Vegetable Stock

Every journey starts with a single step- even on the kitchen stove. A saucepan of vegetable scraps can make a tasty stock as long as it has the right proportion of flavours and ingredients.

COVID19 and some health problems have grounded me at home in the Barossa Valley of South Australia for the foreseeable future. There is more to Jetlagjane than the ability to write about far-flung and interesting places. I can also be a bit of a homebody. The Barossa is the natural habitat for foodie types and wine-lovers. There are plenty of blogs about the lovely food here, my favourite being Sophie Zakola’s blog. She is super fastidious and fancy and clever and inventive. I am just a home cook who likes to share ideas that work!

Leftover vegetable bits (peel, the knobbly ends etc) can be easily made into vegetable stock. I love soups and risottos with it- it can also be frozen. I really don’t like powdered vegetable stock and the liquid one is waaaay too expensive. The base of it is some onions (brown best as the skin gives the stock a deeper colour) and garlic and it’s best if the mixture has some carrots and celery. Avoid using potato peel as it makes the stock cloudy and starchy. After it is made, the sludgy leftovers go into the chook bucket and taken to a friend who has chickens- and if we are lucky we might get some eggs in return!

It fits the new normal of trying to be frugal and not waste food. After all our adventures and travelling and eating out it is quite the tonic to have to think about preparing all our meals. Vegetable stock is very cheap to make except for the special ingredient- a glass of white wine- because when I open the bottle I can’t let it go off so better drink it all. With all the vegetables we prepare each day I can probably make a batch every day but J and E aren’t keen on the subsequent lunch-time soup as often as I am, so I need to restrain myself.

This basic recipe is based on my favourite celebrity chef’s- Awesome Ramsay (E calls him Boredom Ramsay-RUDE!) idea from his book Ultimate Home Cooking.

All you have to do is cover chopped onions, carrot and celery and as much garlic as you can like (half a head is a good guide for a big pot) with water, season it and simmer for half an hour. Yesterday I used the woody bits of asparagus and the ends of some ready to expire zucchini and it worked really well. Then add a glass of white wine and a small bundle of herbs (Parsley, thyme, tarragon etc- a sprig of rosemary also good but don’t over do it!) and leave to cool overnight. Or while you are polishing off that bottle of white wine with some triple cream brie. Then strain before using. A dash of Worcestershire sauce is not officially condoned by Mr Ramsay or proper vegetarians but I like the colour and the intensity of the flavour. It keeps for 5 days in the fridge.

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