I have a full time day job. Winter and summer alike, I'm up at six and out of the door soon after. My writing has to be fitted in around that, and all my books have been written and edited at night, sometimes till two in the morning, then up again for work at six. I don't have time or energy to do elaborate meals, not if I'm to get stuck into the writing after dinner. So my philosophy has always been to get the maximum result for the minimum of effort.
I don't have a lovely garden, only a balcony with unkillable green plants on it - my few efforts to grow herbs have been huge flops; because of this, I buy everything at a greengrocer or supermarket on the way home.
In the cold of winter, with the wind howling outside and the rain pouring down, I love to cook a thick soup to eat with hot buttered toast. Sometimes, if I'm out of bread, I make pan-fried flat bread, which takes about ten minutes and tastes wonderful.
This soup is one I created myself. It includes potatoes, onion, mushrooms and, believe it or not, spices. It's not a spicy soup, though - the spices are ground cumin, coriander and turmeric. Turmeric, especially, goes very well with potatoes, something I discovered by experiment. I don't cook with salt, but you're welcome to add it to your own taste and a little black pepper is also nice.
The recipe makes two bowls of soup, one for tonight, one for lunch at work next day, when it tastes even nicer than the first night.
Potato, Mushroom and Onion Soup
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
Handful of mushrooms, chopped
Ground cumin, coriander and turmeric
500-750 ml boiling water
In a saucepan, fry a large finely chopped onion in a little olive oil. Add the mushrooms, then the potatoes. Throw in the spices and turn everything over so that it's well coated. Pour the boiling water from your kettle and stir. Leave to simmer till the potatoes are tender, then mash them and stir - this thickens the soup. Simmer some more till satisfied. It should take an hour or less from beginning till end, depending on how you like it, and while it simmers, you can prepare something else, check your email, write the latest chapter,etc.
Serve with hot buttered toast. Yum!
Sue Bursztynski is the author of numerous articles and short stories and ten children's and YA books, the most recent being Crime Time:Australians behaving badly(Ford Street Publishing) and Wolfborn (Woolshed Press, and imprint of Random House Australia). She is a member of the Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine publishing collective, for which she is currently editing an issue.