Saturday, May 29, 2010
Things have started to look up on the housing front. We are still no closer to knowing when—or if—we’ll be able to buy this house, but the owners, exasperated on our behalf at how long all the bureaucracy is taking (and perhaps on their own, since the house is sitting empty and costing them money), have offered to rent it to us as an interim measure, and then cancel the lease if and when there is a mortgage to replace it. So, barring any further unforeseen hitches, we should be in the house in the next 10 days.
I still can’t quite believe it’s real, that I’m not going to be stuck in this limbo for the rest of my life. It’s not a perfect solution—I don’t feel comfortable about implementing my plans to dig up the garden as a renter, for example—but it could still change, and anyway is bound to be an improvement.
Spicy tomato soup with shrimp
This soup was also a Plan B, from an unexpected source. Last Friday, I was planning on our usual pizza-and-Caesar-salad menu, and expecting lots of leftovers with DP away for a couple of days. On a trip to the supermarket, Miss B turned from contemplating the contents of the fish case and said, “Mum, can we have some shrimp?”
Somewhat surprised, I said, “Sure—this would be a great time to have some, since Dad’s away and he doesn’t really like it.”
She pondered some more as I continued shopping and then said, “Can we have some red soup with shrimp in it and goldfish crackers on top?”
Your wish is my command, Miss B, recipe developer in training.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
Couple of pinches of cayenne pepper
12 shrimp, cleaned
¼ cup white wine*
2-3 cups chicken stock**
½-1 cup crushed canned tomatoes or similar***
salt & pepper
goldfish crackers, for topping
Heat olive oil in a good-sized soup pot; add chopped vegetables and sauté over gentle heat until they are beginning to soften. Add cayenne and stir to completely distribute through the mixture.
Clear a space in the bottom of the pan and lay the shrimp in, one by one. Allow to cook on one side for 1-2 minutes or until pink, then turn and repeat on the other side. Remove shrimp from the pan and set aside for the time being.
Pour white wine into the pan and stir to combine. Scrape off anything that has stuck to the bottom of the pan so far. Add stock; cover until coming to the boil. Add tomatoes to desired redness and consistency and leave to heat through to simmering point, 10-15 minutes. Season to taste.
Put a few shrimp in the bottom of each soup bowl. Ladle over the soup, top with goldfish crackers, and serve immediately.
Serves 4 people as part of a meal.
* Substitute stock for this if desired.
** Substitute vegetarian stock, or even water if necessary. Use more or less depending upon how chunky you want the soup to be.
*** I used about ½ cup of the pizza sauce I’d defrosted; since it was so concentrated, I didn’t need much to get the color and flavor I was after.