mutton soup and fancy beetroot

I think of my Mum and of strikes when I think of mutton soup. She used to (probably still does) cook up veges and split peas with mutton bones in her big soup pot on rainy days. I also associate childhood soup with freezing works strikes. Dad worked at the local freezing works (abbatoir) for most of my childhood and for much of that time the freezing works was a staunch union with a penchant for striking. Sometimes they were six weeks long and during strikes, we had a lot of soup at home, no ice cream and us kids knew without being told not to ask for pocket money. I recall from a very young age the hushed silence as Mum and Dad watched the news each night at six to find out whether he would be back at work the next day or not. It wasn't a sign of worker empowerment to be dependent on the news like that, or not that I could see through six year old eyes. My parents were not union enthusiasts at all. I've gone on to be a lefty, but I retain a suspicion of union execs, particularly at the moment. Last month I even began to suspect that I had anarchist leanings, a word which sounds more radical than I imagine myself to be.

So, the soup. I make it differently to Mum, but retain a preference for ingredients mostly pulled from the garden. I made mutton stock last week (mutton bones, carrots, onions, thyme, bay leaves, celery, cooked with water in the slow cooker for about 20 hours) and the gelatinous, wobbly jar has looked out at me each time I opened the fridge since. Last night I sauteed carrots, onions, garlic and pumpkin in a pot and then added the mutton stock to bring it to 3/4 full. Once that was bubbling, I added chopped cavolo nero kale and quinoa. While it simmered, I made cheese scones to go with it. When our preferred bought bread is $4.50 per loaf, anything which provides a home made alternative is a saving worth making. The scones are from the Edmonds book (where ever else?). Once I have mixed the dough and lightly floured the cooking tray, I put the dough straight on the tray and press it out, cut into pieces and spread them out directly on the cooking surface. If you run a messy kitchen like me, this is very useful when space is short. I also think the minimisation of handling encourages a soft lightness of the finished product.

So the soup and scones were yummy and I was pleased to have staved off bought fish and chips for another night. Yup, we are on Project-no-bought-food again. All in honour of Project-pay-all-our-bills, you understand.

The night before was out for dinner with/at friends'. My contribution was a salad. There will be no supermarket lettuce for us in the heat of summer if I can help it, let alone winter. All those nasty sprays held together by some limp green stuff. So I made beetroot salad. Four medium sized beetroots (in season now) peeled and grated. Then add a slug of olive oil, the juice of one lime (yup, in season) and some black pepper. Mix well. Add a peeled and partitioned mandarin (also in season now) and a chopped up packet of feta cheese. Mix these in gently. Feta is a preserved product, so it doesn't matter if it is in season. Certainly the goat cheesery down the road from us has closed for winter already.


Sharonnz said…
The EPMU mustn't have had the same penchant for striking back in the day;-) I certainly remember plenty of tirades about his workplace from my union rep father tho;-)

I've been using Sophie Gray's Really Good Cheese Scones recipe with our soups:
2 cups self-raising flour
2 cups grated cheese
1 1/4 cups milk
Preheat oven to 200deg. Combine, mix well - dough will be quite wet. Shape, sprinkle with extra cheese and bake for 10 mins. Yummo!!
Sharon I have so many thoughts and questions and a wish to get to chat with you in person! I bet your Dad was right about his workplace. As a rep he would also have been coalface working? Which is great and quite different from the divorced from grass roots reality attitudes which can come from national executives. The PPTA is driving me nuts in this respect at the moment.

I'm going to try your scone recipe - I bet they taste divine with that much cheese! I've been leaning more towards recipes designed for plain flour as it is considerably cheaper to buy than self raising.

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