Coddle, v. (1) to pamper, to treat indulgently, to baby. (2)to cook in water just below boiling point
The weather shifted today, although its been brewing for the last few days, we woke up to rain. It was cold, windy and raining, and everyone around had gloomy faces.
I appreciate the rain, God made me waterproof and fair enough no-one likes to be soaked through but is there much nicer than a hot shower and clean pyjamas after being out in the heavy rain? I especially love the rain at this time of year (but preferably not every day) as the glistening leafy green reflections in the road can be quite magical!
So it was along these stunning mirror pictures I drove today, to pick up my daughter and her pal from school. Only I couldn't find her, only two bedraggled kittens sat where they would normally be. So I took them home instead, to blankets and a roaring fire, some daytime tv, hot cups of tea.
Somedays everyone needs a bit of coddling... its funny how comfort is sometimes defined with food we know really well, things that are simple... jam sandwiches, chocolate cake, mashed potato... The things that comfort people are homely, warm, known... The foods that comfort aren't the delicate, intricate and unusual, they are the normal everyday foods, where the ingredients speak for themselves, cheap and easy to make, made with love and more welcome than anything else to those in need of some TLC! We've a saying here in Ireland "to warm the very bones of you" and its usually used when handing a nice bowl of stew or soup to someone just in from the cold. I mean who would want to come in from the cold, wind and rain, after a hard day and be handed a salad??
Bill rang me at four, he'd be late, he was starving - hadn't managed to grab lunch in the end of month mayhem. He'd be home at 6 and by the sound of him, he too needed some coddling...
8 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 medium sized leeks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 thick cut rashers
12 Irish sausages
750mls Chicken stock
1 can of Campbells Golden Vegetable Soup
Place the potatoes, leeks, onion and parsley into a pan with the knob of butter. Fry gently until the leeks and onions become translucent and then transfer to a large pot. In the pan fry the rashers and sausages until lightly browned. Transfer to the pot. Cover with the stock and stir in the soup (I pour mine through a sieve to leave behind the little veg pieces) and allow to sit, just under the boil for about thirty minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked. Just under the boil is where there is a fizz, not bubbles in the water. However some cooker heat is harder to control so if it does boil, don't worry about it a jot! It'll turn out fine.
Serve how you like, we plop big spoons of it onto cooked spinach leaves and eat with brown soda bread covered in butter...
Some people add various vegatables and pulses to coddle, I'm a purist so I don't! There is also a brown coddle which uses oxtail soup instead of golden vegetable, although some people would say you shouldn't add soup, and just use stock but I picked up the tip from a friend of mine who is a real Dub, born and reared in the inner city, so I think its authentic enough!