a winter’s soup


no, no snow as yet, but my oil heater has its work cut out. during the day under a brilliant cerulean sky the temperature ventures all the way to twenty eight, only to drop into the teens at night fall, god knows what it gets to in those wee hours. (under a double eiderdown and cuddled it really doesn’t matter so much)

so, it’s a winter’s soup for dinner, set up in the afternoon with spicy sausage, gingko nuts, edame, oven roast garlic, cipollini onion, cubed crunchy day old pugliese in a broth, thick with yesterdays buttery celeriac puree.
the sausage is ancient, dry and hard, sharp of garlic and peppers. it will soften by the time soup’s on. the gingkos are only a few days off the tree, their husks crack gently in the set jaws of my vice grip, the nut meat much like a young hazel, softly tender, green tasting, but once they are toasted in grape oil they perk up and crunch, their texture much like green edame beans, still frozen now. as the soup warms i squeeze the garlic, mushing it gently into the broth. the soup will simmer, or, as the french say, the pot smiles into the dark. the cipollini are cut paper thin and roasted in oil till they are crisp, they top the soup together with blackened bread cubes just before ladling it all into bowls. you’ll drink what you have, we’ll do hot sake, ameliorating the mind and those notions of a more delightful, if later engagement.

for desert it’ll be manchego, with thinly sliced pears and quince butter.

if i may make a recommendation here: i use a handheld, red kyocera mandoline. it amazes me how well it has held up. considering it does everything from meats to cheese to fruits and vegetables, it even takes on uncooked acorn squash. at a sixteenth of an inch this is impressive. it also does, though slowly, pan forte and bread. it has four adjustments for thickness, down to point five millimeter, but won’t do fries nor curlies. it is of course not a frenchy stainless at two-hundred quid, but at twenty-eight and as a red plastic, it has a quick edge of ceramic matter which in five month has kept my thumb and me in utter awe.