Shear perfection

People seem to be responding well to the posts about what we’re eating so, eager as I am to give you what you want, here’s another quick recipe run-down.

Mrs RB was given The Happy Pear cookbook for Christmas. If, like me, you’ve never heard of David and Stephen Flynn then allow me to introduce the two brothers from Greystones in Ireland. According to the back of their book, “The Happy Pear’s fans range from young parents to pensioners, ladies-who-lunch to teens-on-the-run, hipsters to Hollywood stars.” Now, I don’t tick any of those boxes, but then people don’t tend to write cookbooks for me and I’ve learned to live with the disappointment. They do espouse a way of cooking and eating that is “good for you” and they promise “easy, healthy, vegetarian food that’s packed with mind-blowing flavour, texture and colour.” And – although not a vegetarian myself – those are things that I feel I can get behind.

It was early January, we felt in need of some mind-blowing flavour, texture and colour, so we opened the book and had a go.

Happy Pear ingredients

As before, it’s only fair that I don’t copy out the actual recipe here (and also, I suspect, more in keeping with copyright law). But if you fancy a go at their Thai coconut, sweet potato and lemongrass soup then you will need all of the above. Plus some lemongrass, which we forgot to buy. And a copy of their book.

After a few (transl: several) minutes hard chopping, you reduce the pile to something that looks a little more like this:

Happy Pear prepared ingredients

My first worry came when I read that you needed “a large family-size pan”. I’m not sure how big your family is, but I would need a big pan to get them all in. More of a cauldron, if I’m honest. In the absence of such a vessel, I settled for a big saucepan and in went the first lot of ingredients. Just look at them lovely colours.

Onions and carrots

You follow-up with the sweet potatoes and the rest of the ingredients, pop in some stock and the coconut milk and then let it bubble away.

Sweet potatoes

Happy Pear soup

Shear annoyanceThe second-to-last step is to take a stick blender and blend the whole lot until it is smooth. It is worth pointing out that it wasn’t the recipe’s fault that our blender had a bit of bother at this stage; I am one hundred percent certain that those sweet potatoes were tender enough. It is incumbent upon me to point out, however, that it was at this stage that the end of the blender sheared off, simultaneously rendering it utterly useless as a way of blending our soup and, at the same time, liberally peppering the whole bowl of soup with shards of broken metal.

Mrs RB found me at this point, in a pose made famous by Mr Munch, hands clasped to my face and panic in my eyes. We fished around for a while with a spoon, but this only served to prove that we had, in one swift rotation of a blade, condemned dinner to the composting bin. When they said they wanted “mind-blowing texture”, I’m pretty certain they didn’t mean shrapnel.

The final step, therefore, was to go down the chippy and buy some fish and chips. Which wasn’t quite what we planned when we started (although it did lead to an interesting discussion about biodegradable takeaway boxes, but I digress). If you have tried The Happy Pear’s Thai coconut, sweet potato and lemongrass soup then please can you let me know if it’s any good? It certainly looked and smelled good, before it went all Tony Stark on us.

Also, if anyone has any recommendations for blenders that don’t self-destruct, we suddenly find ourselves in the market for one…

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