Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Most Beautiful Soup

It has been a while since I've posted a recipe. That is because I have been reveling in a debauched orgy of chocolate eating since 'Rochester-gate'. Not just chocolate. A lot of toast too. What is it about buttered toast when you're heartbroken? It becomes as addictive as crack. It is possibly because it is easy, portable and requires no annoying crockery or cutlery. You can wander, forlornly around your squalid, neglected home, leaving a trail of tears and melted butter in your wake. You have to eat toast in pyjamas really, don't you? Nothing else feels right.

This is my favourite soup at the moment. It is crammed with healthy vegetables and chunks of thick (preferably home-cooked) ham. You can use any vegetables you like, but I think leeks, potatoes, parsnips and sweetcorn are pretty essential. As is the lovely, feathery, fragrant Scandinavian herb, dill.

This soup is as healthy as a recipe that includes 300ml of double cream has a right to be. It is proper, cosy, creamy, comfort food.

Creamy Ham, Vegetable and Dill Soup

1 large potato
1 carrot
2 parsnips
2 leeks
a bit of swede (chucked some in as I had some spare)
2 cups of frozen sweetcorn
4 thick slices of ham cut into chunks.
2 cloves of garlic
slice of butter
vegetable or ham stock (I used the water I cooked the ham in)
300 ml of double cream
a packet of fresh dill (tough stalk ends discarded)
the juice of half a lemon
lashings of tabasco sauce

  • Chop your root vegetables and leeks and saute gently in butter with the garlic. This will take 5 minutes or so, until the vegetables are slightly softened and fragrant.
  • Add just enough stock to cover the vegetables and simmer until everything is cooked. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the sweetcorn and ham and heat through for another 3-4 minutes.
  • When everything is cooked, stir through the cream, lemon juice and the roughly chopped dill. Heat gently and season.
  • Serve with a generous slosh of tabasco sauce on the top. (The contrast between the creamy soup and smoky fire of the Tabasco is perfect - but then, I put Tabasco on pretty much everything, so I may be biased).
The sorry truth is, this soup is likely to be the most thrilling thing that will happen to me today. I am off to TK Maxx in a minute, on the search for cheap dog beds. Seriously. Dog beds. How did it come to this? I am on holiday. Surely I should be sipping champagne cocktails in Monte Carlo with Cary Grant?


  1. Mmmm, great soup! Your walk on the beach looked lovely too. Were there no handsome single dogwalking fellows eyeing you and your soup-making charms lasciviously? If not, there should have been.

  2. That soups looks wonderful - and what a lovely bowl. Oh god, listen to me....

  3. Nicky: you have touched on one of the most pernicious myths about dog-ownership, namely that dog-walking is a wonderful way to meet swarthy, animal-loving men. I can tell you, tragically, it is not the case. I have yet to come across a spaniel-owning Mr Darcy, striding across the fields, shirt billowing behind him. I live in hope. (I have been flashed at a couple of times though - does that count?)

    Ms Flora Fauna: thank you for appreciating the bowl! It is pretty, I used to have 4, now I only have 1. Such is life.

  4. I wasn't sure what a "swede" is--I guessed squash, but google says it's a rutabaga. The soup sounds delicious.

  5. Dire. I suppose you can't be flashed on a dating website, at least.