Winter is my time to hibernate – I stock up on red wine, do lots of slow cooking, spend my evenings drawing, reading and painting, and I avoid going out wherever I can. It’s a fantastic excuse to stay home and immerse myself in some serious self-indulgence, like buying new art materials online and cooking a hearty pot of delicious soup!
One of my favourites is Jamie Oliver’s real mushroom soup. It’s dead easy to make and totally delicious to eat. This is one pot, comfort food cooking at its best, and being a JO recipe, it’s just a glug of this and a knob of that and Robert’s your mother’s brother.
As with most stews and soups though, the depth of flavour depends on the quality of your stock, and there is nothing to beat a pot of down-to-earth, clean-out-your-fridge, home-made stock.
I make a batch every weekend and freeze it for future use. I hate waste, so keep all my veg trimmings sealed up in the fridge throughout the week. On the weekend I’ll buy a roast chicken from the shops, which gives me the day off from cooking, and I get to use the carcass in my stock. Onion, carrots, veg cuttings, chicken carcass, chorizo slices, bay leaf, herbs and spices get chucked into a pot with some white wine and water, and maybe a splash of Ponzu and Nomu chicken fond, and it just bubbles away slowly, doing its umami thing. No waste, no effort and a whole lot of flavour at the end.
Mushrooms are very much in season at the moment, and if you’re wondering how to make the most of this abundance, give Jamie’s recipe a go. Serve with crusty chunks of thickly buttered bread, or with grilled halloumi croutons if you’re avoiding the carbs.
The Mushroom Guru has tons of information on local foraging, but if you don’t know your Death Cap from your Porcini, you’d be better off visiting the Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill or Oz City Farm Market in Granger Bay for an impressive array of locally produced mushrooms.