School Lunchbox: Broccoli and Cheese Soup, Baba Ganoush, Arabic Bread


Well, yesterday’s soup was a success, and as it was red, I thought today, we would make a green one – I had been meaning to treat him to a cheesy soup, so broccoli and cheese was the perfect choice. It, however, took me quite a while to think up the accompaniment and after a few hours of heeing and hawing, the fridge provided me with the answer – 6 eggplants sitting forlornly forgotten at the back of the crisper. “Cook us…” it appeared to implore, so Baba Ganoush it was – egg plant and tahini dip. The Arabic bread was a doozy, seeing that I had the dough resting in the freezer already (an industrious streak saw me experimenting with a few bread doughs one afternoon, so the freezer is stocked with different types, calling to be defrosted and used.)

So, this morning while I was fighting with the skins of the eggplants, burning my fingers in the process (whatever happened to my asbestos fingers??) and muttering various unrepeatables under my breath, in sauntered the son who proceeded to down a whole bowl of the soup, voicing his approval happily oblivious to the fact that the kitchen was a right old mess. I had got more flour on the floor than on the bread, 1 bread was already burnt, another was on the way to being cremated, and there were at least a hundred items in the sink and on the workspace to be washed. Hubby wandered in then to get his vitamins – again… oblivious. I wonder if men are created to not notice messes? I was so frustrated by the state of the kitchen that it was all I could do to not scream at that point. Anyway… both were shooed out, had their breakfast while the lunchbox was prepped and photographed. It took a good hour of cleaning to get the kitchen spic and span again and I am thinking that perhaps, if I were more organized, such catastrophic messes can be avoided. How does Giada do it? Ina never seems to break a sweat and their kitchen is always shiny clean. Makes me wonder if they actually cook at all if the cameras are not on… sigh. On to the recipes:

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Broccoli and Cheese Soup

  • 2 heads of broccoli (medium) – cut into florets
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I mix cheddar and emmental – love the nutty flavour from the latter)
  • a little salt, some freshly ground pepper, and 2 tablespoons butter

– heat butter, sautee onion, garlic and thyme for a few minutes till onion turns translucent.

– Add flour and stir for 2 minutes (gentle fire) – add milk, whisking quickly so as to avoid lumps. Add chicken stock, let mix come to a boil and thicken slightly.

– Add broccoli florets and simmer till soft. Once broccoli is soft, switch off heat. Add cheese. Let it cool slightly. Blend till smooth and return to pot.

– If soup is too thick, add more milk, re-heat, careful not to allow to boil. Taste before seasoning, add salt and pepper and taste again.

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Baba Ganoush

  • 6 small eggplants
  • 1 garlic – chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • some salt to taste

– After washing, char the skins of the eggplants on the stove top. (This is not to cook the eggplants, but to impart the charred flavour.) Once the eggplant skin is blackened a little, put the eggplants on a baking sheet. Roast in 220 degree celcius oven for 20 minutes (or until cooked.) Remove from oven, put into a bowl and cover for 5 minutes. Let it steam – this will make skin removal easier. Remove the skin, and place the soft insides in the food processor.

– add all other ingredients and whizz…. taste seasoning. Adjust. Drizzle top with olive oil. Done.

** if you don’t own a food processor, you can chop the eggplants fine, and mash the garlic with some salt till very, very fine before mixing with the rest of the ingredients by hand.

About mumstech
Retired at 40 after working in various industries including banking and financial services, oil and gas as well as higher education.Now a stay-at-home mum, cheerleader for husband and son, cleaner, nutritionist, cook, laundry lady, driver, clerk cum administration assistant, public relations, personal assistant... I never knew that squeaky clean floors can give me such satisfaction!

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