Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Potato Soup - Grandma Style

Alan and I arrived back from our Caribbean cruise the day before Mother's Day in the UK.  We had a lovely time on our trip and came back not too tired, which was lucky since Mother's Day can be a bit busy!

I started the day by picking up Whitney and Corbyn to spend some time at Dobbie's Garden Centre for a bit of retail therapy, but also cream scones and tea!  I also bought Corbyn his souvenir from our cruise at Dobbie's!  He and I had seriously discussed what to do about getting him something. It was a choice of finding something random or taking him shopping when we got home.  Shopping happened earlier than expected and we picked up a great Lego set while we were at Dobbies.

Our next stop was to meet Alan and Morgan at his parents' house to spend some there for Mother's Day.  But it was us that got the real treat!

Alan's mum has a few health issues and does not usually expend much energy apart from talking to us and enjoying our company.  When we arrived, Whitney went into the kitchen to make us coffee and noticed the makings for Grandma's potato soup were sitting there almost ready to go into the pot. This potato soup is legendary in our family and the kids have grown up enjoying it.  Whitney grabbed this opportunity to ask for advice on how to make it and we ended up with an impromptu cookery lesson!

Alan has enjoyed his mother's potato soup all his life and it was the first soup she made for me when I moved here.  There cannot be a simpler soup!  There are only 3 ingredients and also a vegetable stock cube.  Turnip, potato and carrots.  The discussion between his mum and dad was really funny when they began to debate how much water was to be added!  It got a bit heated and confusing, in a nice way, and that is when she decided to take Whitney into the kitchen and demonstrate.  Eventually, Morgan and I joined this cooking lesson.

It is a bit difficult to provide a specific ingredient list because it mainly goes with what feels right.  I have no idea how much turnip to use and I don't know if, in the US, you even get the size of turnips we use in Scotland.  They are about the size of a small pumpkin and you need about half of one that size for this soup.  Then about 4 potatoes, again this depends on what size the potatoes are!  Alan's mum uses about 3 carrots.  She has the perfect size blender just for this soup, but any size would work.


Making soup, or any kind of cooking for that matter, from the feel and look of the ingredients is something I would be very proud to accomplish. But, like most of us, measurements would be very helpful!  However, I am going to keep this in the spirit of how my mother-in-law cooks, the only measurements done by her are the liquid ones!

My in-laws seem to have the smallest soup pot I have ever seen, but it is the perfect size for them to make enough soup for one day.  My father-in-law does all the cutting up of the vegetables now.  He puts about 4 quartered potatoes in the pot with one cup, or a half pint of water.

Next, Mum puts the chopped, uncooked carrots in the blender, with another cup or half pint of water and blends them.  This was a revelation to me! I always thought she blended her soup after cooking. When I told her this, Mum explained that this makes the soup cook faster.  It also makes the texture of the soup more distinctive than if it had been liquidized after cooking.  The turnip is treated the same way, with yet another cup of water.

All these are thrown in the pot with the potatoes and then Mum adds 2 vegetable stock cubes, but she cuts them up into small pieces before she puts them in.

Cooks this soup about 20 minutes, or until done anyway.  Then she uses an old fashioned potato masher to make the bits of potato smaller.  Absolutely delicious and can't be more simple than that!

While we were all busy in the kitchen, Alan and Corbyn were building a new Lego set that we purchased at Dobbies.  Glad they had something to do too!

After visiting the grandparents, we had a lovely time at Whitney's - pizza delivered by Domino's and then watched How to Train Your Dragon 2.

What a fantastic British Mother's Day!  

"The family is one of nature's masterpieces."