Saturday 3 November 2012

Smallholding Vegetable Soup. "Why can't we go back to 'plain' food?

Brrr.  It's getting flipping cold here in Southern Ireland.  The mountains nearby all have castor sugar coverings today.  Now I see why Sugar Mountain got it's name.  Think there are 6 'Sugar' mountains in Ireland and 200 in the world?

Any road.  Today we decided to make some vegetable soup and a loaf of bread.  The stove is lit, so why not use it to make some food?

Here's What You Do.

You don't need to measure or weigh anything.  It just depends how many mouths you are feeding.  I made half a pan full, because I know this will make two bowls of soup. Just peel some carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, peas and slice them and throw them into a big pan and pour in a jug of stock.  I used one beef OXO cube because I couldn't find the chicken stock ones.  Place it on the stove and leave it to cook for a few hours.  It really is easy and full of vitamins and you know there are no preservatives in it.  Number 2 son said to me:

"Is it Heinz soup?  I only eat Heinz soup!"

I said:

"No.  No it's, 'My' soup."

The bread is an 'Oudlums' brown bread mix from ye olde supermarket, which you just add some milk to and follow the instructions.
Vegetable Soup.

Vegetable Peelings... Saved for Ducks Supper.

Bread cooling down.

The finished product.  We decided not to bother blending the soup and left it lumpy.    Then I added some more water to the pan and I'm having some more for my tea.

Years ago when ever we came to Ireland on our holidays on my grandparents little farm.    My mum and dad would take us in pubs and ask for:

"Soup and Sandwiches".  

Is there anything more heavenly than a bowl of soup (with bread) and ham and tomato sandwiches with no coleslaw or mayonnaise?  Why can't we go back to 'plain' food?   


  1. Favourite meal to make is ham shank overnight in slow cooker half full of water, flesh falls off bones, best stock in the world.

    Lentils, onions, carrots, potatoes turnip, swede, parsnip, celeriac, any old bits of root vegetables in any proportion, chopped into similar-sized bits; any rag-ends of meat from the shank and bits of fat if you like it thrown in as well; then left in slow cooker for a few hours while the bread-maker prepares a warm loaf to eat with it.
    Some people put dumplings in it for the last half hour or so, I never bother.

    Fireworks have started again, hope Raggy cat's OK.

  2. I bought a 'slow cooking' book from 'The Works' in Killarney on Thursday. Also bought: Booze For Free. Some good food and beer and wine recipes.

    Our range works like a slow cow cooker Cumbrian. You just put your meal in the oven an leave the door shut for a few hours. The only thing to do is keep putting solid fuel or logs in the stove. Dumplings are good but they are very heavy - like my potato cakes.

    Ham and onion toastie for tea tonight. Got 6 bottles of : Cimorosa Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc from Lidl in Kenmare on Thursday for twenty one Euro. It's not bad!
    Hope Raggy Cat is OK?


  3. Slow cow cooker. That's a new one. Must be the glass of wine. 'Slow cooker' - even! I have got farming on the brain.

  4. Slow cookers are brilliant, I've got 2, the big one 3.5 lt oval which gets used for ham shanks, soup, lamb stews, a small chicken or the occasional joint I come across that won't go in the small one. Small one's 1.5 lt round, cooks faster than the big one, it's in use most days, just right for us two, a couple of pork chops, lamb chops, fying steak, chicken portions and small joints. Always put a chopped onion, a dash of sunflower oil and a stock cube or two, minimum liquid just the stock cube water, makes good gravy with gravy granules. Just about impossible to burn stuff, times aren't critical, doesn't need watched and uses miniscule amounts of electricity. Easy to wash as well. It's even supposed to be good for porridge, but that's quicker in the microwave.

    Nice wine, South African?

    Still bloody cold, that horrible damp sort of cold, can't see the fells so don't know if they've got snow on tops yet.
    Raggy cat came back in, straight for the chicken skin off Mrs chicken and back in front of fire now. Not so many fireworks tonight either.

  5. Hi Cumbrian. Our Stanley range works like a slow cooker. I bought a book of slow cooking recipes on our recent trip to Killarney. I am told that years ago the big house or inn would always have a cauldron of soup on the go and they just kept topping it up with vegetables and stock and water.

