Once upon a time, far too long ago in fact, I was treated to a wonderful dinner at the congenial home of heyoka and gnarl. It was, to try and completely avoid hyperbole, a difficult occasion to cater. Leaving aside the stress inherent in pleasing the varied palettes of a group of 10 (which are considerable), what heyoka intrepidly undertook to feed was a party that included a vegetarian, a vegan, the vegan's partner who eats only meat, a food phobic, and assorted deadly allergies to eggs, wheat, mushrooms, nuts and coconut. If I left anyone out I apologise; as the only fully functioning foody at the table I find it difficult to keep all the dietary requirements straight in my head. It is only the fact that I love these people so unreservedly that keeps me coming back to Edinburgh, because let me tell you, getting a decent meal there is a nightmare.

Anyway. Dinner kicked off with a wonderful, creamy, sweet, fresh and fragrant courgette soup which I have been pining for ever since. Seeing as we are in the height of courgette season, I recently gave up on getting h to reveal its mysteries and had a crack at reverse engineering it, thus:

I took...

  • 50gr butter
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 300gr courgettes, cubed
  • 300gr frozen peas
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 litre hot chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and pepper

Then I...

  1. Melted the butter in a large stockpot and sweated the onion on a low heat, uncovered, for about 10-12 minutes, then added the courgettes and let them cook gently for another 5 minutes or so.

  2. Then I added the peas, stirred them in well and waited for them to un-freeze, at which point I also threw in the thyme sprigs and the stock. I raised the heat to medium-high and brought the liquid up to a simmer.

  3. After seasoning the soup and having a first taste, I lowered the heat again and left it well alone for the better part of an hour, simmering gently to itself. Warning: at this stage, it was not looking remotely preposessing.

  4. When the 45 minutes to an hour is up, your soup is basically ready - you just need to liquidise it if you can, which I do recommend: the texture of boiled courgette is not my idea of culinary heaven, and you also don't get the vibrant green colour from the whole chunks.

  5. Take the soup off the heat first, and let it cool just a little. Then stir in the chopped mint. Now, if you have one of those hand-held liquidisers then that is most convenient - you don't need to pour the soup out of the pot and back in again - but a blender or even a food processor (which is what I used) are just as effective.

  6. To serve immediately, reheat the soup again very gently and dish up into deep bowls with hunks of fresh bread. Yum yum yummitty yumyum.

Obviously, my version was not vegan. To achieve that just change the butter to olive oil and the stock to vegetable. Also, heyoka informs me that adding nutmeg and enriching the soup with Parmesan just before serving makes it even better.

Green soup is delicious. There are many varieties, however. I offer here my very favorite which is neither politically correct, vegetarian or otherwise adjusted. It's a lovely, tasty soup is what it is, and if one has any argument with me about its "appropriateness," I suggest that before the vegetarian/vegan challenge me they fast for at least seven days, at which time even the most strict vegan will be ready to chew his or her arm off.

  • One package Manischewitz brand (or other) dried split-pea soup mix (the type that in the U.S. is contained in an elongated cellophane wrapper, the size of a large penis
  • One cube Knorr-Swiss brand chicken bouillon
  • A cup of Prosciutto de Parma or other fine ham, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • Two very large, sweet (preferably Vidalia onions), skinned and chopped coarsely
  • A half-cup of flat Italian parsley, picked of stems and washed thoroughly
  • Sweet butter or olive oil in enough volume to sauté the onion
  • One Bay Leaf
  • Two lovely sweet carrots, scrubbed hard but leaving the skin intact for purposes of nutrition, cut into one-inch pieces
  • A parsnip, peeled when raw and cut into chunks
  • A bunch of asparagus, with the bottoms removed by snapping  so one avoids the tough areas, and cutting into one-inch pieces, yields two cups
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Four more tablespoons sweet butter
  • One cup heavy "whipping" cream; plus a half-cup if to be served cold

Combine all the ingredients up to, but not including the asparagus in a large soup-pot. Wilt the onions and soften the carrots and parsnips in the oil or butter. Add two cups of water and allow to simmer until reduced by half. If the soup appears too thick or dry, add a little water or white wine and the asparagus, cooking for seven minutes.

Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Do your best to remove the Bay leaf. Place the ingredients, a little more than a cup at a time, in a blender or food processor, place the cover on top and start the motor on the "high" setting. Puree well. If using a food processor, pass the result through a coarse sieve, as there are bound to be bits of ham and strings of Asparagus skin in the result no matter how long you allow the soup to process in the machine.

Return the puree to the pot and heat ever so gently, adding the heavy cream rapidly and melting the butter just enough to get a decent emulsion. Serve at once with a garnish of steamed fresh sweet peas removed from the pod. It's perfectly alright to add a bit more heavy cream once one has chilled this soup for consumption in the hot summer months.

NOTE: when buying the Prosciutto, go to the pork counter and purchase a very large shin bone, which you'll suggest that vegetarians place vigorously in their rectums should they not want any of this soup.
ALSO: thoroughly enjoy the thrashings, choking and pleas for help from those diners who keep Kosher or who're lactose intolerant or otherwise allergic to the ingredients. And yes, both the Manischewitz soup mix and Knorr bouillon cubes contain the horrible Monosodium Glutamate

Or, how to make gazpacho without accidentally killing myself aka "Green Gazpacho of DOOM"

I'll admit it. I've become nearly impossible to feed. About two years ago, I developed an allergy to tomatoes. I love tomatoes but they want to kill me. Also, I gave up meat about a year ago, somewhat accidentally. Add on to all this the fact that I love food. So as you can see, I'm basically screwed unless I search high and low and develop my own recipes.

