I used to be a very picky eater. Very. Between the age of 9 and 14 I only ate unsweetened yoghurt with granola (but only if it wasn’t too crunchy), spinach (but only if it was finely chopped and no cream added), toast with a kind of carpaccio (but only very thin slices without obvious rims of fat or sinews), and toast with margarine and semi-sweet chocolate sprinkles. I gradually branched out, but by the time I was an adult, the list of things I simply wouldn’t eat was still a mile long.
Only after I moved out and learned how to cook for myself did I start to appreciate foods that I’d never in a million years thought I’d like.
Example: onions. Horrible slithery things. I could always tell them apart from the rest of the food, even in a stir-fry or a stew. Soup was even worse. They seemed to float to the surface, waiting until I put my spoon in, and then ambushing me so I could never have a spoonful of soup without an onion in it.
When I no longer had someone putting onions in my food and telling me I wasn’t allowed to pick them out, I could relax and start to experiment with onions. First by cutting them in really really really tiny pieces. TINY. Cutting up one small onion easily took me 30 minutes. But that was ok. Nobody was staring at me. Nobody was making me eat it. If I didn’t like it, I could throw it out. The pressure was off.
And I found I actually quite liked onions. When they weren’t slithery.
To honour non-slitheryness, here’s my first recipe. It’s a very simple lightly creamy soup with not too much going on, taste or texture wise.another thickening agent like cornstarch if you have no idea what beef ragout is.
- 1.5 litres (6 cups) of normal tap water
- enough powdered stock for 1.5 litres (6 cups) of stock (in my case, 3 tablets)
- 400 ml (1.5 cups) of beef ragout OR thickening slurry
- 0.5 courgette (zucchini)
- 2 litre (2 qt.) soup pan
If you are going to use a different thickening agent, prepare this first.
- Take the soup pan, add the water, and bring it to a boil.
- Dissolve the powdered stock in the boiling water. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat low and add the ragout or slurry.
- Stir a bit. Don’t worry about lumps. Keep it simmering on a low heat.
- Cut the courgette in slices (as in the picture above).
- Stack a couple of slices and cut them in strips. Repeat until all the slices are cut.
- Get the whisk and vigorously beat the soup to get rid of lumps.
If you’re clumsy like me, you might want to turn off the heat first and let the soup cool down a bit before whisking.
- Whisk some more. You really don’t want any lumps.
- Add the strips of courgette.
- Heat up the soup for 2 more minutes. The courgette should be warm but not cooked.
Serves about 4 people. Nice with toast or bread sticks.
The idea behind this soup is that the courgette stays firm instead of becoming gooey and slithery. Also, the strips are easy to see and don’t ambush your spoon. Courgette doesn’t have a very overwhelming taste and the texture is nice when it’s not cooked. At least in my opinion.