    Couldn't believe how cheap vegetables are in Lidl the other day. It makes you wonder why we bother trying to grow our own. I don't mean it really, you can beat fresh, home grown, chemical free veg. If you can grow veg this year, you have done really well.

    See that climate change is on the presidential agenda in America? The weather's definitely changing for the worse. They won't get rid of the cars though which cause all the pollution and climate change, will they?

    The South African wine is excellent and incredibly cheap!

    Cold, wet and blowing a gale here. The snow seems to have disappeared though.

    Glad Raggy Cat is OK.


  6. Had some great soup this weekend, Dave, homemade lentil (in reality, lentil and carrot soup). It actually thickened up enough to eat with rice. Yeah, my wife did great with this, but I was less keen on her pumpkin soup.

    Will eat steak with ginger at Que Huong this week to get a picture for you.

  7. Hi Pat, It's great to hear that you are making soup. Never made lentil and carrot soup. Must get some lentils today. We have a pan of vegetable soup cooking this morning. We just keep topping it up with what ever vegetables we have about us. Going to have a go at making Mulligitawny soup some time this week. Its another one of those foods from the British Empire along with Piccalilli.

    Bacon Hotpot for tea tonight.

    Look forward to seeing your pictures from Que Huong. Tell the owner you're posting your blog about his restaurant on the Internet. He might give you a free meal or at least a pint? Well,it's worth a try.


  8. How about your old favourites, mushy peas, Dave? You've told me that it's difficult to get them in Ireland, so do you get them shipped over from Britain? Couldn't imagine you going without your mushy peas, Dave!

  9. We can get mushy peas now Pat. Can also get Vimto from Tesco in Cork. Still can't get a meat and potato pie or a pint of draught English bitter. There's a limited selection of English Real Ales and Newcastle Brown in supermarkets.

    Somebody brought us some 'Black Peas' the other week. They were great!! When I lived in England we used to go to an Irish shop ie in Manchester for Barrys Tea, White Pudding, Red lemonade.. It's a shame there isn't a shop here that sells English delicacies like Dandelion and Burdoch and Lancashire Crumbly cheese and Eccles Cakes... Shall I go on?


  10. About Hawkwind, Dave, when I've seen them live over the years, Dave Brock has always organised everything from the background, while somebody near the front of the stage was/has been behaving like a 'nutter' (e.g. Nik Turner; Rob Calvert; and even Arthur Brown on one occasion - Arthur went into the crowd with an illuminious monster's head on).

    The last time I saw them at Manchester Academy 2 last December, they had a guy with a German helmet on as the 'mad frontman'. Like I say, I love the way Dave Brock has always organised things, he has a great sense of humour.

  11. I really like Hawkwind Pat. They can be self deprecating, amusing and also have an environmental ethos. I think: "We took the wrong step years a go", is one of the best environmental songs I have ever heard.

    Hawkwind have also shown incredible imagination in their writing, artwork and stage presentation. They have also raised a lot of money for charity, the RSPB is just one example.

    They played Cork Pavilion this year and sadly I couldn't get to see them.

  12. You would've loved the 'Christmas Hawkwind Show' with Arthur Brown handling the vocals at Manchester Academy 2 (December 2002 I think?). While waiting at the bar, a guy looked nervous and confused, and told me: "This is too much, TWO concerts going on on ONE stage, it's way too much, it's doing my head in!". His description was wholly accurate, but it was just part of the Dave Brock/Hawkwind sense if humour I guess. Hawkwind are simply Hawkwind, and we love them for it.

  13. Hawkwind are a great band Pat. Like a lot of radical free thinking bands they have never been given the recognition they deserve. Think you should write a book about classic rock rock groups Pat. You're an authority on the subject. Is there a degree course in rock music?

  14. I wouldn't go as far as that, Dave, but I guess there may be something in writing a memoir about concerts.

  15. I think you have got something there Pat. I would love to read a book about all those great heavy rock bands. Think you would also really enjoy writing it Pat.

  16. Don't know if my memory is that great, to be honest, Dave. Now, I get some of the concerts mixed up, especially, for some reason, the Doningtons in the 1980s.

  17. I also get mixed up with concerts and the Donington line ups Pat. Thanks to good old Google I found out last week that I went to 4 Donington's and I had mixed up 2 of the line ups. I suppose I had probably drank far too much to remember them?

    There is an excellent BBC 4 Hawkwind documentary on You Tube. Have you seen it Pat?

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