Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Chilli, corn and red pepper chowder

So, I’ve done two whole blog posts on tumblr and I’ve not been offered a book deal yet. What’s up with that?  Well, after a bit of careful research (yes, I know most of you clever clogs would do this before getting started, but I was too busy writing lengthy anecdotes about Norovirus) it seems like all the cool cats of the food blogging world are on blogspot.  Tumblr is apparently more for pictures of cats with phallic facial markings and hipsters getting themselves into a pickle.   Which, whilst occupying most of my internet browsing, isn’t something I can contribute that much to; Norwich is still coming out the other side of nu rave and my cat won’t sit still long enough for me to draw anything inappropriate on his head.  Plus tumblr kept crashing and making me antsy. 

So here I am!  There’s no need to panic, I’ve transferred the aforementioned tumblr posts, because I know none of you would want to miss out on those gems. Publishers, you can contact me on overcockyswearyblogger@genericemailhost.com to make an offer for my first book.

Now, onto some food.  When I was toying with the idea of starting this blog, a lot of my initial reluctance came from the idea of having to photograph my meals before eating them.  Because generally, when there's a plate of food infront of me my main priority is necking it ASAP.  However, so far this hasn’t been a problem; the issue is more convincing myself to actually write up the posts afterwards.  I basically write the whole entry in my head whilst cooking, pretending I am an incredibly witty TV chef, then I sit down, eat my dinner and fall asleep in front of a Scandanavian crime drama.  As a result I have a selection to chose from to share with you today. 

And the winner is this chilli, corn and red pepper chowder.  Now, don’t ask me what the difference is between a soup and a chowder because I don’t bloody know, but for the purpose of alliteration this is a chowder.

Now I have a bit of a love hate relationship with soup (or chowder).  Back in 2007 I worked for a lovely establishment called The Tree Hugging Hippy Juice Bar.  On the back of absolutely no professional experience, a couple of sample dishes and pure blind faith they let me be their chef.  I say chef, though I was definitely more of a cook (with a kitchen space of approximately 3’x5’) but my boss kindly humoured me by saying ‘yes chef’ and ‘no chef’ so that I could believe I was very important.  It was a the loveliest place to work and it inspired me to go off and start my own business, The Cambridge Cupcake Company...but we’ll talk about that another day because cupcakes are a whole other story of love and hate.  

During my time at The THH, the main element of the menu was soups, and I was responsible for having two different ones on the menu each week.  As a result, I was making soups six days a week and then going home on a Sunday and creating a new soup for the following week.  Needless to say I developed extreme soup fatigue, which I am only just leaving behind, 5 years later.  The below is one from the repertoire of my THH days.  Happy times.

For 4 portions

1 onion, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 red peppers, roughly chopped

About 750g frozen sweetcorn

Vegetable or chicken stock (I can never be arsed to make my stock up properly, so I used two cubes and enough water to surround the veg, straight in the pot)

1 sliced red chilli/2tsp dried flakes (chilli is a very variable and personal thing so I’ll leave the final decision to your discretion – you can always add more when blending if it’s not hot enough for you, or add sliced fresh ones when serving). 

1 lime

A slosh of cream and a handful of cheese (optional).  

2 tbsp Oil for frying (I use olive or rapeseed)

Fry off the onion and pepper in the oil until softened, then add the garlic and chilli and fry for a further minute.  Add enough stock so that the veg is surrounded (not too much as you don’t want it to be too thin, you can always add more once blended to get the consistency you want).  Once it’s bubbled away for a bit, add the sweetcorn, then give it another 5 minutes of bubbling.  Then blend.  The skins of the corn can be a bit tough, so if you only have a hand blender you may also want to sieve it.

Once blended, add cream and lime juice to taste, then serve.  We had ours with a handful of grated cheddar, as we’re a bit cheese dependent, but if you’re boring and virtuous you can go without.  

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