…or so goes the line from Monty Python’s achingly funny and irreverent Life of Brian.
And let it be known that I’m quite happy to give it up for cheesemakers everywhere. I can’t really imagine life without cheese (and I’m sure that Grilled Cheese Shane would agree with me on that). I’ve even dabbled in rudimentary cheesemaking myself, at least to the extent of making homemade Indian cheese or paneer a few times.
Paneer with toasted cumin seeds - just add curry
Well, scallions, actually.
At least that’s what we always called them at home.
In fact, as far as I can recall, I only started to become aware of the alternative name “spring onion” when I got into far eastern cookery, where it was hardly possible to flick through a cookbook without stumbling across a clutch of recipes that involved spring onions in some shape or form. And even though, technically, the terms scallion and spring onion (and green onion, come to that) all referred to exactly the same vegetable, somehow spring onion seemed a bit fancy-pants to me. Scallions were down-home. Something you’d put in a potato salad. Spring onions were exotic and always turned up with their friends ginger and garlic in spicy Asian dishes. As for green onions – well that was just the name of a tune from the 60’s by Booker T. and the MGs…
This soup is full o' beans
The time of year it is and the way I’m feeling says soup. Plain and simple. It’s cold without and cold within (cold and muzzy within my head, that is). My first thought was carrot and ginger soup (which is a favourite) but then I drifted towards something more substantial, and that lead me to think of this black bean recipe, which I adore. It’s one of those recipes that doesn’t have a long or complicated list of ingredients, but those that are featured just seem to combine to great effect. In its original format, the recipe is for a thick stew but, with a little more liquid added, it makes for a really hearty, chunky soup with a nice chili kick. The black beans used are those that are popular in Latin American dishes (sometimes called black turtle beans), as opposed to the (typically fermented) black soy beans found in Asian dishes, which are a different beast entirely. In any case, the soup version of this dish is exactly what I felt like today. That and a couple of hot whiskeys. Good for what ails ya.