Sunday, 4 October 2009

Soupy day and English muffins

Today started out fine - we had a long lie-in, I made English muffins, we watched some Buffy. Then, right before Mike went to Gamers, I started to sneeze...and I haven't stopped. I hate allergies.

Today I tried to make English muffins from Vegan Brunch. The first go was unsuccessful - my yeast was dead, so my dough didn't rise. Boo-urns. Luckily, Real Foods had yeast on sale a few months back, and I had the foresight to buy a tin, so I had a backup. I tried again, and, with foamy yeast, managed to get a risen ball of dough. Unfortunately, I was over-zealous in my dough rolling -

As you can see, they're a bit flat. I only got about 2 that were nearly the right height. Also, no wonder I got 10 muffins and 2 rolls out of a recipe that should've made 8 muffins. Oh well. They taste great, which is really all that matters. I should point out that I used a mix of wholemeal and plain flour for these, since the store that sells wholemeal muffins is pretty far away whereas the one that sells plain muffins is around the corner.

As I said, I've been sneezing. Also, it's finally starting to get cold again. And feeling like crap when it's cold means only one thing - soup for dinner. I was tempted to make this soup week, but that would be logistically impossible because I have no space in my fridge to store multiple soups.

I have a go-to soup recipe that I love. It's super easy, though it takes a while to get to eatable stage. But I almost always have all the ingredients on hand, and prep-time is minimal. I don't really have a recipe - I usually just eyeball it - but this is as close to what I made tonight as I can get.

'Beef' Vegetable and Barley Soup

3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 small onions or one large onion, quartered
2 litres (approx.) water and/or vegetable broth (I used the broth from the Simple Chicken-style Seitan in Yellow Rose Recipes with additional water)
250g country soup mix (I use Sainsbury's because it has pasta and, more importantly, doesn't have marrowfat peas)
100g (approx.) pearl barley
1 c TVP chunks
1 head of roasted garlic

Heat a massive stock pot over medium heat and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Bung in the carrots and coat with oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes, being sure not to burn them. Add liquid, onions, soup mix, and barley. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add TVP and simmer another 10-15 minutes. Ladle out a bit of broth and blend that with the roasted garlic, then pour the mixture into the soup and stir through. Let simmer for another few minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of nooch, and you get this:

I didn't add any extra seasonings because I figured the broth would add enough flavour, but if you find it lacking, parsley and thyme are usually nice in this. I also sometimes add some potatoes, but they're not necessary. I meant to add some red wine to this, but I forgot.

This soup soaks up a lot of liquid when stored, so you'll want to add some water to it before reheating.

Hopefully I'll be feeling better tomorrow and thus able to finally attempt the cupboard cleaning project.

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