From Margaret Fulton’s Book of Vegetarian Cooking, Octopus, 1989.
I remember, when I was young, my grandmother used to make a vegetable barley soup. This was especially made when one was feeling poorly. Every so often now I still make a vegetable barley soup modelled on my grandmother’s. It’s not because I feel poorly but purely because I enjoy it. Recently I found a recipe by Margaret Fulton that looked very much as though it was like the one of my grandmother. I decided to try it.
I heated some oil in a saucepan and added a chopped onion, 2 chopped celery sticks, 2 large carrots quartered lengthwise and finely sliced, 2 chopped garlic cloves. A turnip was also required but I did without it. The vegetables were sweated in the saucepan with the lid on for about 10 minutes.
Now I added 4 cups stock, 2 handfuls of barley, some French beans topped and tailed and cut into 2.5cm lengths, 3 stalks of parsley (as a bouquet garni), and a tablespoon soy sauce. This was all brought to the boil and reduced to a simmer for 45 minutes. Meanwhile 2 large tomatoes were peeled and chopped, about 2 tablespoons parsley was chopped. Now the parsley stalks were removed from the saucepan and the tomatoes and chopped parsley added. The cooking continued for about 10 more minutes. The soup was tasted for seasoning and this was adjusted.
The soup turned out to be quite like Gran’s but somewhat stronger flavoured with lots more carrot. I think the flavour strength (very pleasant) was largely due to the garlic and the soy (ingredients that my grandmother would not have used) and the fact that I used less stock than was required.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