Anyhow, the reason I'm complaining is twofold a) I think complaining about the weather here makes it so much easier for me to write because leaving the cold asap is a really good motivator for me (and if I finish writing up quickly enough I'll get to go on a holiday with my friend Sandra so I'm writing like a crazy person right now) and b) I know you might not want to cook what I write about these days because it'll be too warm for where you are right now but I won't start making ice-cream or anything else like that until I stop making a hot water-bottle every evening :)
So after all of that, today's recipe is one for a lovely soup I made a while back when the wind decided to uproot the tree in front of our house and when the only thing you really wanted was curl up under a blanket and drink some tea.
Black-Eyed Bean and Roasted Pepper Soup
1 cup Black-Eyed Beans, dried
2 Red Peppers
1/2 Onion, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
A pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1 tbsp Tomato Puree
3 tbsp Parmesan, grated
The night before you are planning to make the soup soak the beans in cold water.
On the day, drain the water, and cook the beans in some fresh water until they are tender. This depends a bit on the the size and age of your beans so just keep checking, mine took just over an hour.
While the beans are cooking, preheat the grill in your oven.
Wash the peppers, pat them dry, half them and deseed them. Then put them into a baking dish skin-up and stick them under the grill for about 20 minutes. You'll want to check them every once in a while to make sure they're not super black on one side and still completely raw on the other side (i.e. you might have to rotate them) but some charring is perfectly acceptable. When they're starting to be done the skin will start lifting off in some places and they'll start looking softer.
Take them out of the oven and let them cool.
Once the beans are cooked through, drain them and put them to the side.
If you haven't done so, dice the onion.
Take the cooled peppers and peel off the skin (most of it will just rub off, but if you're having problems with some bits, a knife should do the job :) ) and dice them.
Heat some olive oil in a pot, then sauté the onions, once they're all lovely and translucent, add the garlic and wait until your kitchen smells like you're trying to get rid of some vampires (I know, I've been watching too much Buffy), then add the beans and pepper.
Add enough stock to cover everything and give the beans and the peppers some time to get to know each other, about 10 minutes should be enough.
Puree everything until you have a very smooth soup, then season with salt, pepper and some cayenne pepper if you feel like a bit of a kick.
Stir in the tomato puree (this is mainly for the colour but it also works wonders flavour-wise).
Just before you're ready to serve the soup, add the parmesan.
Enjoy your soup with some fresh bread and some tea if you're still not warm enough :)