Jesurgislac’s Journal

March 24, 2009

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Sweet Potato and Leek Soup

Almost too obvious to blog about, but not quite, because it really is that good.

Six leeks: wash thoroughly, remove all the bits you wouldn’t want to eat.
Two medium sweet potatoes.
Three medium white potatoes.
Two vegie stock cubes.
Herbs: I used rosemary and sage.

sweet potatoes

Chop the leeks, scrub and prepare the potatoes for their awful doom. Put the leeks in the slow cooker. Cut the potatoes up into small pieces. Add the herbs (about a half teaspoon of each) and crumble in the stock cubes. Cover theubgredients with water, put on high for half an hour and then low for eight to twelve hours, liquidise with a stick blender, and enjoy.

(Obviously one could make this without a slow cooker, in which case I would probably cook the sweet potatoes, leeks, and white potatoes in butter or olive oil, with the herbs, until the sweet potatoes were beginning to be tender, before I added the vegie stock.)

I think of leek-and-potato soup as one of the basic soups – it’s fine, you make it a lot when leeks are in season, eat it with maybe some cheesy bread or with sour cream stirred in. But the addition of sweet potato makes the soup richer, gives the flavour more depth: it turns a good soup into a great one.

The colour of the soup becomes a murky green rather than a clean green-and-white or plain green, but who cares when it’s tasty?

October 21, 2008

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Diet merchants lie

Suppose you are a woman aged 40, 5 foot 8 inches tall, and you weigh 165 pounds. Your BMI is 25.9 (which NHS direct will make a point of telling you is overweight for your height, but which most people would say is a perfectly normal size.)

Your basal metabolic rate – the absolute minimum you need to stay alive if you do nothing all day but lie on the couch and watch TV – is 1500 calories a day. If you eat less than your basal metabolic rate requires, you starve. If you starve, you lose weight. When you quit starving, you gain weight.

A BBC news story which reports that women who were put on starvation diets of 1200-1500 calories a day also reports that most of them failed to stick to the diet and failed to keep losing weight. In a sane universe, this ought to be as much news as “dog bites man”.

Yet over and over again, you will see diet merchants recommending diet “calorie allowances” which are far too little to stay alive on. Over and over again, you hear the message from the media: fat is bad. Overweight is bad. Control your calories. Go on a diet. Lose 10lbs in 2 weeks!

Friends go on the Atkins diet on a spectacularly regular basis – suddenly they won’t eat a slice of bread or a baked potato, while tucking into bacon and eggs. They lose weight. They go off the Atkins diet. (No one should stay on that diet long-term: it can have serious health risks.) And they gain weight: reliably as clockwork. That’s how diets work: that’s what keeps people coming back for more.


August 12, 2008

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Cake or DEATH!

From Church of England Fundamentals, Eddie Izzard, mostly NSFW on account of he swears a lot:

“Cake or death?” That’s a pretty easy question. Anyone could answer that.
“Cake or death?”
“Eh, cake please.”
“Very well! Give him cake!”
“Oh, thanks very much. It’s very nice.”
“You! Cake or death?”
“Uh, cake for me, too, please.”
“Very well! Give him cake, too! We’re gonna run out of cake at this rate. You! Cake or death?”
“Uh, death, please. No, cake! Cake! Cake, sorry. Sorry…”
“You said death first, uh-uh, death first!”
“Well, I meant cake!”
“Oh, all right. You’re lucky I’m Church of England!”

So, cake or death? (more…)

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