Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Very happily lying on my bed, having an old lady rest with two dozing dogs, while an eighty-mile-an-hour gale howls and rattles outside the house. Downstairs, two small girls are sticking sequins onto pink and turquoise gauze butterflies. The baby is having a little sleep after eating all my pea soup for lunch. I am feeling slightly smug because I attempted to reproduce Jamie Oliver's polenta chips without the recipe (just working it out in my head after eating them) and managed to nail it. The children loved them.
So, very quickly, two recipes:
The special green soup, as requested:
This is the most terrible cheat, so you must not tell a soul, because I do no sweating of the onions, which is almost illegal in some parts of the country. But still, it seems to come out perfectly well.
The special green soup comes in all shapes and sizes, and I recommend that you play around with it as much as you want. I sometimes do courgettes and watercress, or lettuce and leeks, or rocket and garlic. This particular version was asparagus and spinach. I know asparagus is not in season, and I am usually rather puritan about that, but there it was, in my lovely cousin's fridge, needing eating up, so I decided to use it.
I roughly chopped an onion, a bunch of asparagus and a couple of garlic cloves, just covered them in chicken stock, and simmered for about ten to fifteen minutes. Everything needs to be soft but not boiled to death. If you have no chicken stock just use water and a tablespoon of Marigold bouillon powder. Then throw in half a bag of spinach, squish it down, and cook for a couple more minutes. Put it all in the blender, add a gloop of good extra virgin olive oil, and a handful of parsley if you feel like it, and blend it until smooth. If it is a little thick, add some more water. Check for seasoning, and that is it. It is the healthiest, most delicious thing, and in this house on Friday it was enjoyed by humans ranging from twenty months to forty two years. (The baby loved it so much she actually drank it through a straw.)
And for the polenta:
I'm sure this is not Jamie Oliver's correct recipe, but I had these chips at his restaurant in Bath on Tuesday and they were so good I tried to reproduce them. I made up some instant polenta, adding lots of butter and olive oil to get flavour and texture, and scattering over a little Marigold because I use it in practically everything. Then I put it in a wide flat dish and let it set. Then I chopped it into fat squares, smooshed them about in some olive oil, dredged them in instant polenta to get an extra crispy outside, and fried them for about ten minutes, turning often, in very hot sunflower and olive oil mixed. You can scatter them with a bit of sea salt and some fried rosemary leaves, or just serve them plain. Again: enjoyed by all the ages, which made me very happy.
Meanwhile, as I indulge in happy family life, Sarah has been out there on the coal face, because someone has to keep writing The Newspaper of Record. This week, she has done a perfectly inspired article on pants, which made me laugh out loud.