Summer has arrived in Ohio. There are fresh cucumbers and tomatoes galore. It's hot, humid and miserable to cook in. So of course I've been craving gazpacho for weeks now. I've been tracking down and trying various recipes in an effort to find one that I like. Here is the result:


  • 2 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed, minced or destroyed some other way
  • 4-6 ice cubes


  1. Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately.

The soup will be creamy, cool and delicious. Serve with some chilled wine or even a clean crisp beer. Guaranteed to be vegan-friendly and tomato-free.

Forthright and with vigor, one should not just leave the taste of soups alone to meander in and out of style. Rightwith the chef, should prepare their meal to be timeless and consistent so as to echo down that wanton corridor called time banging at every door.

Belike, the chef shall feel intimidated to act on his own chutzpah and therefore sometimes needs a recipe to make his gall rise to the occasion.

Hence the author offers that lovely posterity be the cause of existence at the time of the quantitative great stew list.

Maximum ingredients via ordered bullets (Large Soup Investment or LSI):

Rightwise, collect Boiling Water in a pan roughly larger than an ox yolk and prepare the Hydrogen Sulfide in your Friend and/or Relative. Do this by forcing the Hydrogen Sulfide down your Friend and/or Relative’s throat. Wait twenty minutes or until death. Then collect Hydrogen Sulfide with a potato peeler.

Verily, keep the Hydrogen Sulfide in a medium sauce pan until divagation turns you to your task.

Inconvertibly add the Burning Pitch and Chlorella Algae to the Boiling Water in one swift motion. The Boiling Water should turn as foul black as the blood around a snakebite. Mightily stir the water to maintain the thickness add Easy Cheese around the seventh cycle and let sit for upwards of twenty minutes.

Redound to your Hydrogen Sulfide and check it for fleas. Be supportive permanently if they exist. If not bind your time until they do.

Vexingly return after upwards of twenty minutes to add Unimproved Vegetable Matter and the Calcium Carbonate to the Boiling Water. The Boiling Water will instantaneously turn a chalky white creating Pure White Flour Substitute or PWFS. Set PWFS aside.

Masterfully disjoin the Salt Pan and mix in the Chopped Animal. Pour on the VDAEplus and recur in the regularly established order all the ingredients so that you are prepared for the next phase of your endeavor.

Faintly mix the Salt Pan, PWFS, and Hydrogen Sulfide in the medium sauce pan until smooth.

Eftsoons serves ten reasonably health humans and twelve kine. Does not serve unhealthy humans or kine above the number twenty.

Puissantly enjoy.

If you read I still write you love letters then you know why I wanted my rendezvous with Troy to be special. I didn’t think I’d ever be alone with him again. This will be the last day we have together and I want our last few hours to be something I'll always remember. Since I had some time to kill before the big day I went shopping. I was in my room for hours debating about what I should wear. Troy and I are going sailing. It’s something I love and he’s never been so the day should be interesting.

For those of you who are curious I didn’t lie about my plans. I told people I was going sailing I just never told them who I was spending the upcoming weekend with. Days have never passed so slowly before. I tried to keep myself busy by purchasing treats for my picnic basket. I spent quite a bit of time figuring out what I should serve Troy for our special picnic lunch. Troy didn't like the idea of cold cucumber soup but I told him I had a mystery ingredient in my soup. One that wasn’t in the recipe books. I kissed him when I saw him. I spread everything out on a linen tablecloth. I handed him a perfectly chilled glass of wine, I presented the soup with a flourish but all he did was grumble about how much garlic I had used.

Sitting across from Troy with nothing to say I started wondering what I had ever seen in him. Formerly we had talked endlessly about art and literature, music and romance. Today I was tired of listening to him whine about the weather and complain about the food. Things changed for the better once we were out on the water. Sailing always puts me in a good mood. There’s something about the crisp fresh air that I love. It’s being out in the sun and having the wind whip your hair around. The wine was really something too. I was drinking sangria straight from the container I had packed it in and for how much bitching Troy did about the soup he ate twice as much as I did.

Eventually all the food I had packed was gone. Troy and I settled down under the blanket I had packed. The wind had picked up while the sun made its way across the sky. Troy started shivering. I moved closer to him to try and warm him up. He told me he should have listened to me when I said it could be cold out on the lake. My smile faltered as I pulled the blanket tighter around us. We sat there for another couple of minutes. I was watching Troy, unconsciously trying to memorize his face. I noticed that Troy has the same lashes his sister Daisy does. They both have brightly colored eyes but their lashes are thin and sparse. Troy's face was pale under his summer tan. His hand was cold when I picked it up. The sun faded. Colors bled across the horizon. I was thinking, red at night, sailor’s delight, when Troy’s eyes opened up.

He asked me what the mystery ingredient in my soup was. I kissed his cool limp hand one final time. His eyes closed again. This wasn’t very nice of me but I couldn’t bear the idea of Troy and all those beautiful under-grad students. He didn’t have to leave. He could have taken a job at a private college here but Troy wouldn’t listen to reason so I poisoned him with soup, of the green variety.

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