I bought some jeans in Marks and Spencers today. I also bought a jumper. And I really liked them both. I almost skipped to the counter to pay for them, so gleeful was I in my purchase. The jumper was chunky and warm with stripes and the colour red, two of my favourite things. The jeans were Mum jeans and I felt very excited that I would be able to get them on without dislodging my internal organs or needing to lay on the bed and breathe in, thinking thin thoughts. I put my hand up and admit I do not want to partake in lunges in the morning just to ease jeans over my ample bottom. Does anyone else have to do this? Or is it just me.
Whilst we’re on the ample bottom subject, I’m thinking of trying that 5:2 diet. You know the one, where you eat normally 5 days a week and starve yourself on just 500 calories (600 for men, lucky souls) for the other two days. Sounds hellish but I’ve always liked a challenge. I don’t really like it when diets are sensible, because I always figure if I’ve eaten like a hippo to get to the point where I need to lose weight, then the process should be a little bit unenjoyable, to stop me pigging out again. I tried that dreadful cayenne pepper and lemon juice diet once. I still find it very hard to use cayenne pepper in any recipe. It makes me gag.
One ‘diet’ that I am happy to revisit again and again is one where soup is involved. Apparently it keeps you fuller for longer. Well it does if you eat 4 portions though I’m not sure that’s the idea. This soup is not a low calorie soup, but it is very nice indeed. And easy peasy to make.
Leek, potato and ham soup
Makes a large vat of soup, enough to feed 8 people easily with normal sized portions. You could make it in these quantities and freeze half or just halve the recipe.
- 75g salted butter
- 2 leeks
- 2 tbsp Marigold bouillon
- 4 pints cold water
- 4 medium potatoes, finely chopped
- 4 slices thick, proper ham
- Black pepper
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and chop the leeks into square type shapes about half a centimetre long. Pop them into the butter and stir. Allow them to sweat on a very low heat for about 10 minutes. Keep stirring as you don’t want them to catch and brown. Browned leeks are a very bad thing in my opinion. Acrid and chewy. Eww. Add the Marigold powder or a veggie stock cube and stir again until all dissolved and bubbling in the buttery leeky mixture.
Add 4 pints of cold water and then turn the heat up. In the meantime peel and finely chop 4 medium potatoes and add those to the soup mixture. Bring to the boil. Then simmer until the potato starts to break up. Add the ham, ripped into pieces for a rustic look. Then use a potato masher to mash down any larger lumps of potato – this also gives the soup a certain starchy thickness that is all important. Now you can add a splash of milk here if you like. My very glamourous costume designer friend does and she has dressed Brad Pitt and Ange (as she calls her) so she’s very much at the cutting edge of all things soupy and celebrity. I don’t add milk if I’m adding ham. I just don’t.
Taste the soup and then season to taste. I don’t add salt as the Bouillon powder if salty tasting, as is the ham. But it’s very much your call. Enjoy with light rye bread or spelt bread (mmmm) or my husband’s fave walnut bread.