These last few weeks at school, I've been studying memory. Turns out, it's all hideously complex, fair chunks of it still haven't been worked out, and all sorts of bits in your brain feed into all sort of other bits into your brain to make the whole system work through a series of interlocked pathways.
The thing that I find fascinating is that your olfactory nerve -- that's the bit that does your sense of smell -- feeds into the parts of your brain responsible for emotions, known as the limbic system. I guess that's why catching a sniff of a perfume can you remind you in milliseconds of someone you used to know that wore it, even if you haven't seen them for years.
Maybe it's the same for food? Taste and smell are intimately related, and people often wax lyrical about the foods of their childhood (although that could well be the power of nostalgia rather than memory!)
Why I've been wondering about all this is cheese soup. I had it once, some time in my late teens, readymade from the supermarket. It was weirdly stringy, hugely fatty and a bit weird. I've only ever eaten it once, but every so often it burps out of my memory and I find myself wondering who decided to try and make a. Why, I can't tell you, yet it does.
I decided to take the bull by the horns, and make myself a vegan version of cheese soup. This one's not weirdly stringy, or hugely fatty, but it was pretty tasty, and it's a much nicer memory to have, knowing I can make this animal-free soup any time I fancy.
(As a side note, this is a great way to use up broccoli stalks. I get through a lot of a broccoli in a normal week, so when I've used up all the florets, I chuck the stalk in the fridge for recipes like this. For added goodness, if you leave out the cashews and miso, you've got a six-food elimination diet friendly recipe too.)
Easy cheesy broccoli and butter bean soup
Makes 2-3 large bowls
One small white onion, sliced
One stick of celery, diced
Two cloves of garlic sliced
250g of broccoli stalks, fibrous outside bits removed and chopped into larger chunks (you can just sub in normal broccoli if you have that, obvs!)
One tin of butter beans, drained
600-700mls vegetable stock
Juice of half a lemon
65g of cashews, soaked for a couple of hours beforehand, then drained (you can omit this for a six-food elimination diet recipe)
One teaspoon of dijon mustard
One teaspoon of miso (you can omit this for a six-food elimination diet recipe)
12g or so* of nutritional yeast
How you do it
Sweat the onion and celery for a while until soft - maybe 10 minutes or so.
Ass in the garlic, broccoli stalks, butter beans, and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Separately, blend together the drained cashews, mustard, miso, and nooch to make a thick paste.
Pour the paste into the soup, and blend until smooth.
*My kitchen scales died at this point, so this is rough estimate. Add tablespoon by tablespoon, blend and taste a bit until you get to the point you like. Add more or less nooch as you fancy.