The coming of summer brings the switch from vegetable to salad bags at my food co-op, which neatly solves the mildly vexing question of what-to-do-with-another-swede, but brings a surfeit of celery in its place. If I am really unlucky, poor vegetable management and utilisation can mean that for a week or two, I have quantities of both celery and swede sitting at the bottom of the fridge looking at me reproachfully.
I have nothing against either vegetable, but neither particularly inspire me and I am never going to enjoy munching on a stick of raw celery, which would neatly solve one of the problems. My hatred of food waste ensures that I feel duty bound to use them somehow, although I often leave them at the co-op, to be added to the soup pot for the homeless lunches the church holds every weekend.
Celery works very well in soup, its character is tamed and mellowed by cooking. I would even go as far as to say that a good celery soup is quite delicious. Coupled with my hatred of food waste, I also get a small frisson of delight whenever I use a packet, jar or bottle of something up. I actually burst* into a rendition of “Another one bites the dust” in the shower one morning when I managed to finish up not only my shower gel, but shampoo and conditioner as well. (I really am aware that I need to get out more!)
With this soup, I used an entire head of celery, the remnants of two bags of lentils, the last Knorr vegetable stock pot, the frozen contents of the cheese rind pot and all the little broken bits left at the bottom of a bag of frozen broccoli. I was so satisfied with this that I renamed the soup Birdie Song soup, and sang* along “With a little bit of this and a little bit of that …”
Recipe: “Birdie Song” – Celery & Lentil Soup
Good glug olive oil
1 head celery – roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic – peeled and roughly chopped
8oz / 200g / 1 cup mixed lentils
Handful of cheese rinds – I keep a pot for them in the freezer
Green vegetables – I used a handful of frozen broccoli
Salt and pepper to taste
Fry the celery and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes in a large saucepan, add all the other ingredients, stir and then cover with boiling water.
Simmer with the lid on for about 30 mins until the lentils are soft. Blitz in the liquidiser or with a stick blender, seasoning to taste and adding more water if needed.
*The author would like to stress at this point that she has no musical ability whatsoever, and only attempts to burst into song when she has the flat to herself to save the sanity of those around her.