|Yotam Ottolenghi's hot and sour |
However, what do you do for a loss of appetite when nothing seems very attractive, not even my favourite chilli noodles? It hasn't been that I have been ill, just suffering a sense of food ennui . . . which is frankly a bit disconcerting. For several weeks, every time I found myself in the kitchen, unless I was making myself a pot of tea, I wondered what on earth I am doing there. Everything felt a little out-of-kilter. I am finding it quite difficult to explain how I was feeling, since I wasn't ill. It was just as if a switch had been flicked inside my brain - the bit that operated "food" was in the "off" position. A bit like blowing a fuse really.
Fortunately a few days I ago I awoke with a raging appetite and was restored to normal good humour with a rather indulgent sausage sandwich. But I can't live off sausage sandwiches, sadly, and felt in desperate need of some vegetables and perhaps a hint of chilli.
Months ago I had booked marked a hot and sour mushroom soup recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi, one of my favourite food writers, cook and, dare I say it, TV chef. Everything that lovely chap touches seems to be food gold; his recipes always sound and look delicious. (They always work too, which sadly isn't always the case with some television cooks . . .)
While Ottolenghi tends to focus on dishes with a strong Mediterranean and middle eastern influence, he is not hide-bound by this and has over the years published some rather lovely south east Asian ones. This hot and sour soup hit all the right buttons for me - mushrooms for a start, limes, chilli, lemongrass and star anise. I was also intrigued by his use of prunes in the braising liquid, which I have to admit was a first for me.
|my little 7 Spot ladybird|
The recipe is described as "an intoxicatingly heady take on the classic Asian soup: central heating for body and soul" and I can only agree. It has certainly made my taste buds rather happy and put a bit of a spring in my step!
And because this recipe is awash with lovely lemongrass and fresh coriander, I thought it would make a good entry into Karen at Lavender and Lovage's Herbs on Saturday blog challenge, It is a beautifully fragrant blog challenge and I always look forward to seeing all the other entries. (Of course, I would be lying if I said I didn't want to win - a gorgeous book on cooking with edible flowers. Fingers crossed!)