Here in Milan, we’re having a pseudo-spring. It’s 21°C, sunny and judging by the resident birds on my balcony, the animals are full of the joys of it too. The cherry blossom is nearly over, and they’re having to fly in frozen mimosa for the Festa Della Donna on March 8th, and all this after only a few days of having to wear a winter coat. I think everyone feels a bit guilty about enjoying this weather, what with the tv news blaring on about climate change, and the uncertainty of whether winter’s going to come back and give us one last nip before a proper spring. It certainly does feel a bit weird to have skipped straight from autumn back to sunshine.
This one’s another winter warmer – judging by the sky today, it’ll probably be the last of the year. I didn’t cook it to warm us up, but because we needed a bit of TLC, and this is classic comfort food, for me at least. I know that it is not a good idea to associate food with psychological reward, or use it as an emotional crutch, or as comfort. But given that I do, together with most of the population, I think if you balance this with some food that actually does you good (soup rather than the proverbial Cadbury’s Milk Tray), then you’re not going to enter that cycle of feeling rubbish because you ate rubbish because you felt rubbish.
This is my soul food, simple though it is, and it is perfect with buttered wholegrain bread, preferably nubbly with seeds, and some sort of cheese, either grated on top, or in chunks to eat alongside. I used grated parmesan because it was around, but I longed for some cheddar, grated thickly on top and melting oozingly into the soup.
1 medium onion
5 medium leeks
4 medium potatoes
850ml vegetable stock
275ml full fat milk
Remove the outer leaves of the leeks, slice fairly finely and wash in a colander, carefully if they are particularly muddy. Peel the potatoes and cut into fat dice, and then chop the onion quite coarsely.
Melt about 50g butter in a pot, and add the vegetables. Cover and cook over a medium heat for around 20 minutes. Then add the stock and milk over a lower heat, and cook until the vegetables are soft. Blend and add seasoning.