I've just come across samphire Salicornia europaea, again. I found it in the supermarket, it's unusual but being bandied about a bit by the TV chef brigade. Now I don't know if my memory is tripping me up, it has a habit of doing that, but I remember reading a book when I was a teenager, maybe only 12. It was called When Marnie was There, by Joan G Robinson. I don't remember many books from my childhood, I didn't read that much, preferring to disappear into my imagination only coming out for half a Mars Bar and glass of milk, or to paint. I suppose those that I did read burnt an impression on my memory. Having said that, I don't remember much about this book either other than there was Marnie, a lonely girl visiting Norfolk and she met another girl (who was maybe in her dreams) and they became friends. It was about loneliness, friendship and growing up. It was set at the seaside in Norfolk (which is beautiful and dreamy anyway), there was a long, golden beach and there was samphire. I'd like to read it again.
As I was saying, I discovered some samphire in Morrison's and bought it. It sat in my fridge for a day-what to do with it? Last night, I decided to make samphire, mozzarella and roasted tomato salad. I roasted some cherry tomatoes in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar and a crunch or two of pepper (no salt as samphire tastes of the sea). Toms only take about 15 mins at 180ish and when they were ready I tore up some buffalo mozzarella and threw it in with a couple of handfuls of samphire and another drizzle of olive oil. It only had a few mins in the oven, (3-5) before we took it out and shared it between us-mopping up the juice with crusty bread. Lovely, the salty slightly crunchy samphire with the rich squishy tomatoes and melting cheese tasted good.
Afterwards I tried to find When Marnie was There on the internet, ala,s it is out of print. I was disappointed until I discovered my original copy tucked away on a bookshelf, I said my memory had a habit of tripping me up.
I don't like ready meals. If I were to put anything in Room 101 it would be ready meals. With one exception, baked beans. Baked beans are food brilliance, they're nutritious, good for breakfast, lunch and tea (when desperate). I lived on baked beans and toast as a student.
But, I prefer to know what I'm eating so I usually prepare a meal from raw ingredients, it doesn't need to be time consuming or expensive. As a family, one of our all time favourites is soup. You can't go wrong, tasty, healthy, nutritious, easy.
Top of my list is my own take on tomato soup. Now I love tomatoes, I'm glad we can call them a fruit because without doubt, I would rather eat a punnet of tomatoes than anything else. Not, the horrid tasteless ones you get in the supermarket, but the nuggets of juicy sweetness that you can't often buy but have to grow yourself, like; 'Ailsa Craig' an old, reliable variety dead easy to get hold of and my dad swore by it, or; ' Mortgage Lifter' according to Simpson's seeds, 'famous for flavour'; or how about 'Flamme' as recommended to me by the folks at Westdean Gardens.
Here is my recipe, let's call it Keddie's easy Tomato Soup watch out for the surprise.
Keddie's easy Tomato Soup,
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