Nigel Slater’s Thai-inspired Soup

Posted By Kerri


I don’t like this time of year very much. Summer is my favourite season and, when it comes to an end, the prospect of short evenings and dark, cold days fills me with a sense of dread. I do however enjoy winter cooking and the change in the television schedule: just now there is a plethora of food TV to enjoy and I’m not fussy about what I watch, sucking it all up and moaning endlessly about the rubishness of some of it, much to Stephen’s amusement.

Last night, I settled down for a marathon of food viewing, starting with Nigel Slater and his Simple Suppers programme. Of all the shows I’m currently moaning about, this is the worst. I like Nigel Slater’s writing and enjoy his columns in the Saturday Guardian and the Observer but I find watching him on television almost unbearable. The endless repetition (which I know is more to do with the editing that the man himself) of this week’s theme (last night was ‘food that grows together, goes together’, I got it the first time and didn’t need to hear another three times), the over-stylised, Sunday-Supplement style shots of his kitchen, garden and notebook and the generally uncomfortable and at times, wooden posture makes me cringe and shout at the TV.

Still I watch and while I don’t always feel inspired by the ‘recipes’ shown (bubble and squeak and tomato sauce for pasta being just two that most people watching a cookery show will most likely know how to cook already, won’t they?), every now and again something stands out and I feel vindicated for tuning in. Last night, it was this soup. I questioned the use of turmeric in a Thai-style dish but, in fairness, this was only Thai-inspired so I was happy to overlook that and leave it out when it came to cooking it myself. We made a few other changes too: homemade fish stock in place of vegetable, some lime leaves added near the end of the cooking time and a squeeze of lime juice to lift the flavours just before serving.

And the verdict? It was good, very good in fact and something I think we’ll definitely cook again. It didn’t quite hit the hot, sour, salty, sweet notes that Thai dishes are renowned for but the original recipe was only supposed to be Thai-inspired and, I think it did a pretty good job of being just that.

Sep 24th, 2009

16 Comments to 'Nigel Slater’s Thai-inspired Soup'

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  1. Lizzie said,

    Actually, a few Thai recipes use turmeric, such as massaman, due to the large Muslim population in Thailand. I agree with you about Nige, he should just stick to the writing!
    .-= Lizzie´s last blog ..Paul A. Young =-.

  2. Tanya said,

    I totally agree about Nigel Slater. I love his books and can read them like novels, but I don’t like the TV show at all.
    .-= Tanya´s last blog ..Shepherd’s Pie =-.

  3. Su-Lin said,

    Was also about to say that there are definitely Thai dishes that use turmeric – was thinking of a chicken and rice dish they have that’s muslim inspired.
    .-= Su-Lin´s last blog ..Around the Web =-.

  4. tashav said,

    i would not have thought to use tumeric in thai either but the best thai curry recipe i have from includes tumeric and i think it really adds something.

  5. Ollie said,

    Was going to point out that turmeric is quite common in Thai cooking, but see that a few others have beaten me to it. I know what you mean about Slater’s delivery: he’s better on paper.
    .-= Ollie´s last blog ..Sureny and Gresca, Barcelona [Restaurant Reviews] =-.

  6. Stephen said,

    I had the impression that although turmeric was used, it was mostly in Malaysian-inspired dishes from the south of the country (e.g. Massaman curry as Lizzie mentioned) rather than being wide-spread. And then usually fresh rather than dried.

    Either way, our questioning of it was mostly a tongue-in-cheek response to Nigel’s constant insistence (mostly in the previous episode) that he was “breaking the rules”, “not following a recipe” and “just using what he had at hand” 🙂 So we decided not to have turmeric at hand and added lime leaves and a squeeze of lime. Which did make it nice and fresh; probably the opposite effect to what turmeric would have had 🙂

  7. The thing about Nigel Slater (used to market his books when I worked at HC) is that he actually doesn’t like doing TV from what I have heard. He has always shyed away from it because he doesn’t like how he comes across on camera. I’ve only seen one of the episodes of the new show but I was kind of pleased he was doing it because I thought ‘hey good on him for giving it another go’. I rather enjoyed it and I liked how he was going for the ‘use anything in the cupboard approach’ – it isn’t a bad concept – it is rather environmentally friendly and good for budding chefs who lack confidence. I love his books and writing, maybe TV isn’t for him but one good thing is that it means his profile will increase and others, who have not been aware of him before, will be now. This soup looks excellent! Hmm…soup season is really upon us now isn’t it?! xxx
    .-= The Curious Cat´s last blog ..What is your all time favourite film and why? =-.

  8. Alex said,

    So glad to hear someone else isn’t keen on Nige on t’telly. Like a foodie Alan Bennett. Re: what grows together goes together, is that why he paired rhubarb and mackerel on last weeks show?

    The soup does look good though!
    Alex x
    .-= Alex´s last blog ..Lemon Drizzle Cake =-.

  9. fran39 said,

    Completely agree about Nigel on telly: I adore his writing but it seems like BBC1 at 7.30pm can’t take that much intelligence. Lovely picture of your soup.
    .-= fran39´s last blog ..Eight legs good =-.

  10. Nate said,

    We’re loving all the cooking shows we get on the Asian Food Channel and the Travel Channel here in Kuching. (well, not all the shows. “License to Grill” is pretty unbearable for me to watch). Much better than the Food Network dreck we had in the US.
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..Stop, Blog Thief! =-.

  11. Nate said,

    Oh, while I don’t object to the use of turmeric in the soup, I do object to the use of ginger. I mean, if you’re going to use something as exotic as turmeric, might as well try to get some fresh galangal and use that instead of ginger.
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..Stop, Blog Thief! =-.

  12. Stunning photograph. The colours are fantastically bright!

  13. goodshoeday said,

    Totally agree that Nigel on the telly is dire. I could only bear the first 10 mins of the first program. If he hates it he should have gone with his instinct and not done it. He has a big enough following and by the look of his kitchen and garden he doesn’t need to do it. The recipe looks good but I think I’ll stick to him in the written word.
    .-= goodshoeday´s last blog ..Supermarket safari =-.

  14. Sylvie said,

    What a wonderful looking soup. I don’t like Nigel Slater on TV that much either, but you can never really go far wrong with any of his recipes.
    .-= Sylvie´s last blog ..An Old Favourite and an Artist Book Fair =-.

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