Saturday, 12 October 2013

Sweet Corn Chowder

Last pretty much sums me up at the moment. Time, days, life is just whizzing by. It is so easy to get over whelmed at how time flies as you dash about doing one thing after another, after another, after another, barely having a second to think. Every decision I make seems instantaneous in consequence. This is very disconcerting for someone who likes to plan ahead. My diary is my Bible.

Having said that, it might come as a surprise that in amongst the whirlwind of everyday life I find quiet solace in possibly the most hectic, traumatising (for some) place on earth – the London Underground.

The London Underground is like another world. You are distanced from the wider world, unreachable from the needy demands of cyberspace and commitments to friends, family and work. That time spent on the tube is yours. You cannot give that time to anyone on the phone or anyone in an email or in reply to their text message. You are free from the inundation of news feeds and time lines.

Admittedly noisy, rushing people on the Underground can cause just as much disruption to quiet mindfulness as news feeds and text messages. However this can be blocked out by escapism through music. And you will rarely find me without headphones firmly plugged in whilst travelling on the Underground.

It is here, in the routine forty minutes of my day, twice a day, that I take my solace. Whether I am jammed between a pole and a suitcase or sitting comfortably surrounded by angry, envious glares wishing that the next stop is mine so that they can have a seat; either way those forty minutes belong to me. And on days like the days I’ve been having these past couple of weeks those forty minutes consist mainly of forty winks!

The minute I get off the Underground to head home, my mind is racing and phone buzzing once again. But at the forefront of all these demands is always food. Thinking “need fresh food now” and “can’t be bothered to go to the shops, what have we got at home?” is basically how I came up with this recipe. Store cupboard ingredients plus really simple, fresh execution equals delicious, nutritious, wholesome dinner – a.k.a Sweet Corn Chowder.

Sweet Corn Chowder

Sweet Corn Chowder (serves 4)
1 white onion, chopped finely
5 small potatoes, peeled (optional) and chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 cups sweet corn (approx 250g), frozen or fresh or canned, it doesn't matter
1 hot chilli, split down the middle
1 handful coriander, chopped finely
1 tsp stock (or 1 stock cube)
3 cups milk
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp oil
A dash of cream – if you’re feeling luxurious

1) Sweat the onions gently on a low heat. Add a pinch of salt as they cook to stop them burning. Pop the bay leaves in with the onions. Let them cook together for 2 minutes.

Sweating onions with bay leaves

2) Next add the potatoes and stir into the onions briefly. Now mix the stock into 1 cup of water, pour this over the onion and potatoes. The water should just cover the potatoes. Add the chilli. (The reason I have only split the chilli down the middle and not chopped it is so that it only imparts a mild warming background flavour rather than full on heat. This soup is all about the subtleties.) Put the lid on and let the potatoes cook until soft. This will take about 7 minutes.

3) Add three cups of milk. Let this come to the boil. (Watch that the milk doesn’t boil over. Trust me scrubbing boiled milk off your cooker is not fun or easy.)

Sweet corn

4) Now take about half your sweet corn and blitz with a ladle full of soup. This can be used to thicken the soup. Add the rest of the frozen corn into the soup whole. And mix in the blitzed mixture. (FYI: I prefer frozen sweet corn to canned and fresh over both these options. But for convenience sake I try and use frozen when I can. But use whatever is convenient for you and preferred by your own taste buds of course.)

The finished soup!

5) The final flourish is a handful of chopped coriander. Serve alongside some crusty bread of choice – you’ll want something that will soak up those gorgeous flavours. That’s it - simple, delicious soup!

// Click here to PRINT RECIPE //

Until next time...