Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Ducks, Old Iron and Soup for a Cold Day.

Huge elms tower over a path that slopes down to the lake, which is fringed by well-kept lawns as far as the eye can see. It's a nice spot. People have picnics here in the vast shade of the old trees and watch the ducks. The ducks live at the base of the cliffs on the far side of the lake and in the island in the middle of it.

We went down to feed the ducks, not that they need it. Everyone feeds them. It's just something you have to do with children. For us, it's just a fifteen minute walk. William laughs and flaps his arms as the ducks wing in from all directions, preparing to land with outstretched feet and then hit the water with a creaming wake coming to a curving stop like miniature Catalina seaplanes.

When we got to the lake, there was an exhibition of public art on the lawn. Some of the pieces were okay and some were hideous. One of the pieces contained more rusty scrap iron than Simsmetal in Footscray. All it needed to look like a genuine scrap metal yard and not a sculpture was a junkyard dog to guard it. Three feet above the ground, it had pointy horizontal shards of iron that could take an eye out and there it was, inviting climbers, not ten feet from the children's swings.

There are really only three schools of thought about art. The first is All Art is Good, Just Because. The second is There is Good Art and Bad Art but I'm Not Sure Which is Which; and the third school is I Know What I Like and That's Complete Crap.

I've just made up a fourth: if it's capable of taking out your children's eyes and some idiot bureaucrat has stuck it in a public park right next to the playground, it's not art.

We went home and made a pot of steaming potato and leek soup, just because it was another cold day.

Potato and Leek Soup.

Chop a couple of leeks finely. Wash them to get out any grit. Fry them in some butter for a few minutes. Fry a couple of rashers of bacon cut into quarter inch squares. Toss the cooked bacon in with the leeks along with three or four peeled and cubed potatoes - half inch cubes - and enough chicken stock to cover. Salt and pepper. Herbs? Whatever you like. Parsley usually, but I had some dill left over so in that went.

Cook until potatoes are well done but not breaking up. You can puree but I like it chunky. Discrete pieces.

In the bowls, nice big Denby of England ones, I decorated the soup with way too much grated cheddar cheese on top. On a cold day, it's sublime. I might just have another bowl. With more cheese.


Pamela said...

Unfortunately the weather has changed here and it's not really soup weather anymore but I will try this when it gets cold again. Thanks for sharing!

The Food Whore said...

Everything is better with cheese.

Sunny and 70 degrees here today.

It is getting to be that time when the hot soups are replaced with cold ones.

I can just taste the gazpacho with creme fraiche.