My regular readers must by now know that I love mushrooms. A lot. So imagine my joy when I spotted a delicious looking mushroom tart recipe over at 80 breakfast last weekend. I printed out the recipe, studied it a bit, tweaked it a bit, deciding to use a mixture of cottage cheese and blue cheese instead of ricotta. On a way back from work on Monday, I diligently stocked up on mushrooms, three types of cheese (cottage and blue cheese for the filling, Cheddar cheese for the pastry), and butter. Little did I know that the constant sneezing I took for innocent cold at the time would turn into a feverish flu. On Tuesday I could only muster up enough energy to pop into the kitchen every now and then to boil the kettle, make two slices of garlicky cheese bread for lunch, and mix an avocado with some cottage cheese for my TV dinner session of 3 food programmes.
This was a bad idea. It started all well enough with the MasterChef Goes Large programme, which I quite enjoy watching (especially the contestants who decide to 'experiment' with an unfamiliar novelty dish in the final round!?!?) , and it ended with another enjoyable episode of The Hairy Bikers cooking in various parts of Romania. However, between the two programmes I saw Dr Gillian McKeith doing her miracles on another oversized victim. This was the end of my mushroom tart plan. Even though I admire her mission - and results, she somewhat terrifies me with her stern glare and strict dieting and exercise (sorry, lifestyle) regime.
Suddenly I got scared about the effects a triple-cheesed mushroom quiche will have on me before the quickly approaching beach season and on my health in general. Just thinking about the tart made me see my arteries clogging and cholesterol-levels rocketing. I quickly put the tart recipe aside (sorry, Joey) and reached for WeightWatchers' pure points 2 cookbook hidden in the far corner of my bookshelf. The book fits rather uneasily between the inspiring and mouthwatering tomes of Nigella, Nigel, Tessa, Claudia, Jamie and others, but I had picked it up at the local supermarket few years ago because it cost next to nothing, and now I badly needed it.
Flipping through pages and pages of various 0-point soups and stews, I decided to make a mushroom and thyme soup. I had all the ingredients on hand, and I prepared this soup to try to nurture myself back into life over the course of Wednesday (un-weightwatching it first).
Mushroom and thyme soup
Adapted from pure points 2 by Becky Johnson for WeightWatchers
1 large onion, sliced
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
250 grams fresh field mushrooms, sliced
a small glass of white wine
2 Tbsp of lemon thyme leaves
500 ml Marigold vegetable stock
Heat the oil in a large (non-stick) saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently on medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until onion has softened.
Increase the heat and add the mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking.
Add the wine and cook for few minutes, until the alcohol has evaporated.
Reduce the heat, add the thyme and vegetable stock. Season with salt & pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes.
Pureé with a hand-held blender or in a food processor.
Serve garnished with extra thyme leaves.
The soup was actually very nice and easy, with a strong earthy mushroom flavour. If you like, you can add some blue cheese to the soup for extra flavour, or a dollop of cream to make it smoother. Still being aware that Dr Gillian McKeith is watching (she is Scottish, so she might just lurk around the corner), I did none of that of course. Because you can never know...