I watched Wonder Woman last week, and like so many other people I talked to, my favourite part was the beginning, on the island of Themyscira. The fighting sequences were incredible, and man, those are some pretty horses, but I wish they’d showed us what the Amazons like to eat. A bunch of women living on an island, cut off from the rest of the world, would have definitely eaten a lot of pizza and fries, me thinks. Maybe pizza topped with fries?
Speaking of pizza, there’s now a place down the road from where I live that sells pizza by the slice!!! I feel like I’m back in New York! Obviously the pizza tastes nothing like a New York slice, but it’s still fun to pretend.
I have a few balls of frozen pizza dough in my freezer, that have been sitting there for a good three months, and every time I open my freezer to reach for some ice, I hear them crying to be saved. Before I left for Kerala, I made a pizza to eat by myself. It’s been raining, so pizza + rain + Mad Men (my new obsession — I know, I know, late to the party like always), is what dreams are made of. I like my pizza simple — mum’s homemade marinara that I always have on hand, mozzarella or more likely bocconcini (because that’s what my local grocery store stocks), and basil from the only plant I own!
I haven't perfected the base — I think I'm baking it wrong — but I’m happy to take one for the team and eat as many pizzas as I need to, to get it right. Meanwhile, I have (yet) another soup recipe! I always wonder if people refer to me as That Soup Lady behind my back. But there are worse things to be, I think.
This one started life as Marcella Hazan’s cannellini soup, which is really a testament to using technique to draw out flavours from the most simple ingredients. It’s just sautéd garlic and beans, simmered in stock, pureed and eaten. And obsessed about, until you can eat it again for the next meal.
When I was in Kerala last, however, we used black eyed beans instead, and in a stroke of genius, mum added a splash of coconut milk at the end. It tastes completely different from the Macella Hazan version, obviously, but it still has that quality of one ingredient, propped up by a few flavourings, really standing tall and shining through.
The only thing about this is that the beans need to be soaked overnight, besides which it would work perfectly as an emergency meal (when you’ve watched too many episodes of Mad Men and not planned for dinner, perhaps?) I suppose having a few tins of beans in your pantry, for such occasions, is not a bad idea.
Black Eyed Beans Soup with Coconut Milk
3/4 cup black eyed beans, soaked overnight
5 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cup chicken/vegetable stock
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp olive oil
Olive oil, for serving
Finely chopped parsley, for serving
Pressure cook the beans in enough water to cover the beans and cook for 7 minutes on a medium high flame, or until the beans are soft and squishy.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, in a medium-sized pot, bring the beans to a boil in double the amount of water. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the beans are soft and squishy. Drain the water and allow to cool.
In a large pot, heat the oil on medium flame. Sauté the garlic till very lightly brown. Add the beans and continue to sauté for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (not too aggressively, if you’re using stock that is salted). Puree either the whole mixture or 3/4th depending on how chunky you want the soup to be.
Add stock to the pureed beans and bring to a boil. Add more stock if you’d like to thin it out further. Turn the heat down and add the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and a fistful of parsley.