today, but I didn't get around to offering any. In fact, I didn't make a cup of tea all day. There was loads of soup left over, too, and I'll serve it again tomorrow rather than see it go to waste.

Among those who did hang out at the Soup Kitchen today, Kevin from Iliffe Street said the 'soup was fantastic, heart warming', and Shelly said: 'third time. I'm officially hooked! Love the soup, great idea. Tell your friends. Long may it reign.' Yay!

Soup Maker: Russell
Soup: Miso Winter Vegetable
Other ingredients: Pearl Barley
No. of bowls served: 18
Expenditure: £14.83
Donations: £21.09
Running balance: +£133.06

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