Ice skating before the ice rink closes for the season. Yes, you read that right. Frozen water, and I went on it with thin metal blades strapped to my feet. I’m not fickle. I’m flexible (although you wouldn’t say so if you saw me on said ice).
I’ll be honest. That wasn’t actually a deadline I was planning to meet. When I invited my cousin for a skating lesson with my man and me, I was picturing the two of them on the ice, and me sitting on the side line. Wrapped in a warm coat, feet snug in Ugg boots. Alas. My man was more than happy to sign on as an ice skating teacher, but only if I went out on the ice with them. And if I agreed to a trial run with just the two of us. Cue me on the ice last Sunday, doing a good impression of Pinocchio before he turns into a real boy.
The second deadline I met went down more smoothly, I dare say. I made a pot of the quintessential winter soup: green peas with sausage. Split pea soup has always intimidated me a bit. It seems like everyone has an opinion on it- it should be thin, or so thick that you can stand a spoon in it. It should have bacon, smoked sausages or even whole pork legs. Plus, have you ever seen a bowl? Not the most attractive thing in the world, is it?
But a recipe by Nigella Lawson made me see the error of my fears. There is a picture in Feast of the most delicious looking yellow mud (her word, not mine), with chunks of sausage. Just looking at it made me feel warmer and I couldn’t wait to make Yellow Split Pea Soup with Frankfurters. Unfortunately, the store only had green split peas and it turned into regular old green sludge. Tasty green sludge, though, so I’m not complaining.
If you hurry, I think you can just squeeze out a pot, too, before spring arrives. Or if we’re really unlucky, you’ll have time for seventeen batches. But I hear winter is packing its bags, so we’re good. I hope.
Nigella Lawson’ Yellow Split Pea Soup with Frankfurters
1 clove garlic
1 stick of celery
2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 twiggles of mace
500 gr split peas
1.25–1.5 litres chicken stock
2 bay leaves
approx. 8 frankfurters
Peel the onion, carrot and garlic and cut the onion and carrot into rough chunks. Pulse them in a mini food chopper until finely chopped.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. When warm, add the chopped vegetables from the processor and cook for 5–10 minutes, until soft but not brown.
Add the split peas and stir till they’re mixed with the vegetables and all have a glossy layer. Put the mace in a tea egg and hang it in the pot. Pour over 1.25 litres of stock and add the bay leaves, then bring to the boil. Cover, turn down the heat and cook for about an hour until everything is tender, adding more stock as needed.
Chop the frankfurters into thick slices and add them to the soup when it is fully cooked. Warm through for a couple of minutes and serve hot.