Thursday, 8 October 2009

Time for more soup

Some friends of ours came over to dinner on Tuesday evening. They are off on holiday to South America at the weekend culminating in a visit to Machu Picchu, the historical Peruvian site. It is a place I have always wanted to visit, so I’m looking forward to seeing their photographs.

Judith said they had been preparing for the rigors of the holiday in different ways and would be following an iron rich diet to try and help in building up their haemoglobin to help them acclimatise to the high altitudes.

As my contribution to their preparations, I thought I would put together an iron-rich meal. This is what we had.

Nettle, beetroot leaf and sweet potato soup
½ colander full of fresh nettle tops
Leaves from 4 beetroot
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 carrots, scraped and sliced
10 cardamom seeds
1 onion, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves peeled, sliced and left to rest for 15 minutes
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and shred beetroot leaves, wash nettles. Fry onion and garlic in olive oil, add cardamom seeds, add all other ingredients and cover with cold water. Add salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer until everything is soft. Remove cardamom seeds. Liquidise then strain to remove stalks from nettles. Return to pan and serve with freshly made granary bread and butter. Serves 6.

Beef Stew
5lbs stewing steak and kidney
6 celery stalks
1 onion
6 cloves of garlic,
4 carrots
4 parsnips
Peeled and slice garlic cloves. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. Peel and dice onion. Wash and thinly slice celery. Fry onion and garlic. Add meat and fry until all meat is sealed. Add celery. Stir. Cover with cold water (about 4-5 pints). Bring to the boil and simmer on lowest heat for three hours. Add carrots and parsnips, salt and pepper. Cook for a further 15 minutes until vegetables are done. Thicken gravy (I used 3tsp cornflour and 3tsp Bisto mixed to a paste with a little cold water then stirred in). Serve with baked potato and further green vegetables (we had cabbage). This serves 8-10 people. (Leftovers were used the following night then frozen)

We had apple pie and cream for dessert. Chris made it and fashioned a beautiful treble clef on the top. It was his first homemade pie and tasted really good! The treble clef represented the ties of music which has run through our friendship.

Judith and I met when our children were very small. Both she and her husband, Julian, have served our communities for many years through the police and our local church. My eldest and her second son were in the same class at primary school. She helped me run a mums and tots group in a local church hall for a year in the early 1980s and was an alto in a small choir I put together for 3 fundraising concerts. I taught all her boys piano for several years until they went off to boarding school and accompanied a choir she put together to raise money for Malawi last year. Her eldest boy was married two weeks after Richard and Laura.

We all lead busy lives, but it was really nice to spend time together over an enjoyable meal.


Laura of said...

The soup sounds deliciously spiced... I can almost smell it simmering away. I do love cardamom

Herbaholic said...

Making the Stew this weekend and adding some spicy dumplings for Samhain :) Need to show Simon that there's more to steak and kidney than just pie!

Hear Mum Roar said...

Sounds like a special day! Lovely

Kathleen said...

Tell your friends to be sure to take hard candies - maybe you could help with horehound herb - for the climb along the Inca Trail. The altitude combined with the dryness sometimes causes headaches and sore throats. The local chew coca leaves, but many tourists prefer not to, for work reasons. Hard candies help a lot.