Posts Tagged ‘Mars Bars’

French Onion soup.

December 5, 2021

IMG_2917 french onion soup

This soup when using the right stock, is more of a way of life than a dish and yet there are people who have never partaken in this, nor shared it with neighbors or family. Yet, university studies have proven that those that came out of the recent lockdown most successfully were those that had regularly eaten French onion soup. Those that fared the worst were those on Mars bar, fizzy drinks and Big McDonalds entrails. It might be that in my enthusiasm for this dish I have before written about it, but so be it. I am happy to have shared in the return to normality from lockdown because of this soup.

Even though the main ingredients are 8 sliced yellow onions, the secret of the dish is mainly due to having the right stock, this can be either chicken or beef stock. Last time and well before Covid lockdowns when I made this dish I don’t mind admitting I ignored this advise of getting a good stock, and knocked together something from beef cubes. Mea culpa, it was a bad mistake and so salty that I had to dilute the soup with one liter of water and even than it was salty. People were polite and said it was ‘lovely’, but they drank a lot of water afterwards and there was also a steady stream to the bathroom with the associated noises of flushing toilets. I have three bathrooms with three toilets. Thank goodness for that. Anyway, that was my first onion soup. I did not dare mention the word ‘French’ then.

Yesterday I made yet another French onion soup and it was much better as this time I used a shop readymade beef stock. It is a good dish also because it takes at least 45 minutes to cook the onions, thinly sliced in some olive oil till soft after which you add two table spoons of butter and some garlic and bay leaves. The secret is to caramelize the onions which takes about one hour of constant stirring.  It does keep you on your feet. After one hour of stirring I added some dry white wine and a little sugar to aid the browning of the onions.

At that stage one can add about 8 cups of the beef stock which this time I used the commercial stock ready mixed. This then takes another hour or so of simmering. The finale is to dish it out and float on top of each soup dish French bread heated up in the oven topped with gruyere cheese.

I had some after I cooked it and while much better, I will hesitate to invite friends as it was still not as nice as anticipated and I did not want a repeat of toilet runs or thirst parched friends and visitors. My next move will be to make my own stock. You cook meat with leeks, carrots, onions and herbs and slow reduce it to about a liter of stock. I am so exited about the prospect of making my own stock.

This French onion soup is only as good as its stock.  

 

The ducks know: Bin liners rarely match kitchen tidies.

November 22, 2015

The flooded creek

The flooded creek

In five weeks time it will all be over folks. Don’t give in now. I know, I know, the running of the Christmas shoppers has started early this year. Santas are already in short supply. Some are now being lured away by Captains of Cash Registers (CCR’s) from underneath bridges and wheelie bins. I already noticed an abandoned trolley. Its owner sobbing (inconsolably) nearby. Her tears wetting the grass but some ducks were consoling her. Ducks are good at that. You can tell by their kind eyes. They always seem to be saying “It is never too late to reform”, repent, all will come good.”

There is hope growing eternally, especially along our creek at the back of our house. Each year and few weeks prior to Christmas, more and more elderly but still in revolutionary spirits, are to be found fondly looking into reflections of the creek’s water bubbling demurely over reeds and rushes. Some have, very wisely, taken the grandkids, to partake in the simple act of feeding wise ducks. For those with insight into the real spirit of Christmas it is the only thing left to do. Seek an answer in duck’s eyes and listen to flowing waters. Give generously to ducks.

We know the pull of materialism is strong and overwhelming. Most succumb to drop-dead shopping-malls, only to be taken by howling ambulance to hospital and hoisted into emergency beds, still warm from  previous shoppers still with laden trolley’s frozen turkeys oozing bags of Violent crumble and 2 kilos of acidly sweetened jute bags of Mars Bars. Jingle bells, jingle bells!

We are almost ready to go for our daily walk and meet up with the elderly but true believers at the creek. I know the ducks will be waiting and Milo is respectful, even considerate, seeing we are feeding the ducks food that he normally would receive. Good Boy!

We had a bad fish yesterday. The kitchen still smells even though I cooked the fish on the Webber outside. It wasn’t a good meal. The sauce was far too spicy. I had bought a jar of Sambal Oelek and even half a tea-spoon proved too much. Fortunately Helvi had also opened a jar of Hak’s sweet red cabbage that somehow diluted the chilli taste. Sundays are not good for fish buying. I should have known. Since buying the fish cook book I seem to want to try out recipes. Why are the pictures of food books so alluring? We ended up squabbling because the meal was almost inedible. Yet, the intention was so noble and good.

This morning I discovered the reason for the fish smell. The foil that the fish was baked in was doing its stinking job in the kitchen tidy. I had once again bought a large roll of those plastic tidy bags that never seem to fit the tidy. Either too big, too small or without handles. We even bought a large roll and then went shopping for the tidy so that both would match. Alas, even though they were matched, the bags did not have handles allowing it to be tightened into a bag without any spillage on the floor. The bags just had four flaps that somehow hung listlessly over the edge of the kitchen tidy. It is quite an art to then lift it out of its tidy without a nervous break-down.

We need the ducks this morning. They know and understand!