tomato, fennel and feta soup

I got asked for five pounds by a tramp today.

Five pounds! Gone are the days when someone would come up to you and shakily ask for 25p because they were just shy on the metro fare home. When did it make the jump to a fiver? If it goes any higher it’ll be cheaper for me to jump in the car and nip over to Gateshead to buy the smack myself. Oooh think of the weight loss. Actually, I’d be a shite smack addict, I start shaking like a shitting dog the day before I have bloods taken. I’m not averse to giving to the homeless and unfortunate, but his sheer cheek put me right off – I didn’t even get to do my ‘pretend to pat my pockets for non-existent change’ dance, which never works anyway because I’m forever sticking all my change into one pocket so I’m jingling and jangling down the street like a friggin’ pearly queen. Plus, to cap it all off, what I thought was a little lip piercing from a distance was a howking great pus-filled sore on his upper lip which made me gag. I can’t BEAR anything like that, it really upsets me. I know that’s an incredibly superficial and shallow attitude but I don’t care who you are, everyone has a physical attribute that they can’t stand in others – mine is pus spots. I hardly think that’s irrational.

Newcastle has some great tramps as well as the usual chancers, mind. Paul and I actually managed to make an enemy out of one of Newcastle’s less fortunate citizens when we lived down on the Quayside, who we christened Rory just because that’s what he always did – roared. There was a little yellow bus which would take you into town from the Quayside and because he was mad, he used to spend all day travelling up and down along the route – it was only ten minutes long and never varied but nevertheless. He used to have eye-wateringly bad BO first thing in the morning and by the time he’d spent all day cooped up on a bus on a hot day, well, it was the only bus I knew where the driver lit a match when old Rory got off. Anyway, whenever Paul and I got on the bus, he’d roar (hence the name) TEAPOTS at us and stare at us with his googly-eyes and spittle-flecked beard. All the way into Newcastle. Occasionally blowing kisses. And we never, ever knew why – until we happened across him outside of the bus. He did his usual trick of shouting teapots, but this time bent over in his shit-crusted coat and made a spout motion with his arm and a handle motion with the other – then it clicked, he was taking the piss out of us for being gay and the teapot thing was his way of saying we were camp, like this:


Well, we thought it was bloody hilarious. I mean honestly, I might be a friend of Dorothy but at least I can have a hot bath of the evening. Sadly, we moved away and we only see him now and again, although he still gives us the old swivel-eye if it clicks who we are.

Anyway, speaking of ripe old fruits, here’s tonight’s recipe – tomato, fennel and feta soup. Enjoy!


to make tomato, fennel and feta soup, you’ll need:

Oh – you might be wondering where the old comic strip style recipes are. They’ll be coming back, but I’m a bit pushed for time in the evening at the moment and I’d sooner spend it writing rather than fussing about with layouts. I’ll use them when the recipe is more complicated…this one isn’t, so here goes.

ingredients: one bulb of fennel, reasonably large, one medium red onion, a whole bunch of cherry tomatoes (400g), a small potato, white wine vinegar (tablespoon), garlic clove chopped up, tomato puree. 50g of feta.

to make tomato, fennel and feta soup, you should:

recipe: cut your tomatoes in half and pack them together, cut side up, in a tray – drop a bit of salt on there and stick them in the oven to roast for forty minutes on a lowish heat. Then, chop up the onion and thinly slice the fennel, keeping aside a few fronds for decoration. Dice the potato. Pop a tiny bit of oil (or bloody Frylight) into a heavy-bottom pan, add the onion, 40g of fennel, crushed garlic and a tablespoon of tomato puree. I add a tiny bit of water just to keep things steamy, cover, and let the onion and fennel cook gently for ten minutes or so, being careful not to let it catch. Add the roasted tomatoes, rest of the fennel, bit of salt and 500ml of water. Leave to cook gently for 40 minutes, and then blend. Add 50g of diced feta, and blend again. Dish it up into bowls (sieve it through a fine sieve if you don’t like lumps – but really, that’s the best bit!) and serve with a bread roll if you fancy synning it. Easy!

extra-easy: yep! Plus you’re only using 25g of feta per serving when you’re allowed 45g, so you could add a little bit extra cheese and be cooking on gas. Tomato and fennel are both speed foods, as is the onion, so there’s really nothing much in here that isn’t fantastic on EE. In fact, looking at it, you could easily adapt it for EE:SP by leaving out the bread and using the cheese as your HEA choice. Delicious!