And no i don't mean a pint of bitter or 3, i'm talking about the frugality of creating a home-made soup, the ultimate comfort food and a fair old meal for the meagre ingredients required. Not least also a solution to the old nerve grinder of attempting to feed an entire family from weaning baby to gammy grandad without having to empty the food cupboard and use every pan in the house.
Basically as long as you can make a good flavourful base you can't go too far wrong and the combinations of flavours are endless.
my favourite staple is a vegetable and pearl barley soup with simple homemade bread, so easy is it that i can write a few simple lines instead of an entire boresome recipe, here goes:
gently fry chopped onion, garlic, celery , carrot and leek, add water or veg stock, bay leaves and salt (leave seasoning until you have cooked the base soup and remove a small portion then for young babies)boil and then simmer til soft, blitz with a hand blender, return to heat and add barley, oregano, pepper and a pinch of cumin and simmer until barley is cooked. if you prefer creamy soups also add a touch of milk with the barley. And there you have it.
If you love home made bread try making a plain loaf with oil instead of butter, 1.5 kilo of bread flour, 1 sachet dried yeast, pinch of salt & sugar and around 4 tablespoons of oil, mix and add enough warm water to mix to a smooth dough, knead and leave in oiled tin in a warm place til doubled in size, splash with a little water to dampen surface and bake at 200 degrees for approx half an hour.
Otherwise sliced bread rubbed with the cut side of half a garlic clove and griddled/grilled is just as nice. For young children i griddle this bread then use a character cutter to make it a little more tempting, my son who refuses to eat anything remotely "runny" can unwittingly polish off a bowl of soup just by soaking it up with these little toasts.
As a traditional girl at heart ,but a working mum in reality, I love the knowledge that I made a wholesome meal for the family in ONE pan and in less than an hour AND not having to abandon my one handed attempt to eat dinner everytime someone throws a "i don't like it, its dissssgusssting" wobbly.......