The film watching took up all our evenings – the full list was Groundhog Day, The King’s Speech, Star Wars 4, Paddington and The Wizard of Oz. We skipped on Star Wars (the first film, of course) because we were setting the questions and we could do that from memory, checking the internet for accuracy.
Turned out we were the only ones with time enough on our hands to watch every film and, as a result, we won this week as well. But we passed host duty on to Ronan. Wink should have had it as she came second, but she waived the opportunity. Don’t know yet what subjects or theme Ro will go for.
I made asparagus soup the other day which is, again, one of those dishes that uses up leftovers and is practically free. When I have a bunch of asparagus, I snap off the stalk to remove the tough bit, but I don’t throw it away. Often, it snaps above the inedible part and, if that’s the case, I trim it and save the trimming separately. I also trim the edible stalks so they’re the same length and will fit in the pan. All those trimmings are put in one bowl, the stalk ends into another and then I cook the asparagus in a little water, which I also save. Next day, I boil the tough ends until they are mashable with a potato masher, strain them and, with the cooking water from last night, I have my stock. If I have lots of asparagus, I’ll also have saved another spear or two, for the sake of the tips, but it doesn’t matter.
I chop a small onion and cook it in butter, or could use olive oil. I took part of a big onion from the minestrone I was making, so I didn’t even use an extra onion this time. I added a teaspoon of flour and cooked it to make an oniony roux and then slowly added the asparagus stock. Then the finely sliced trimmings, cooked it until they were tender, then added a teaspoon of crème frâiche because that’s what I had – cream or milk or whatever is fine and if you’re vegan then I think almond milk would be lovely – and that was that. It is more complicated to describe than to do.
The trimmings and cooking water are also great for risotto. At present, asparagus is nearly £3 a bunch, though the bunches were bigger this week than last. I don’t care what they cost. They are ground-intensive to grow, as they only crop for a few weeks, and labour-intensive to cut, and are then bunched. I am happy to pay for the work involved.
The other day, a local nurseryman put up on Facebook the suggestion that he should put together a box of houseplants for a given sum, and he’d deliver them. I thought that was a very good idea. So I asked for a £40 boxful plus a French tarragon plant, and he arrived at half past eight this morning with a lovely selection. I don’t really need houseplants at this time of the year, but that’s not the point. I want him to stay in business and feel he’s brought his customers some pleasure too. Nice man didn’t even text me the payment details until after delivery, though he doesn’t know me.