Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Cooking the Books, Decluttering and Chitting













This week I have been sorting out the bookshelves and have actually put some cookery books aside to take to the charity shop.  I had to be really strict with myself as I am a terrible hoarder and always keep things 'just in case I need them'  which of course I never do.  So far I have three carrier bags of old books and c.d.s, pretty good for me.  I will have to take them soon before I change my mind.  The cookery books I have left will now have to prove their worth.  It's funny how some of us are hoarders while others get rid of things without a moments thought.

This weeks cooking the books challenge had me looking for a recipe to use up 3 huge onions from the veg box.  I decided on a Jamie Oliver recipe, it is really easy and cheap.
















The Ultimate Onion Soup

Serves 4

1.1kg/2 1/2lb onion peeled and sliced
a handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked (I used dried)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 bay leaf
olive oil
a good knob of butter
1.3 litres/ 2 1/2 pints stock
salt and pepper
1 baguette or ciabatta
115g/4 oz Gruyere, or other melting cheese.


In a thick bottomed non-stick pan, slowly fry all the onions with the thyme, garlic and bay leaf in a good drizzle of olive oil and the butter.  Place a lid on the pan and slowly cook them for about 15 mins, without colouring, stirring occasionally so the onions don't catch on the bottom.  The slower you can cook them the better.  Then remove the lid, turn up the heat and colour the onions until they are light golden.  Add the stock, turn down and simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve with the cheese on toast, my gluten free bread is a sad replacement for ciabatta, but it still tasted good, warming and filling.  Perfect winter food.





I also picked up some seed potatoes, usually I buy them when they are ready to plant but this year I thought I would have a go at chitting my own.  I didn't have enough egg boxes so I used seed trays. I'm hoping this is suitable.  I'm trying to be a 'proper' gardener, but don't really have much of an idea of what to do, so any tips would be appreciated.  They are 1st earlies Annabelle and Foremost.

Chickpea xx


28 comments:

  1. To chit or not to chit, that is the question. Chitting is fine if you can guarantee that the soil temperature is not going to drop after you have planted the potatoes, if it does it will check the plants, chitting will also cut down the length of time the potatoes will take to mature. Plant the potatoes when you have strong green shoots about half an inch to one inch long, leave about three shoots per plant, make sure you don't damage the shoots when you plant them. As soon as the plants are a foot high, earth up, continue earthing up each time the plant put on another 6inch or so of growth, the more you earth up the more potatoes you will have. have you got the bed ready for them with plenty of manure?, potatoes are heavy feeders

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  2. Hi Anne, thanks for the advice, I only have a little veg patch so I will be planting them in bags again this year leaving the veg patch free for other veg. I am deciding what to plant at the moment. What sort of compost is best for them in the bags? I used an all purpose before. I had loads of lovely potatoes last year but more by luck than judgement.

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    1. If you had good potatoes last year stick with the same type of compost maybe add some seaweed meal to the compost. I am the not to chit brigade, Simon on the other hand chits, with earlies I think it probably gives you a head start as long as you don't get a dip in temperature but in Cornwall that's doubtful anyway.

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  3. Love onion soup. Sorry no advice for potatoes have not grown any.
    Rosezeeta.

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  4. I have far too many cookbooks but find them very hard to get rid of. I have that Jamie Oliver book too but have never made that soup so I might have to do something about that. It sounds perfect for this weather.

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  5. The onion soup sounds wonderful and as Gina says, just right for this weather. I am sure that I have told you before, I am a hoarder chucker, I hoard stuff up and then have a good throw out! Nary a second glance, it feels wonderful! xx

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  6. I am still waiting for my seed potatoes to arrive, they will chit fine in trays, when you come to plant you can rub off the smaller weaker chits. mine this year will be grown in the poly tunnel.
    I have a vast collection of cookery books but wont part with any of them :-)

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  7. Onion soup is one of my favourite foods, so delicious. I should probably have a cookery book amnesty, I have too many that are collecting dust.

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  8. Cookbooks are a weakness of mine. I tried to have a rule of one out for every one in, but failed quite quickly! I passed mine on to the Food tech department in my old place of work - they were very gratefully received! I love onion soup and haven't made it for ages - I may have to give it a go this weekend! I have always managed to chit my potatoes in a seed tray, but I was reading somewhere this week that they don't even need chitting?!

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    Replies
    1. I read that somewhere as well, but thought I'd do it just in case. Fingers crossed they will be fine.

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  9. You are ahead of me, hoping to buy my seed potatoes this Friday, seed boxes will perfectly well. Love the idea of the Onion soup, I have the same book but have not made this. May just give this a go in the next week. Thanks for the share x

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  10. I have farrrr too many cook books but can't part with them. Yum to the onion soup!

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    Replies
    1. I have just taken one back out of the charity bag! I'm so weak :)

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  11. I was ruthless with my cookbooks. Unless I have used them recently out they went.
    It is time to start my garden, In fact I am late for carrots, radishes, and my Japanese Veggies.
    I try not to plant much but I so enjoy it.

    cheers, parsnip

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  12. Onion soup is so good and yours looks lovely. Personally I have never bothered chitting potatoes, just stuck them in the soil. Will be interested to see if you get a higher yield xxxx

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    Replies
    1. I think I may try your way as well Fran.

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  13. Cook books belong to hubby, so I can't remove any, but I have thinned out my craft books!

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  14. I can't get rid of books. Especially gardening or cooking ones. I am the same with brass and copper ornaments and farm machinery.

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  15. I have an obscene amount of books, they are taking over the house so some have to go to make room for new ones.

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  16. I've made the same recipe from that book in the past & I'd forgotten all about it. We've made the mushroom soup one too which was really nice.

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    Replies
    1. I will have to try the mushroom next :)

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  17. When I first started reading your blog and saw the Jamie Oliver cookbook under the paragraph I was afraid it was going to the charity shop. Gasp! :-)

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    1. I'm so glad he's not going to the charity shop. :-)

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  18. Hmmmmm... potatoes and onion soup... how about, instead of topping the soup with bread, you topped it with a potato pancake and melted the cheese over that?

    No gluten, and if you served it quickly, you'd probably still have some crispiness.

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  19. I had never heard of a potato pancake so looked it up. It is similar to rostis which I happened to make this week with potato, carrot and parsnip. Good idea, I will try that next time.

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  20. Hi,Thought of you this morning when mad Baz and me were up the Beacon,what a gorgeous dry sunny clear day,wonderful views all over.Love home made soup can't beat it,I love sweet potato,butternut quash,carrot I could go on and on lol.Have a good day.

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