Yesterday I received the best news any university student on a (kind of) budget (it’s more of a loose financial guideline right now, I’m still young) could hope for. No, I didn’t find out that Student Finance England has made a mistake and owes me an extra £500, I didn’t find out that my overdraft limit as actually much larger than I thought, I didn’t win a year’s supply of vodka/cereal/milk/any other essentials. I had won the weekly raffle at the local fruit and veg shop.
7 apples, 10 oranges, 1 grapefruit, 2 pears, 1 pomegranate, 2 kiwis, 1 asian pear, 3 sweet potatoes, 1 lime, 1 pomelo (the first uni student ever to have a ‘pomelo’ in their household), 8 bananas, 1 coconut, 1 turnip, 1 parsnip, 1 butternut squash, 6 potatoes, 8 carrots, 6 onions, 2 leeks, a bunch of spring onions, 1 broccoli head, 6 plums, 3 tomatoes, 4 peppers, 7 sweet baby peppers, 4 chillies, 1 cucumber, 1 garlic bulb, 1 aubergine, 1 celery stalk, 2 portobello mushrooms, 1 iceberg lettuce, 2 courgettes and a bunch of grapes. The equivalent of £36 worth of produce from Tesco. No avocados, but I can’t have everything.
But there are all sorts of problems and anxieties that accompany a prize of this magnitude – it’s like winning the lottery and becoming a multimillionaire overnight. The many things that ran through my mind ran as follows:
- Holy shit how do I carry this home (solution is pictured below)
- How on earth am I going to fit all this produce into our 2m square kitchen, complete with a hotel room style mini-fridge
- How am I going to eat all of this before it goes off
- Do I share my produce with my housemates? The politics of the veg could get tricky
- What do I make first
I’ll skip to the last one since this is the main focus of my blog (but for the record, I got Alex to carry it home with me, I managed to fit it all in, I will eat a lot and fast, I will of course share providing no one takes the things I intend on using that day). I realised soon after unpacking that although I have one or two of nearly every fruit and vegetable known to man (it’s like a strange take on Noah’s Arc), I had no meat or fish whatsoever. So with the world’s supply of vegetables, I made the world’s sexiest pot noodle.
Kind of a cross between a Vietnamese pho and a Japanese miso soup, I used a base of sweet white miso paste, tamari and water, and infused this with fresh ginger, chilli, bashed lemongrass and garlic before adding my veg and ladling on top of some buckwheat noodles.
If I was making this again I might add some beansprouts, green beans, edemame and maybe some chicken or tofu to bulk it up a bit. Tonight though I wanted to make my prized vegetables the centre of my meal. Add anything you like to the broth really, the main thing is to make sure you buy sweet white miso for the base, and don’t let the broth come to boil – it should be hot enough to blanch the veg and soften the mushrooms, but not simmering.
Miso soup with buckwheat noodles – serves 2-3
1 garlic clove
1/2 thumb of ginger
1/2 red chilli (with or without seeds depending on your taste)
1 lemongrass stalk
1 portobello mushroom or a handful of shiitake/enoki/any mushrooms
1/2 head of broccoli, broken into small florets
4 tbsp sweet white miso
1 1/2 litres boiled water
1 tbsp tamari
Enough buckwheat noodles for 3 people (how much pasta/noodles is enough for one person? Life’s unanswerable question)
Coriander, to serve
Lime, to serve
- Thinly slice the chilli, crush the garlic, either crush the ginger or chop into thin slices (I do the latter as I quite like getting a sudden hit of ginger in the soup), halve the lemongrass and bash both ends with the back of your knife to bruise them.
- Add the miso paste and water to a large wok and whisk until combined. Add the tamari, chilli, ginger, garlic and lemongrass and keep on low heat while you prep the veg.
- Juliene or thinly slice the carrot with a peeler, slice the leeks into thin strips and slice the mushrooms.
- Cook the buckwheat noodles until done to your liking. Drain and divide into 3 bowls.
- Add the carrot, mushroom, leeks, and broccoli to the wok and cook until done to your liking – I cooked them in the broth for about 5-7 minutes.
- Ladle the broth onto the noodles, and garnish with a squeeze of lime and some chopped coriander.
I might try making this into a packed lunch in future – I’m thinking of putting a dollop of miso paste mixed with tamari at the bottom of a flask or tupperware, topping with cooked buckwheat noodles and desired aromatics and veg, ready to top with boiling water – literal sexy pot noodle. Kind of a copy of the kelp pot noodle recipe from the Hemsley sisters except I refuse to shell out £5 for a small bag of kelp noodles. Plus they look like what I’d imagine tape worms to look like.
I just googled it, they do look like tape worms.