Week Twenty One – Bad Food in a Bad Week

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays the first thing I do when I turn my work computer on is look for the latest XKCD strip. Which is why this Friday I was nearly in tears in the office.

Debbie talks to her mum everyday on the telephone. I talk to mine once a week or so yet I phone my (adult) children most nights if only to say goodnight. We always end the conversation with “I love you” and for Debbie and I it has also taken the place of goodbye or goodnight. Oddly, I can’t remember the last time I told my mother that I love her. I know that she knows I do but it would feel strange to just say it out of the blue and would probably make her worry that something was wrong. On my side of the family communication has never been a strong suit. My brother and I have never fallen out yet we speak to each other only once a year or so. I keep meaning to phone more often (as I assume he does) but before we know it it is Christmas or one of the other excuses we have for family get-togethers and we haven’t spoken since the last one.

On Tuesday night my brother’s lovely wife had a major heart attack. I have always had a soft spot for my brother’s partners but Gill is special. When I visited her in hospital she was sedated and I couldn’t work out why, for just being in a deep sleep, she looked so different. On the drive home I realised what the difference was: she is very quick to humour and I can’t remember the last time I saw her and she wasn’t either smiling or laughing.

It has left the whole family dazed and, to be honest, cooking has been the last thing on my mind for most of the time. We have had far too many take-aways and when I have cooked I have made comfort dishes like Neil’s lovely Non-trapanese pasta which, with pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil, is very diet unfriendly. At weigh in tonight I was lucky to have stayed the same rather than having gained several pounds.

I have put so many soups on here recently that I was wondering whether I should rename the blog Youfatsoupie. Soup for lunch, however, is the one thing that seems to fill me up without being too bad for the diet.

A great comfort soup is Yellow Split Pea and Pancetta. The first time I served this to Debbie’s dad he thanked me for the best pea and ham soup he had had in a while. I considered pointing out that it was yellow split pea and pancetta until I realised that essentially it was pea and ham albeit a different colour.

140g Pancetta cubes
1 Onion, diced
1 Medium Potato, diced
250g Yellow Split Peas soaked over night then drained
1/4 Teaspoon Caraway Seeds

You can leave the pancetta out to make this dish vegetarian but where is the fun in that?
Brown the pancetta over a low heat so that it releases its fat. Remove from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and tip away most of the fat (eventually you will be able to do this without crying). In the remaining oil fry the onion and potato until the onion is soft but not coloured. Add the split peas, the caraway seeds and a couple of litres of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the split peas are soft. Allow to cool a little then blend until smooth and season (I was always told not to season pulses until after they have been cooked as the salt can make them tough). If the soup is too thick then add more hot water. Before serving add the pancetta and reheat.

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