Jams and soup

Inside every jam is a crock of gold

When I got back from yoga the other day I found myself enthralled by a radio debate about jams. It took me quite a few minutes to work out that they  weren’t talking about preserves. As is our wont in the UK we slip new acronyms into our grammar on an almost daily basis. The latest such offering is the post-postmodern take on the financial status of many people: just about managing.

These jams come in many financial shapes and sizes including those who are struggling on incomes of £70k or more because of outgoings like taxes, childcare and housing costs. It caused quite a row on the radio. Some people got pretty irate telling the jams to get a grip, stop having children and move out of London! A very wise woman from Yorkshire with seven children then came on and put it all into context –  if you’re in the higher tax bracket you need to earn an awful lot more for it to make a difference.

I was brought up on a council estate and there was no such thing as overdrafts in our household. Everything we had stretched. Money magic was worked with catalogues offering repayment plans of up to 52 weeks,  the pardner – an informal savings scheme and the family mantra of one day feast and another day famine. We learned to spread things out so there was no living from payday to payday and very little was wasted.

Today I won’t be wasting the following:

a post-roast chicken carcass

the meat stripped from the chicken carcass

left-over rosemary and garlic rub

seen better days carrots

hiding in the fridge celery

hiding in the freezer cooked black beans in their delicious liquid

all-seeing potatoes

1.7 litres of boiled tap water

Himalayan salt and freshly-ground black pepper

What to do?

  • Make a stock with the carcass: fry the carcass with the carrots and celery while you wait for the kettle to boil – use the skin for fat.
  • Throw in a pinch of salt and a spoonful of the left over rosemary rub (ground rosemary with garlic, salt and black pepper and olive oil)
  • added hot water.
  • Simmer in a pressure cooker.
  • Boil a couple of potatoes and dice them.
  • I’ve defrosted a 600ml container of cooked black beans (these were cooked in the pressure cooker with a pinch salt and a large onion, cooled and frozen with their liquid)
  • Put the beans (and their liquid), chicken and stock together to make a soup.
  • Chop up the celery and carrots from the stock and throw them and the diced potato into the soup.
Everyday feast and no famine days black bean and chicken soup

The salt calculators out there will be rolling their eyes but hopefully this won’t be too salty. Black beans and celery lower blood pressure so maybe there’ll be some balance.






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