The Magic Porridge Pot

When I was little I remember reading a story about a magic porridge pot. It went something like this.

There was this little girl in this village right? Well, she went off into the forest one day, and saved this old witch’s cat from a tree or something. Or perhaps the witch was drowning and the young girl dove into the lake and pulled her out. The witch was frightfully happy to have been rescued (or have had her cat rescued) so she gave the little girl a magic porridge pot. This presumably was stashed about her person next to the magic beans, magic flute, broomstick and other enchanted junk that these wizardly folk seem to cart around with them just in case they urgently need to reward small children for getting them out of scrapes you’d expect them to be able to get themselves out of, what with all their magical powers and everything.

Anyway. She told the girl that all she had to say was ‘Cook lil porridge pot, cook!’ and the lil porridge pot would put forth porridge like there was no tomorrow. Then the little girl had to say ‘Stop little porridge pot, stop!’ and the lil pot would stop making the porridge.

So the little girl takes the pot home to her Mum. They have porridge every day and never go hungry again. So far, so good. But then, (here comes the low point in the film where everyone gets upset and bored just before they realise that 8 scenes ago Matt Damon hid himself in a packing crate so he is of course not dead after all, and can therefore pop up out of nowhere and save everyone) the little girl goes off to the shops one day, and Mum decides she will make porridge all on her own. ‘Cook, lil pot cook!’ she says, and sure enough there goes the porridge, rising from the bottom of the pot from nowhere. Amazing.

Then Mum remembers she doesn’t know the words to make the pot stop, despite the 6 months or so of hearing her daughter say them every day. So she can’t make the porridge pot stop cooking. It makes more and more and more and more and more porridge, until it overflows the top of the pot. Then it makes so much porridge it pours off the table and onto the floor. Then it makes so much porridge the porridge is rolling out the door and all the way down the gravel drive, past the Fiesta, over next door’s cat and down the road, all the way to the village. And still the little pot keeps cooking!

Well they get it all sorted out in the end, dole the spare porridge out to all the impoverished citizens of the town (who are presumably so impoverished they don’t mind scooping up gruel from the pavement and eating it, gravel and all) and the girl is a heroine and they put a lovely statue of her up in the square, and they all live happily every after.

The point of which is… I’ve just discovered that experimentally adding lentils to soup has a very similar effect to kicking off porridge related perpetual motion – I now have about 6 litres of the stuff. Anyone want any?

Carrot and coriander soup

This is my very favourite soup because it has loads of lovely coriander in it.  Also because I quite often have to use up carrots, so this is quite a good way of doing that.

Carrot and coriander soup

serves 2

450g / 1lb carrots, peeled and grated
1 onion
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
1 pint vegetable stock
1 bunch fresh coriander

Melt a little butter and fry the onions until they’re soft. Add the carrots and coriander seeds and fry for a little longer. Add vegetable stock, bring to the boil then simmer for 10 mins. Snip all the coriander leaves off the bunch and shred. Add this to the soup, plus a little salt and blend to a lovely pulp.

Think a little lemon zest and juice would be good too, but I’m all out of lemons.

Using-up-vegetables soup

I’m good for nothing today, hungover and in need of a holiday. Plus my fridge has a gazillion vegetables in it, which I wasn’t sure what to do with.

All of these problems were cured by sweating most of said vegetables in a saucepan with a bit of butter for about 10 mins, adding a load of water and simmering away for another 20 mins and then blitzing it all with one of those hand held blitzer thingies. And before you know it – beautiful soup.

It’s a good idea to include sweet potatoes / squash / carrots in the veg mix, otherwise it turns out looking like green sludge, but otherwise you can’t go wrong.