Monday, October 22, 2007

Day 16: White Bean & Parsnip

There was a chill in the air today, but the Pullens Centre was warm and my bean 'n' parsnip soup was appreciated by 23 peeps, which is not bad for a Monday, and it had all gone by 3pm. The average donation was 115p, which is also not too bad, considering the numbers of people who didn't have change and said they'd donate later, innit. I need to keep a separate count of takeaways because I'd estimate that at least half the soups served are taken back to workshops and offices.

I saw this recipe in The Bible and then I saw a pile of cheap tins of beans at Oli's, three a quid, so I got six 240g tins of white beans, fagioli cannellini, haricot blancs (two of each!) and six big parsnips, weighing about the same as the beans, or around 1.5kg, plus half a dozen medium sized English onions and a magnificent head of celery. They do celery well at Oli's, but their parsnips were a bit leathery.

At the Pullens Centre, I couldn't find the garlic until too late, otherwise I would have minced some and added it to the chopped onions that I started to cook in a little oil over a medium flame. I added about a desert spoon full of powdered coriander seed and the same quantity of jeera, mixing the spices into the cooking onions. I chopped the tops off some Spring onions to use as garnish, chopped up the rest of the onions and and added them to the pot.

I washed the celery and chopped off the leafy top, setting the leaves aside for later incorporation, and chopped up probably half a dozen fat stalks of celery, or all the outer stalks, leaving the heart. In retrospect, I realise that this was the point at which what was to be a white soup took on a green tinge and, with the benefit of hindsight, I could've used those two green chillies that have been hanging around in the fridge for more than a week.

I peeled and diced the parsnips, mixing the chunks in with the spiced cooking vegetables in the pot and adding a few splashes of Marigold bouillon (from a 2 litre jug I made up) to stop the contents of the pot from sticking. I opened the six cans of beans and drained and washed them in a colander. Had I soaked my own beans, I might've used some of the bean water in the soup, as the recipe I was supposed to have been following prescribes, but this bean water was too salty. I added the washed white beans to the soup pot, poured over the rest of the contents of the bouillon jug, refilled it and added two litres more.

I turned up the heat and brought the soup pot to the boil, leaving it to simmer for twenty minutes and to cool for ten before liquidizing the soup. I went through it with the mighty stick mixer thoroughly, then added another two litres of Marigold stock (making 6L in all, to 1.5kg beans and 1.5kg parsnips) and liquidimizised it again. Daniel the potter was first to come in for soup (to take away) before I'd properly evaluated it and I didn't think it was as silky as it could be, so I passed the soup through the new big sieve into the smaller pot, which it just filled.

Likesay, all the soup went over the next couple of hours, garnished with chopped Spring onion and a sprinkling of paprika, with the option of a dollop of ajvar in the mix, and it went down well. Kadett wrote, 'heel lekker soepje hoera wy willen meer', which Kai translated as, 'ultimate soup here, why not more?'

Soup Maker: Russell
Soup: White Bean and Parsnip
Other ingredients: Cumin & coriander; ajvar
Garnish: Spring onion, paprika
No. of bowls served: 23
Expenditure: £10.28
Donations: £26.55
Running balance: +£126.30

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

enjoyed helping today! ..........jen