Apples and Soup

Since diagnosing my Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and tracking down the causes, I’ve had to seriously rethink breakfast. For most of my life, this has consisted of either a bowl or five of cereal, or a slice or five of toast. Which probably has a lot to do with why I got IBS in the first place. So now that I know that wheat is the ultimate killer, and other cereals aren’t a great deal better, I’ve been forced to think about alternatives.

Initially I would drink fruit smoothies – bung a banana in the liquidiser with whatever fruit I could muster up, maybe a bit of yoghurt or soya milk, anything else I felt like putting in. And more recently, just a simple fruit salad, perhaps with some dates or dried apricots added, a dollop of yoghurt (preferably sheep’s) and some mint leaves. But with the coming of winter, I’ve got a little bored of that too (especially all that chopping).

Now that I’m eating meat, bacon and eggs is an option, although I usually only have it when I’m out – something about the cooking smells makes me feel queasy first thing in the morning (and for most of the rest of the day, as the extractor fan in our kitchen isn’t working). But mostly at the moment I’m eating apple. I’ve got Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food and it has some wonderful, very quick apple recipes. Pan fried apple and cheese salad – fry some apple slices and walnuts in butter, tip them on top of a few salad leaves, crumble some cheese (cheshire or somesuch) on top, then deglaze the pan with lemon juice to make a dressing. Apple with orange sauce – zest and juice an orange, fry some apple slices in butter, remove the apple and cook a little brown sugar in the butter until it melts, then add the orange zest, juice and some cream. Cook until it bubbles then pour over the apples. Steamed apples with butter sauce – boil some apple juice (actually, I’ve been using cranberry) and steam apple halves over it for a few minutes, then whisk some butter into the juice to make a sauce.

Something I’m also getting into is soup – I’ve always considered it too boring and/or unfilling, except when I actually eat the stuff and I realise for a short while how long I’ve always been, then I forget again and avoid it like the plague. Apart from the fact that it’s bloody handy for using up whatever’s in the fridge, and it’s a fairly safe way of being inventive with food, it’s nice coming up with new combinations and trying things out. So recently we’ve had a green vegetable soup courtesy of Marlene Spieler (again) and an artichoke heart soup (ditto), and I’ve also been touring the local cafés sampling what they have to offer (it’s filling, cheap, and again interesting to see what variety is out there). Vittles’ mushroom soup was excellent, if a little bit salty. Hercule’s leek and potato wasn’t quite so good, and also rather salty. I’ve just been checking my recipe books for weird and wonderful soup recipes, I have millions, and of course there’s always the Soup Lady. I see an interesting future in soups.