Dateline Good Friday 2015… Still offline.
As you might know, I eat just one meal a day, in the evening. The reason for this is that if I eat breakfast and/or lunch I can’t stay awake. No-one can tell me why so I long ago opted for the one meal a day solution – until now.
A few days ago I woke with a craving for Heinz tomato soup for breakfast. As I had a few cans in my emergency soup stash I indulged the whim and had a very productive day without once nodding off. Even created a new recipe (which, if early tastings are accurate,** is remarkably good).
**They were, and it was. It’s also gone, but it will be made again, and in a greater quantity.
Since then I’ve repeated the soup experiment several times with the same result though, sadly, while it hasn’t resulted in a new recipe each time, it has given me some ideas, not least for my own tomato soup, as I’ve just eaten my last can.
There is, as far as I can see, nothing at all in the soup that accounts for its effect on me, but as the benefits were entirely unanticipated I seriously doubt they’re psychological.
So, today, I shall be making a batch of Cream of Tomato Soup, using the excellent passata from Napolina as a base. To flavour it I have some home-dried thyme (picking out the twiggy bits is a pain but worth it), and some dried mushrooms will add depth, as will a little soy sauce and a slug of pale cream sherry. I have no cream, but milk powder will nudge it in the right direction.
Cream of Tomato Soup Recipe…
And I fully intended to publish the recipe here. However, when finished, what should have been a first-class tomato soup with a hint of spice (sweet paprika) – tasted of as close to bugger all as it’s possible to get.
I did manage to salvage it, but while it’s OK for personal use it’s not a recipe I’d willingly share. It is one that I’ll revisit, though, and rework for publication.
And, yes, I do get the same effect from my own soup as from the canned, from which I can only assume that there is something in the tomatoes as that’s the only ingredient both versions have in common.
Now all I have to do is get a couple of portions out of the freezer every couple of days.
Failed miserably the first day! Completely forgot to get any soup out of the freezer so had a can of chicken instead. All it did was make me tired. Still, I now have two portions of tomato defrosting, and I’ve laid in a stock of passata and some canned toms as well – I think combining the two will give me the taste that was absent from the current batch.
Soya Bean Saga…
I got a delivery of organic soya beans just before the Easter shutdown so it’s time to get out the slow cooker and soak 500g. Soaked all day and cooked all night, in the company of a chopped carrot and an onion, and perhaps a bit of leek, they’ll yield about 1.2kg of finished beans plus a pint or so of stock.
With beans it pays to cook two batches of 500g each in succession, as the stock from the first batch can be used for the second, to the benefit of both beans and liquor, and combining both batches of beans before portioning will even out any minor differences in flavour. Each batch gets an added chopped carrot and onion.
With soya beans, 500g of dried beans reliably yields a whisker over 1.2kg of cooked beans. I stick to the same brand of organic bean and the same method – an 8 hour soak during the day followed by cooking overnight until soft. There is some natural variation in the beans, with some batches needing a couple of hours longer cooking than others, but it’s hardly rocket science and the results are excellent.
Bean stock, even with the boost from double use, isn’t very high in flavour, but it seems safe to assume that it contains a degree of protein, vitamins and trace elements leached from the cooking beans, so I don’t waste it. The lack of an assertive flavour works in its favour, as any bean stock can be used with any other bean or even with meat or fish.
And finally, harking back to the soup for a moment I forgot to get any out of the freezer last night – my left leg burst and distracted me – and already today (which is actually today, now, not a couple of weeks ago), I’m flagging. I don’t know what the soup does to me, or for me, but whatever it is, it’s real. I need to get into a routine, devoting a day a week to making a week’s worth of soup (400g a day – the equivalent of a can – seems about right and will fit nicely in my 3-litre pot).