It’s definitely a weekend for cooking. Apart from a Zumba class last night, this weekend is a quiet one and I’m actually quite glad for that. There are times (and this is one of them) when I just like to shut myself away, do what I want to do, not have to go out and put make up on and just chill. I love spending time with my friends and family, and obviously the best weekends are the ones when I’m with The Boyfriend, but when he is at home it’s very very rare that I get a whole weekend to myself to do exactly what I want to do. I couldn’t do it every weekend, and I can imagine when you don’t have any choice but to be on your own all the time that it would get depressing and dull. But hey, this is one of those very few upsides of an absent boyfriend – no tea making, no Sky Sports News in the background, no reading a book with the occasional interruption of “whats happening in your book?”. I’m pretty sure that if The Boyfriend were to list positives of being away from me it would include not hearing me snore every night, not having to watch me cry at the last episode of Friends/SATC again, and being able to play Football Manager all weekend. The downsides though are many, and too numerous to list! I tend to think as well that if you can’t be happy in your own company, how do you expect other people to be? Plus, you have to turn negatives into positives, so instead of spending the weekend moping and counting down the days until his return, I might as well enjoy it and do some cooking.
So, to the cooking. After going to the gym this morning (so technically I have left the house, but no make up and no effort to look nice required!) I decided it was about time I put my shiny new blender to use and try my hand at soup. The soup in question was broccoli – cheddar soup and is from Americas Most Wanted Recipes buy Ron Douglas. I cooked from this in one of my first blog posts (Chicken Fettucine) and it was delicious, as were all the things I’ve cooked from it before I started this challenge. I know what you’re thinking, broccoli soup, really? But you would be foolish to judge this soup by its cover, as it is so so good and very more-ish. If you’ve eaten at Panera in America then you’re probably already familiar with this soup, and if you’re not familiar with Panera then it’s a soup and sandwich fast food chain, but with high quality food rather than the usual greasy slop you get with fast food. When I had this soup over there last year, I was really surprised how good it was, especially as when I was a child I would not eat broccoli and my dad had to liquidise it into gravy to get me to eat some greens. Safe to say I’ve now moved on from those dark dark times! I actually think that by making it at home I’ve improved the taste, as today it was even better than I remember it. Well, I say I improved it, but I just followed the recipe, so well done Ron Douglas for improving on an already delicious dish. But I will happily take some credit for it, after all I had to convert everything from cups to mls, and ounces to grams. Don’t get me started on cups as a measuring tool, how the hell do you know what 3 cups of broccoli looks like? Sainsburys don’t sell vegetables in cups, they sell it by the gram. Grrrr. Anyway, just because this soup contains broccoli, carrots and onions, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s healthy. There is a lot of butter, cream and cheese in it, but lets face it, thats what makes this food taste so good, and hey,its the weekend!
Before the blender: After:
I also fancied doing a bit of baking, so turned to Feast by Nigella Lawson, which is a brilliant cook book and includes feasts of all kinds, from Passover to Christmas, Eid to Valentines Day. Now I know I’m a little late for a romantic Valentines’ feast, and that it would be a pretty depressing Valentines’ feast with just me present, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t make heart shaped biscuits now does it? Get rid of the prejudice and make heart shaped biscuits for yourself, because what Eva/Beyonce/Cheryl says is true: you’re worth it. These heart shaped biscuits were Custard Cream Hearts and it does seem silly making a biscuit that you can get in every food shop across the land, and are already well loved by pretty much everyone. But shops don’t sell them in heart shapes, so in your face Tesco! It helps that the home made version is much better than the bought ones, the cream sandwich filling is sweet, buttery and full of delicious custard flavour and the biscuit itself is like a thin shortbread with a good crunch. The cookie cutter I had was a bit bigger than recommended so I got fewer biscuits than planned, and a few of the hearts look a bit wonky thanks to the dough being a bit too sticky. You could say they are broken hearts. Very bad joke, I do apologise. Apart from that though, they are really easy to make and taste good enough to justify not just taking a detour down the biscuit aisle. To make these more romantic maybe I’ll send a picture of them to the boyfriend, but there’s no doubt that by the time he’s back these will all be gone. You can see now why I have to go to the gym, I can’t sacrifice good food so work out I must. It seems to be working, and tomorrow is D-Day, the deadline for being able to fit back into my pre-Florida jeans. I haven’t tried them on since Christmas, so keep your fingers crossed for me tomorrow!