Thursday, 16 July 2009

Bogging Soup

Who remembers - I think I'm only speaking to my Scottish readers here (both of them) - the anti-smoking campaign 10-15 years ago of cartoon characters on another planet addicted to sucking blue sticks? They went about their daily lives sucking the sticks with blue smudges around their mouths with a voice over describing their addiction to blue stick sucking until it got to a scene of cartoon alien girls in a bar all sucking away until the voice over falls silent and one of the girls says in a broad west of Scotland accent "Wait a minute - THIS IS BOGGING!"

(I should explain for the benefit of my non-Scottish readers that "bogging" is a Scottish word meaning unpleasant or distasteful.)

Anyway, one thing Carol's been having a lot of success with in the garden this year is spinach:-

This particular type of spinach is called "perpetual spinach" meaning no matter how many leaves you rip off the plant, it keeps regenerating and grows new leaves: it must be genetically modified or something.

Anyway, it's got to the point where Carol's having to think up new spinach recipes just to use the stuff up. This despite the syndrome that, if you bring a cubic metre of spinach into the same room as a pan of boiling water, it's reduced to a teaspoonful of green gunk 10 seconds later. It's rather as I imagine a galaxy that gets too close to a black hole and gets sucked in and reduced to something the size of a Big Mac (which I always find a convenient simile for something that's really small). If there are any quantum physicists out there who doubt the ability of a black hole to swallow a medium sized universe, they should try the armful of spinach and pan of boiling water trick.

It was the same with tomatoes last year and when Carol asked what we should do with all this spinach, I replied the same as last year in the face of the tomato glut - make soup. (I gather there's no such thing as sun-dried spinach.) So soup it was: it's basically a potato and leek recipe but with the addition of spinach. And despite spinach's magical vanishing properties, a good few hectolitres of the stuff was produced - most of it being consigned to the freezer in bags:-

Oh now, just seeing that picture, do I NOT like things like "soup 'n' sauce" - it's a bit too close to 70s hairdressing salons called "Kutz 'n' Kurlz" for my taste. It sets my teeth on edge.

But I digress because today we sat down to spinach soup for lunch. A couple of mouthfuls were sampled - mmmhh, maybe a bit more salt - yes - some pepper perhaps? uh-huh - until we eventually looked at each other and said with one voice:-


Now Carol does not normally mess up soup so I think the recipes editor of Hello! mag must have been rushing off early on a Friday afternoon or something. Either that or it is just not possible to make a nice spinach soup (as it is to make a nice spinach and ham lasagne, for e.g.). But the fact is we've got about a cubic metre of "bogging spinach soup" (as it's now been christened) in the freezer downstairs and in these recessionary times there's no question of just chucking it out. C's plan is to lace future portions with that very salty Swiss bouillon stuff in an attempt to get rid of that sickly sweet spinach taste. That sounds like a plan to me.


Kathie said...

My family's authentic Flores watercress soup adapts nicely to prodigious quantities of spinach; just add a little extra ground black or white pepper to compensate for spinach's comparative mildness. I already posted the recipe on your blog on 6 April 2007 at:
(8th comment down the page)
Spinach also might work well as a substitute in the Blender Watercress Sauce recipe I also posted there (same page, 10th comment), or in pesto.

A huge bed of steamed spinach seasoned with ground nutmeg turns entrées into Florentine-style -- the northern Italian city, not your Azorean island. Serve it as we do, topped with a pile of cooked fettuccine Alfredo, or cooked cheese ravioli with marinara sauce.

Or, for omnivores, serve under sautéed boneless skinless chicken scallops (breasts or thighs, pounded thin) or leftover sliced roast turkey, thin-sliced veal or fileted fish, with a white wine-and-lemon sauce: flour the meat lightly before frying in clarified butter in a non-corrosive sauté pan; after the meat is done, remove it from pan onto a platter, add wine to the pan and stir till thickened (the dregs will thicken your sauce a bit), then quickly stir in fresh lemon juice and return the meat to the pan for a moment to reheat in the sauce.

I've never grown "perpetual" spinach, so don't know whether it's tender and sweet enough to be eaten raw in spinach or mixed-green salads, although the Longstanding Bloomsdale we grow, when young, is well-suited to this purpose as well. For all-spinach salad, we use either oil/vinegar or blue-cheese dressing over the greens. Sliced mushrooms are popular in spinach salad, as is chopped hard-boiled egg; meat-eaters often add chopped well-cooked bacon (cooked diced linguiça or chouriço might also suffice).

Bom apetito!

Kathie said...

P.S. If you go down to Lajes for the big festa this weekend, please say "Olá" from me to Gabriela, Aida and Onésimo! I look forward to seeing some photos of the event posted on your blog, so I can enjoy it vicariously. Obrigada.

Sooper Trooper said...

The word "crisp" (unless contained in a bag) gets on my goat!

Sarah said...

I've found that bogging soup, when mixed with a small quantity of powdered adhesive, makes rather good wallpaper paste. And depending on whether you have the food mixer set to "pulse" or "pulverise" saves buying expensive anaglypta - something to consider, as you point out, in these recessionary times.

PS Anaglypta - now there's a nice word!

Mary said...

This is all very Tom and Barbara - or rather today's equivalent, eco-friendly. I like the look of the vegetable bouillon. I have no recollection at all of the blue stick thing, though I did like one that had a girl sashaying along with her hair flowing in the breeze, etc., like a perfume ad, then it said, "She's wearing Ashtre" (acute accent on the e).

Anonymous said...

Now what you are really looking for here is a link to the Blue Sticks public information film, so that all of your readers (save for the two Scots, who already have anything that the Health Education Board of Scotland ever produced etched upon their cerebellum, if not engrained in their behaviour) can understand the "Bogging" reference in context. I had thought that it had slipped down the back of the great sofa of history, but here it is. It is just as good as I remember.

Neil King said...

Anonymous (David?), thanks for the link to the Bogging ad. Odd you should say because my reaction was that it was NOT as good as I remembered - I recall her saying it in a louder, more shrieky voice. Ho hum ...

Anonymous said...

It really is just as I remember. See how you get on with the Public Information films at the National Film Archive. The one of the pair of you sitting on the cliffs waiting for Linda's to open is particularly evocative.

Oh, and yes it is David. (It is a bit scary to find that my prose style and the trivial nature of my knowledge seems to be sufficiently characteristic to enable me to be identified from amongst the mass of all of your potential correspondents on the worldwide interweb. It is lucky that I am not a spy. I would last about as long as one of Captain Kirk's girlfriends.)

Neil King said...

It was the "save for" which gave your profession away ...