Sunday, April 27, 2014

~Question: When is a soup not a soup?~

 Answer:  When I make it!  
I am not a very good cook....I can follow a recipe quite well, and cakes and desserts I find are easier, but sometimes I just cant make something how it is supposed to be.  Take soup...well not just any soup but Split Pea soup just like my mum and dad used to make. 
 I grew up watching my mum and dad make soup together.  Dad always made the broth...either ham bones or beef bones or a combo of the two.  He hand picked the bones he would use, and once selection was made out would come the huge pot and in it would go water and the bones.  Dad would boil these for an more, no less and then leave them to sit in the pot overnight to allow any fats to rise for skimming in the morning.  While dad did this mum would sit the split peas to soak in a big bowl ready for morning.
Dad would be up bright and early checking on his broth....carefully skimming the top first then removing the bones, but only after any, and all fat was gone.  He would then get out all the vegies for mum to do the next part...these were carrots, onion, swede, turnip, and celery, plus salt and pepper.  Mum would then set about peeling and grating (by hand) all of the vegies and pop them in the pot.  The split peas where then rinsed and in the pot they would go and pepper and salt added to the mix.  The huge pot would be set to boil and then left to simmer for the next four hours whilst being stirred and checked periodically.  Nothing says home more like homemade soup.....and the taste was divine.
The smell of Split Pea soup returns me to those days like nothing else can.  Now getting back to my is with these memories locked in place, I knew I could make my own version.  I gathered all the ingredients and set about making it just like mum and dad did all those years ago.  The smell was as it should be but my soup looked like a bit pot of coloured water.  Grabbing a spoon for the taste test, I carefully blew on it until it cooled enough for me to not burn my mouth.  Well burning my mouth was the least of my tasted like.....water.....water with a hint of vegies.  I have had flavoured waters that have more taste than my soup.  There was no body...just water.    Nothing could describe my let down.  
On that note I hit Google looking for answers, and would you believe when I typed in "How to fix watery Split Pea Soup?" I found a forum.....imagine my relief that many others before me had the same result.  I eagerly searched for the miracle that was going to save my soup.  Instead I got options....boil off the water said one....and add potatoes said another........pour it out and start again said someone else.  So I decided to start with the first and set the pot to boil with the lid off........2 hours later and it still looked like my watery version.  Hubby suggested the potato but I couldnt bring myself to do it....afterall it wouldn't be the family recipe if I did that.  So I opted for the last suggestion and tipped the whole lot out...and went to bed.
Next morning I awoke with resolve and set off for the supermarket to grab all the ingredient to start again afresh, only this time with less water and more vegies.  So while it is not as perfect as that of my parents I finally conquered the right mix ratio of vegies to water and made my own Split Pea Soup, that now has the right texture and smells just as good and tastes coming home.

PS The photo is not mine because that would mean I actually remembered to take some...this one I found on google