Wednesday, February 6, 2008

05.02.08: Cream of Asparagus + Pancake Day

Yesterday, Seba scarfed up ample asparagus and we'd intended to roast if off for our lunch, but never did. So, I thought I'd make soup out of it. I had a few spuds and some parsnips for thickening and the best parts of three heads of celery, plus big bunches of flat parsley for a sprightly mirepoix. I chopped the stalks of the parsley, reserving the leaves, and mixed their dice into the sweating mirepoix, in the soup pot with the lid on.

I washed the asparagus and snapped each stem, reserving the tips and chopping the woodier lower part of the stem into a dice, then mixing it into the sweating vegetables in the soup pot. This is how to squeeze maximum flavour from the asparagus, but it's stringy: you have to pass it through a seive once it's cooked. Having sweated the diced veg thoroughly, I added two litres of Marigold bouillon and then two litres more and simmered until the diced stalks were as tender as they were going to get.

While cooking the mirepoix/asparagus, I peeled and diced the root vegetables - potatoes and parsnips - and simmered them in two litres of Marigold bouillon.

When the mirepopix mixture with the chopped parsley and asparagus stalks was cooked, I whizzed the cooked mixture and passed the resulting coarse liquid through a seive into another pot before returning it to the main soup pot. Then, I added the cooked root vegetables and fresh asparagus tips, brought the soup to the boil and simmered it for five-to-ten minutes, until the tips were tender enough to amalgamate, m8. Then I gave the soup a last loving going over with Brenda the blender

I don't suppose there were many more than a couple of dozen portions and, naturellement, many regulars had seconds, so my supply of creamy asparagus flava-inna- bowl expired around the nineteenth customer - before 2pm! - but by then I was well into flipping pancakes, because today was Shrove Tuesday.

I wish I could honestly say I didn't have to check Delia to know the basic formula for pancake batter: 2oz flour X 1 large egg X half a pint of milk + a drop of melted butter. Let's make that a mantra. From Somerfield, I got a litre of Gold Top full fat Jersey milluk, half a dozen free range eggs and a 250g bag o' flour to add to a little bit I had left over.

I must have flipped thirty something pancakes today, carrying on serving pancakes until the mix was all used up without ever quite getting my eye in. Still, there were no complaints. And plenty of seconds. And thirds.

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