Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Cheating with split peas

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

There is nothing lovely to look at outside any more.  The stalactites of ice have fallen from the eaves and the snow is melting and reforming into iced slush.  A thaw of a kind has come, but out in the fields, the snow is still up to the sheep's elbows.  It all looks rather forlorn and grubby.  Because of the wind chill, it feels colder than ever. And there is terrible news from Haiti.

On days like this, my only answer is to make soup. Sometimes I love to get intricate, to chop and mix ingredients and generally play around.  I did not quite have the heart for that today, so I made the simplest kind of thing that would have purists fainting away with horror.

I took some yellow split peas, a pinch of saffron, a tablespoon of Marigold stock powder, a scatter of cumin, two chopped dried chillies, and a dash of curry powder (I know that I am supposed to roast and grind my own spices, so you will have to forgive that), covered the lot in water, brought to a low simmer and cooked for forty minutes.  You may need to add some more water, as the peas expand mightily.  You end up with a lovely thick article, half way between a soup and a dhal.  I know it should have onions and garlic and other crucial ingredients, but if you feel like cheating, this is a perfect way to do it.  It does not look pretty, but it is rich and spicy and feels with each spoonful as if it is doing good.

Wednesday January 13th 017


  1. God that looks gorgeous ...on my to try list thanks for sharing

  2. Ah I bought some split peas last week and I was waiting to see if I could forage a ham hock or parma ham end from market or supermarket before making a luscious pea and ham soup. In Germany we used to have it sprinkled with a little vinegar that was very mild and kind of like a wine vinegar but not quite as acidic but I can't find it here. But your idea sounds a little more immediately gratifying. I might make that this week and pea/ham next week.

  3. there is indeed something very restorative and peaceful about cooking hearty food. I feel very unable to help Haiti except with money and there is always the concern of how quickly that will help. We are very lucky in these relatively temperate countries that treat us so well.

  4. Wilderness - so kind of you to say it LOOKS nice. My amateurish food photography always gives me chagrin. Things that look so pretty on the plate end up looking awful in my picture. I have newfound respect for the people who take the photos for the food magazines.

    Jo - You are a very serious cook, of the kind who gets the ham hock. So I am delighted you would allow me my level of naughtiness. I do think if you have the time that the addition of sweated onion and garlic would enhance the thing, but it really was surprisingly good for such a cheat.

    Rose - know both the feeling of luck and helplessness. It is always when I turn to soup for comfort. Slightly strange, I suppose, but better than hitting the gin.


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