It has raised comment that I referred to my most recent foray into soup as an attempt to steal the dreams of the ocean and turn them in to broth. Well, not raise comment as much as have people confused as to what I was saying until they tried it.
I have been making noodles again, no doubt to a general lack of surprise. In this case I’ve been working off a white miso base, heavily augmented with elements of my substantial cache of dried seaweed, which the hipster label tells me is called sea vegetable. I refuse to address it as such.
Here is a picture of these things bubbling happily away in a pot.
And I am fully aware that miso does not come from the sea. I just use it to cultivate the kind of murky, salty solution that the sea carries in my memories, which I could probably equally achieve with actual seawater were I to find some way to reliably extract the sand.
As some way of explaining my current turns of phrase, I have also recently been playing a frankly improbable amount of Sunless Sea. Damn the replay value on that. Join me in this haunted, zzoup eating place.
There were also several mushrooms involved. Here are some in their natural habitat, my chopping board. I am aware that neither shitake mushrooms nor the amazing black and white fungus – I had no idea how to prepare the latter until I discovered some in a dish at my favourite ramen shop – grow in the ocean, but I think that at this stage the metaphor is flagging. Needed some protein in the soup, and when you spend as long vegetarian as I have you learn to love fungus.
Now, all of this presents a taste that is very rich, but lacking in much in the way of definition. The noodles will add admirably to the body – even if they are the cheapest noodles available – but we need something to give it some punch. Or… tentacle whip, I guess, if were sticking with this.
So I shred some leeks, as they will give the soup a bit of zazz to bite down on, and I throw in some tiny flakes of a dried chili of ill starred origin. With the happily boiled black fungus on top, we have a hearty soup that reminds me of the crashing waves in which I spent my youth.
Stay fed folks.