A few days ago, while preparing vegetables for a curry (actually, while watching my friend preparing vegetables for a curry – I was not being very useful, although I did provide the vegetables), I peeled and chopped a sweet potato for soup. Then I put the pieces in a box in the fridge and forgot about them.
Today another friend came round for lunch and we dug out the sweet potato which was still perfectly edible, but threatening to become squishy and unpleasant, and made soup out of it, along with a parsnip, a leek and an onion. I also threw in some Bouillon powder and salt, and later the remainder of my blue cheese for an added kick.
It was the first time I’d used my new-to-me stick blender and it worked well. In fact I probably blended the soup more than was strictly necessary… I used the blender to stir in the cheese and salt, just because I could. It wasn’t the best soup I’d ever made and it wasn’t a hugely appetising colour but I was pleased with it by the end.
The really nice thing was that throughout the time we were cooking, the kitchen was full of people from the other rooms on my corridor, also cooking – and cooking real food: a vegetable stir fry, a Quorn dish, some kind of greyish curry. We chatted about cooking and they offered helpful suggestions which made it clear that they have far more food science knowledge than I. People, I live with fellow cooks! After three years in which the majority of my neighbours think that heating up a pizza counts as elaborate cooking and look askance at anyone who chops their own onions I am thrilled. Perhaps we will swap recipes and bulk-buy unusual grains and have dinner parties. Or perhaps we’ll just jockey for elbow room at the one functioning hob – there are two ovens, and in theory two hobs, but the right-hand one has been broken for over a year with no sign of any attempt to fix it. On Sunday night there were no fewer than twelve people in the kitchen at once, thankfully not all attempting to cook their own meal but still. I seem to have ended up in the foodie enclave.