This festive season I decided, to minimise the pain associated with christmas shopping, to do it all online. Of course, like a Pavlov dog, I had erased from my mind the reason why online shopping is not all it’s made up to be.
It’s easy to browse for something, to be sure. It’s easy to pay for something, of course. What isn’t quite so easy is obtaining your goods. It’s a hit and miss affair.
Your online shop of choice might state that you will receive your goods in one to two days. Then you get home (having ordered something at work for example) and find a card saying ‘we tried to deliver but you weren’t in so we’ve sent your parcel back to the depot’. But, you think, it’s supposed to come tomorrow!
Or, just as easily, the item that should have been delivered in one to two days turns up three months later, and you can’t even remember why you purchased it, or who it was for.
So there I was, waiting for one of those ‘delivery next day’ parcels. And I was quickly running out of ‘next day’, so to speak. But I had tools. I had a tracking number. With this number I could track my item. I could see, virtually, where it was. At that specific time it was…
…‘Out for delivery’. I lived in hope. But not expectation.
Now. Physically moving around in a shop, shuffling about trying to think what little Johnny might want for christmas this year; it might be excruciating, but sitting on one’s backside waiting for the postman to knock (and they don’t knock twice around here, in fact they hardly even touch the knocker before they run off with your item back to the depot) is just as painful.
So I have decided to not let myself get wound up. And in order to not let myself get wound up I am going to describe to you the creation of a traditional winter warmer – French Onion Soup.
Under all that bread and melted cheese there’s some soup…
Now French Onion Soup was introduced to the English by Delia Smith in 1980. I won’t be dissuaded from this fact. In fact the English didn’t even know the French made soup before this time. Delia showed us how to make it on one of her programmes from that time and you can find it on Youtube. It’s a great clip:
She repeatedly reminds us that the recipe is ‘very French’ as she first adds the 3 CLOVES of garlic and the WHOLE GLASS of wine. It was a different time back then.
But, apart from substituting the beef stock for vegetable stock (I could hardly make onion soup and not consider the vegetarian requirements of the Mrs), I pretty much kept to Delia’s recipe…
- 1½ lb onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 oz butter
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ level teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 pints stock
- glass white wine
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- salt and pepper
For the croutons:
- French bread
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Gruyère, grated
Meanwhile, back at the online tracker, things have moved on. The courier now has my parcel. But it’s day two. Aready it’s a day late. Will it arrive….
Hang on, it says courier received. But then what does ‘out for delivery mean’? What the hell, on with the soup.
Make the croutons by rubbing slices of baguette with garlic and oil and then baking until golden brown and crispy.
Then heat the oil and butter and fry the onions and garlic, adding the sugar, and allow the edges of the onions to catch a bit, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat down and leave to cook for half an hour, and then add the stock and white wine and season.
Simmer for one hour so it reduces down nicely
When ready to serve, stick in the brandy and give it a stir. Pour into bowls of your choice…
Pop a couple of croutons on top…
Then smother with cheesy goodness (I think i stuck some parmesan on there too)…
Stick under the grill until melting and bubbling cheese is more or less all you can see…Hang on, where’s my package?
I’ve been so busy ranting it’s been delivered and I didn’t even notice, even though it’s Day 3…luckily the oldest child was on the ball and signed for it. Which is just as well, it’s his present. Unless he’s reading this in which case it isn’t because as he knows, Santa delivers the presents.
Anyway, it’s try-the-soup time. It’s cheesy and it’s garlicy…
But it’s mostly cheesy. So my advice; if you’re pissed with the courier service, eat a load of extra garlicy French Onion Soup and then when they finally turn up, breath all over them.