Sunday, 10 January 2010

And now for something completely different

Yesterday I made the most amazingly delicious soup I've ever tasted, so I thought I'd share the recipe with you, in case you ever have all these ingredients to hand.

First, you need to have a big family party. Serve stuffed olives and antipasti before the meal begins. When you finish the last few about a week later, keep the garlic-infused olive oil that's left in the bottom of the bowl.

The family party should also involve plenty of bread sauce, of which about half is left over, because you made the same amount that your mother always provides on Christmas Day, forgetting that half of that is used for the Boxing Day party and sundry other big family meals over the next few days. Cheat point - my bread sauce came out of a packet, so it's as simple to make as emptying the packet and stirring it into the milk as it heats up.

The family party should also involve a large ham boiled in Coca-cola - seriously, if you've never tried this, you must! All I did was put the ham in a large saucepan (technically, I think it's called gammon before you boil it - never did work that one out!), add a large onion cut in half and then pour in enough Coke to cover the top of the ham (or gammon). Bring to the boil - it is a bit difficult to tell when it's beginning to boil, because of course it fizzes from the moment you put it into the saucepan - and then simmer for the same amount of time you would if you were boiling it in water (this depends on the weight of the gammon. Or ham). When the ham is cooked, remove it from the saucepan and keep the liquid, with the onion still in it, in a large jug.

A week later, cut a large butternut squash into big chunks, drizzle the leftover olive oil from the stuffed olives and antipasti over it, and roast at gas mark 6 for about half an hour.

When the squash is ready, pour the remaining stock (about half of what you started with, as you've been using it in stews and sauces during the intervening week), complete with the by now pretty much shredded onion, into a saucepan. Put it over a medium to high heat and when it looks close to boiling, add the butternut squash and the leftover bread sauce. Reduce the heat a little so it doesn't boil and heat for a bit longer until everything is thoroughly warmed through.

When you get bored of waiting for it to be ready, take it off the heat and put the whole lot through a blender, then leave on the stove for later.

When your husband walks in several hours later, heat it up while he takes his wet boots off and freshens up a bit. Serve it with freshly-made bread, and I can guarantee that he'll be delighted that he just spent four hours taking five different trains through the snow and ice to get home to you.


  1. I'm seriously intrigued by your Coca-cola ham. It sounds crazy :) And now your making soup? Wild. But hey, it's making me hungry!

  2. I first saw it in a Coca-Cola cookbook that I bought for my BIL when I went on a tour of the Coca-Cola factory in Atlanta, but Nigella Lawson also has a recipe for it in one of her books, so it's not just my craziness.

    Seriously, try it - the ham comes out meltingly tender, and it's not much more insane than roasting it in honey or marmalade.

  3. What is bread sauce? I wondered this from an earlier entry, too. Soup sounds delicious though!

  4. WOw, that post was such an education for me... Things I learnt"
    a) that ham is called gammon before it is cooked
    b) that you can cook ham in coca cola!! wow, i would never have figured that out by myself
    c) that there is such a thing as bread sauce ... I'm with SOnja.. can you explain what it is?

    THanks! the soup sounded absolutely devine, wish I could come to your place for a bowl of it right now!