Today, so help me god, there will be soup!

It should have happened yesterday, but I was a basket case (it would happen more often if my GP would stop dicking about!).

I’ve been up since 05.30. Breathing while in bed is, increasingly in the early mornings, a luxury that eludes me. I can’t breathe lying down so have to sleep sitting up. Now that fails me, so I have to get up. To say I’m pissed off is a massive understatement! OK, I can breathe better sitting bolt upright in front of my computer, but I should have been in bloody bed, and with the right drugs I could have been.

So, to while away the time until the Observer put its foodie mag online, I cobbled up the baseline recipe for my soup (details will follow):-


Toulouse sausages



Echalion shallots




Touch of Taste

Rosemary (dried – fresh, right now, has no flavour)

Soya beans, pre-cooked

Soya stock


It might look like protein overkill, but I need a high-protein diet.

On a different note, when the Obs finally got its act together, in its mag was an item depressingly called “Christmas on a budget”. Are there four more dispiriting words in the English language?

Well, yes, of course there are, but for most** there is little need to stint at Christmas if you avoid big-ticket items (turkey, goose, ham, any large joints), and have a freezer in which you can assemble Christmas dinner a little at a time. (I’m a firm believer in Christmas dinner, rather than lunch, by the way.) This is aided by the fact that most supermarkets hold back the big-ticket items until the weeks immediately prior to Christmas, by which time my shopping is done except for last-minute fresh veg.

**I do know there will be exceptions, like those with large families, or who have fallen victim to the the IDS-Osborne-Cameron Pogrom, OK?

As an atheist I don’t celebrate Christmas, but it would be churlish of me not to participate in the traditional Season of Conspicuous Consumption, so even if it’s just for me – and it increasingly is, sadly – I’ll cook something special and, if at all possible, new.

Last year it was a fruit-heavy game pie filling that was absolutely stunning – I ate one portion, the rest was lost to a freezer malfunction!

Game will feature this year, too. I already have two packs of venison steaks in the freezer, and to that I want to add partridge or pheasant breasts and some spices and veggies for a warming braise. If I can’t get those** – and it seems unlikely without going online to Waitrose or Ocado and buying a lot of stuff I don’t need just to get the bird bits, then I’ll add some pigs’ liver*** (already in the freezer), to the venison instead, plus some fruit to cut the richness, and maybe baby leeks and/or whole baby onions or shallots.

**I was tempted by rabbit, but it was farmed and Sainsbury’s wanted an extremely ambitious £20 a kilo. No way in hell will I pay that for farmed bunny. And it’s diced – I want a whole one, complete with offal, that I can joint myself.

***Trust me, it’ll work.

And that, for now, is as far as I’ve got, and if I don’t get out in the kitchen I’m likely to be stuck here all day again – pain, despite morphine, is building up to crisis point – time to bite the bullet…

4 thoughts on “Today, so help me god, there will be soup!

  1. Ron, I know you cook from scratch and have a certain way of making your soups but have you considered a soup maker for ease and quickness, for those days when u just cant spend time in the kitchen?

    I have one and love it. Throw everything in, turn on, 15 mins later u have boiling hot blended soup.
    This is mine, but there are others online.,size:

    EASY to clean too, cos otherwise I would hate it.
    You can even use it for regular veg steaming, and boiling eggs.

    • Hi Leigh,

      Thanks, I appreciate the thought, and I know that for some people they are, almost literally, a life-saver, but they’ve never appealed to me. I must say, though – yours is a much more sensible price than others I’ve seen (this, for example ).

      If I didn’t have a giant American-style fridge-freezer, plus a normal one in the bedroom, both freezers stuffed full of food, then I might think differently. Especially now as I’ve just been splattered with scalding oil by an exploding sausage!

      Mind you, when they take my leg off I might well need one of these gizmos for a while, at least. Though I’m not sure where it would go – this is my kitchen

      Whatever I cook, though, some winds up frozen – I always aim to have at least a month’s food available, just in case. And, of course, it might not be me that’s out of action – another 1947-style winter could always come along. We can’t even cope with 6 centimetres of snow these days, how we’d deal with a couple of feet I shudder to think, and online grocery shopping would suffer, hence my food stocks.

      I binned a load of canned soup a while back, some still within their dates, all of them blown. Whatever happened to canned food that kept for decades?

      I must mention, though, my usual caveat for the benefit of DWP snoops – I can’t cook every day, it’s quite impossible; maybe just once a week. Today’s soup, if I don’t freeze any, will take me through to about Thursday,** by which time I might – and I stress might – be able to cook again.

      **I don’t mind eating the same food several days in succession, as long as it’s good food.

      Actually, having said all that, I think I might buy one this week. I don’t know when my operation will be and I’d hate to be taken by surprise. Getting out of hospital as fast as possible is my main priority and they will assess whether I can fend for myself before letting me out. As I’ll be a full-time wheelie at that point, this would help.

  2. Yikes, ur kitchen is like mine. No room for anything cos you have all you need out on the worktops, but cant bend in and out of low level cupboards to put things away and get them back out again all the time.

    I have the base out all the time, in the corner behind the kettle, and the jug goes in the cupboard. Although atm Im using it at least twice a week so I tend to leave it out ready to go. Im on a healthy eating plan and making lots of fresh veg soup is really helping, 7lb lost over the last 2 weeks (and trust me when I say I have plenty more to lose [like 9 stone more] )

    Im also very grateful to supermarket ready prepped / cubed veg bags so I dont have to try to chop thing when my hands are refusing to work safely.
    I would say I make each soup last 3 days, but I have also been known to freeze some.
    I also use them as stew bases, and throw in pasta and meat for quick filling dinners. I only really cook properly when hubby is home to help. (weekends)

    Yes some of those soup blenders are offensively expensive. I remember when they were 1st launched, £300 and more.

    • I sometimes use Aunt Bessie’s frozen carrot and swede mash as a soup base – like today, bloody leg’s killing me – saves a lot of standing and chopping and tastes OK. I still have onions and shallots to chop, but they don’t take long. I’ve tried Sainsbury’s pre-prepped frozen veg but not impressed – they’ve lost the flavour somewhere.

      Today’s soup has that and also their frozen mash.

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