The start to soup, salad, and starters

My mid-afternoon epiphany: You know you have been badly bitten by the cooking bug when you go to a lending library and end up issuing recipe books. I spent a pleasant afternoon at the neighborhood library today browsing through their shelf of cookbooks. I could pick one to issue and I did want yet another Nora Roberts on my remaining card.

Aside: I have come to know Nora Roberts rather late in life, but do not fear, am speeding through her books like an F1 driver. Any day now, they will award a doctorate to me.

The hasty makings of the bruschetta
The hasty makings of the bruschetta

After some agonized dithering, I chose a book on soups, salads and starters. It was the borscht recipe that sealed the deal. I cannot resist beetroot. Note to self: have to experiment with beetroot. Oh dear, this blog post is full of distractions. The fact that I am watching a teleshopping show while I write it must be the sole reason.

Aside 2: Watching teleshopping is fascinating and hugely entertaining. The anchors who have been trained to speak as if they are reporting live from the site of a volcano eruption, or mimic the high pitched reporting gregariousness last heard at Kate and William’s wedding. The touching before and after stories in which everything from abdomen fat to toilet stains and kitchen grout simply melts away to result in a glowing and successful ever after!!! It is a lesson in marketing – identifying those exact situations in which you are compelled to teleshop – do you have guests over, or are travelling, or are pregnant, or are a college student who nobody likes, or have you completely lost your self-confidence? ?!! All immediate needs can be met by one magic one phone call!!! And guess the best bit!! Notice the wonderful offers?!! You shall actually save money while spending it!!!

The hasty bruschetta fresh from the oven
The hasty bruschetta fresh from the oven

Now the reason I picked the soup and salad book is because those are my latest obsessions. Armed with balsamic vinegar, my immersion blender, and thyme, am determined to learn how to freeze vegetable stock and rock the lettuce and ricotta world forever. You see, my mid-evening epiphany, yesterday which was more startling than today’s literary one, was that I have turned the corner. The time was when a bored week day evening meant dropping in at a friend’s, going out for a drink, or cramming popcorn hypnotically while watching a movie. Instead, I pootled around the internet, home and kitchen and pureed cauliflower. To make this hearty creamy curried cauliflower soup with some hastily thrown together bruschetta. Lip smacking deliciousness. I spent a fair bit of time fussing over the soup but the poor bread was left till the last minute. Did someone mention teleshopping?!!!

Creamy curried cauliflower soup (dinner for two hungry adults) From the Kitchn
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan. Slice and saute an onion (with a bit of salt) till translucent. Mince and add two cloves of garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes more. Meanwhile cut into florets half a head of cauliflower. Add to the pan, along with a teaspoon each of cumin and coriander powder. Put in some turmeric and add a little over two cups of water. Note: please use stock instead. I do believe it will work much better. Add more salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 15-20 minutes. Puree the soup using an immersion blender (or your food processor) and mix in half a cup of coconut milk. At this point, taste and add more seasoning to taste. I found it fairly bland and so livened it up with more cumin, pepper and salt. To serve, sprinkle some roasted cashews, parsley (I had only dried herbs on hand) and a dash of pepper and cayenne.

Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup
Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup

Hasty bruschetta (for when you are low on ingredients and time) Adapted from allrecipes
Cut four slices of whole wheat bread into half. Brush some olive oil onto them and toast in the oven for a few minutes. In a bowl, mix in some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic and chopped basil (preferably fresh) and some salt. Chop one tomato, one small onion, half a capsicum, and steam some sliced baby corn. Add to the dressing and let it rest a while. Dollop on the toast and sprinkle some grated cheese. Grill for five to ten minutes.


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