At Southampton City Mission food bank, we’re lucky enough to work with local supermarkets, who provide us with fresh food for our clients, as well as tinned goods. While our supplies of the latter remain fairly predictable (soup, baked beans, tuna, pasta and the like), there’s no telling what fruit and veg will come our way on any given week or how much of it there will be. Carrots and potatoes are fairly standard, but the supermarkets also send along all kinds of gems: blueberries, avocadoes, asparagus, melon… even pak choi! Yesterday, however, we were slightly taken aback by the discovery of a small plastic bag of broccoli stalks!
I wasn’t quite sure whether to be pleased somebody had clearly had their anti-food waste hat on, or slightly put out that somebody had thought it acceptable to give us food that would normally get put in the bin. We didn’t feel it was appropriate to offer the stalks to the clients, so I ended up taking them home and following the success of my salad soup there seemed only one logical way forward: stalk soup! I would have loved to jazz up my soup with a bit of stilton, or walnut and feta (as suggested in my Abel & Cole cook book), but I didn’t have anything that lent itself to broccoli, so plain-ish broccoli it was. I say plain-ish because I did add in ginger and red chili, along with onion and garlic, a handful of spinach leaves I had left in the bag and, of course, some vegetable stock. This was my soup in progress:
The red chili turned out to be hotter than I anticipated, so after blending, I stirred in some lemon and natural yogurt to take away some of the kick. Here’s what the finished – very yummy tasting – soup looked like: Not bad for a bag of free broccoli stalks, eh?!