OK, so the cat's out of the bag. Well, one of them, anyway. I have no kitchen.
Actually, I've had no kitchen for the past 3 weeks now, and it's killing me. I'm eating rubbish (by definition, anything that doesn't come out of my kitchen is generally rubbish), I'm not sleeping, and I feel like sh*t. I hadn't realised quite how big a part cooking played in my life. I certainly do now.
Yep, the kitchen's being made over, gutted, rebuilt, refurbished, redesigned, or whatever term you want to give it. All adds up to the same thing. Five weeks of building work (hopefully) and then one week of the kitchen actually being fitted. In the meantime, we're living in squalor in the living room, and have no kitchen facilities AT ALL. Zip. Nada. Nothing. Oh, and the brick dust is everywhere, and in everything. And I mean, everything. Yuck, phooey. Even the vacuum cleaner's on strike over it.
What this all means, of course, is that I'm busted for the rest of this post. This is actually something I made a few weeks back and then forgot all about. The shame. Still, it gives me something to put on here during the great non-kitchen interlude.
OK, so it's another soup. I promise this will be the last soup for a good many months - except, perhaps, for chilled sweet soups, which I might just have a play with over the summer.
The joke is that I'm really not a big fan of soups. I rarely eat them, let alone make them. So I dunno where all these soups have come from, really I don't.
I suppose this one got made because my veg box supplier decided a few weeks ago that they had a glut of jerusalem artichokes, and were going to give some away (for free? does that really happen?) in all their veg boxes for that week. It also happened to be darn cold. Soup seemed like a reasonable idea.
I also had my beadies on my Denis Cotter book again. His JA soup looked good. Really good. But it had sheep's cheese risotto balls in it, too. Which would have been fine, but I sure as hell wasn't going to be making risotto so that we could have a risotto ball each in our soup. Waaaaay too much effort.
So, a few tweaks, if you please. I nabbed his lemon cream from another recipe, and the nest of leeks represent my own feeble stab at some originality and making it a bit, y'know, fancy-schmancy.
The recipe for the soup is on page 280 of the book. Look, like I said, I'm tired, ok, and I really, really don't feel like typing it all out, much as I love you. I know you'll hate me. I can handle it. I'm that tired. Anyway, it's a pretty classic cream soup recipe, and the key is put the soup through a sieve to get that oh-so-lovely velvety-smoothness, and not to get trigger-happy with the truffle oil. A drop or two is fine. It's JA soup, not truffle oil soup.
The lemon cream? (It's there if you look hard enough, honest - it's just round the edges of the leek nest.) This is fab. Simple, but fab. For 4 peeps - 100ml veg stock, 100ml white wine, 300ml double cream, zest 1 lemon, juice of half a lemon. Chuck the stock and the wine in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half (about 5 mins). Add the cream and reduce again 'to get a slightly thickened pouring consistency'. Stir in the zest and juice, and season. Job done.
Crispy-fried leeks? Too easy. Just slice into really thin strands and deep fry for as long as it takes for them to crispen - just a few seconds. Drain on kitchen paper.
Put it all together. Admire. Take photos under appalling artificial light with cheap point-and-shoot again. Eat. Agree with your fellow diner(s) that it's just about the most perfectest soup. Evah.