Long walks in the rain and restorative vegetable soup

Hi, my name is Cheergerm, I like long walks in the rain. (This sounds like the introduction to a personal ad on a dating website.) Actually, I was under the impression I liked long walks in the rain.

After a lovely and filling lunch at Mum’s house, a forty minute walk home seemed like a good idea. The offer of an umbrella was denied. ‘No thanks, I have my rain coat, that will do thanks.’ The first five minutes of light drizzle were delightful. I felt alive, exuberant, all English-like and Mary Poppinsy. Trip trapping down the road like one of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, cool mist enveloping me.

Then the rain got heavier. Rain coat zipped up, hood on. This wasn’t going to dampen my spirits, so to speak. Did the intrepid explorer Sir Edmund Hilary turn back when things got a bit hairy climbing Mt Everest? Never! With nothing to protect my face and glasses, large drops began to drip down, obscuring my vision. A pair of teeny tiny windscreen wipers would have been great. This genteel walk was becoming somewhat unpleasant.

The rain deepened, as did my mood. I would not call for help. Captain Scott didn’t call his mummy for help in the Antarctic, did he? (Unfortunately, I had left my mobile phone at home.) The wind started to blow the rain sideways. By now my track suit pants were hugging my legs wetly, not unlike a clingy three year old with a soggy nappy. The odd drip or two was making it way slowly down my back, creeping towards undergarments that one would prefer to keep dry.

I saw a car, my heart lifted, it was the same make and colour as ours. Had the Yak come to rescue me from this foolhardy adventure? Nope, it wasn’t him. Resolutely, I put my head down. Rain was now pouring over the hood of my rain coat and down my nose like a miniature waterfall. Home was only ten minutes away.

My name is Cheergerm, I do not like long walks in the rain.

But I do like this. A marvellous restorative vegetable soup based on the kind of soup that Mum would make on wintery Sunday’s. It is perfect for when you feel wet, poorly, sad, or just in need of a big bowl of soup love. It makes a huge pot but I always freeze some for a rainy day. Mum always used barley but sadly, it is not gluten free. I threw in some lovely red Persian lentils which do not need soaking and keep their shape once cooked. The celery is essential.

RESTORATIVE VEGETABLE SOUP

2 tbl olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 yellow or red capsicum, diced
4 sticks celery, 300g, diced
1 Swede (the vegetable not someone from Sweden), diced
4 cups veggie stock
7 cups of water
1 cup Persian red lentils (or green lentils, or barley if it doesn’t need to be GF), make sure you wash them
Big handful of green beans, chopped
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 tsp Salt and as much black pepper as you desire
1 large handful celery leaves, roughly chopped
(Optional: vegetable stock powder.)

Heat oil in large stockpan and sweat off onion, carrots, pepper, celery and swede for about ten minutes. Do not colour the vegetables.
Add the veggie stock, water, lentils and a few big grinds of black pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.
Cook for about 40 minutes until the carrots are just tender, then add the beans, zucchini and salt and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until they are just tender. You want to keep some vibrancy in them.
Check for seasoning, add more salt, pepper and a teaspoon of veggie stock powder if needed.
Add the celery leaves and cook for five more minutes. Let the soup sit off the heat for five minutes, scoop off any lentil scum that has come to surface.
Eaten with a slice of spelt sourdough and some manchego cheese.

A Cheergerm recipe

Cooking Notes: I used a store bought veggie stock. I have made my own before (a few years ago now) but I really fancy making the wonderful sounding roast vegetarian stock from the lovely Almost Italian blog. She roasted the vegetables first to obtain some umami depth. I haven’t made it yet but I will. Or maybe you will first. Bless and damn you if that is the case.

https://almostitalian.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/french-onion-soup-with-vegetable-stock-voila/

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22 thoughts on “Long walks in the rain and restorative vegetable soup

  1. Very entertaining! Just say no to Piรฑa Coladas and getting caught in the rain! The soup looks ravishing, especially with the lentils in. And with Manchego cheese. Mmmm. I am too lazy to make my own stock. I have done it a few times, and I surely have plenty of kitchen trimmings that could go to stock rather than compost. But the idea of the roasted veggies sounds very tempting.

    • Thanks LM! My boys love that song at the moment…forget that. ๐Ÿ˜ It’s a lovely soup, the celery adds some great saltiness. And I am really loving these lentils as they don’t turn mushy easily. I am a bit lazy with stock lately too but this one is on my to do list.

  2. In the autumn and wintertime here, when I do my daily trudge down to get the mail, especially if the weather is wretched and wicked, I will make sure to put something tempting and restorative on the stove before I go so that 1.) I’ll be welcomed home with the unbelievable smell 2.) I’ll be encouraged to make it back up the mountain knowing I will soon be wrapped in that unbelievable smell and 3.) I won’t give up because there is a pot on the stove with fire beneath it so I better hop to it before it becomes a fire hazard.
    It would be awful to be picked up by the fire truck on its way to put out the mess I made. Humiliating . So I will walk in the rain and the snow, but I must be motivated.
    I’m thinking your lentil soup will fit the bill beautifully, Cheergerm.

    • I think the moderate weather here has turned me into a cry baby!! If we faced greater inclement weather moments, I wouldn’t have much choice either. Totally hearing you here, a big pot of something warming (preferably not on fire), would be just the thing to get ‘one’s backside, whether wet or dry’ up your hill. (As it sounds like there ain’t anyone who is going to drive you back up the hill, unless your house catches on fire….) This soup would do the trick Mrs Peak.

  3. A hearty soup for a wintry day, Cheery. Reads delicious. If you are a vegetarian you wouldn’t want a Swede from Sweden. Otherwise, I’ve heard they taste a little like chicken. Cheery, were you singing as you were walking in the rain? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • He he. I bet they do taste like chicken! Well Minstrel, I sang for the first few minutes. Busted my best Gene Kelly moves but once the underwear got wet, the singing stopped. ๐Ÿ˜

  4. Bonjour! Hi, I’m Mรฉlanie and I love soups, in general and yours, in particular… I’ll prepare it asap! mille merci! bon appรฉtit & santรฉ-cheers! ๐Ÿ™‚

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