I want to introduce you to my friend, Bruce.
Bruce has always been one of those “career men”, so he was in his late twenties when he eventually got married. It wasn’t only his career holding him back from a life of wedded bliss, though. You see, Bruce is actually a really smart guy. Past experience had taught him that his intelligence would be a turn off to most women. They don’t want a man who challenges their opinions or who knows more about politics than they do, right? However, while on a boys night out, Bruce’s best friend once said something to him that was a bit of a revelation. He said “Bruce, there are women out there that are actually attracted to intelligent men. A woman like that would really appreciate you.” Bruce soon stopped “dumbing it down” for the ladies and although it probably meant he was on the shelf a bit longer than some men, it was worth it when he met his wife, Camilla.
Camilla: A Modern Wife, Supporting her Husband.
Camilla appreciates Bruce’s cleverness and knows it’s just a matter of time before he’s noticed and promoted even higher at work. She helps him choose work clothes that flatter his shape without attracting the “wrong” kind of attention and reminds him to watch his waistline, purely for his health. She’s the sort of wife that understands the kinds of permanent changes that can happen to a man after a couple of kids.
Bruce: Super Husband.
Bruce is devoted to being a fantastic husband. It all began when he and Camilla became engaged. As the family matriarch, Camilla’s grandmother sat Bruce down to talk to him about what was expected of him when marrying in to their family. She passed on some tips such as how to sort laundry and the best ways to make a house into a home. Bruce’s Dad passed on some tips and tricks on good husbanding, but Bruce has worked hard to add to that list.
For example, Bruce knows the importance of giving his wife space away from the mess and noise that comes with having children. She works hard, after all. She deserves a little space to call her own where men and children are banned so that she can relax after a hard day while he juggles the kids and gets dinner ready.
Yes, dinner! Bruce, it turns out, is also one of those “male cooks” you’ve probably heard about. It’s okay to call him that; it’s just to differentiate between men who cook and regular people who cook. This is now Bruce’s signature dish, but it was actually passed on to him by Camilla’s grandmother. She could see that Bruce wanted to be a great husband but wasn’t quite sure if he had the goods in the kitchen department. Worried that her granddaughter might be forced to cook for herself or live off cereal, she passed on this recipe. What a wise woman! Although this requires a little planning and organisation, it’s so simple that even a man can make it!
Bruce’s Pea and Ham Soup.
A soup that was planned months in advance, Bruce’s Pea and Ham Soup recently became a weekend long sensation, celebrated across social media and the kitchen table. Camilla says it’s almost as good as the one her Gran used to make!
1) The process starts at Christmas time. This is where the planning is important! You should save the left over ham bone! Don’t leave it out for the wife or kids to pick at. Instead, wrap in foil then freeze in a zip lock bag. Ideally, don’t be too conscientious at getting every morsel of ham off at Christmas as this is the basis for the soup. I generally carve from the top and consider most meat under the bone to be “soup meat”.
N.B. If you’ve already failed in this department, purchase a couple of ham hocks from the butcher instead and set yourself a reminder in you calendar for this Christmas.
2) Move your ham bone to the fridge 2-3 days prior to the cook up to slowly defrost.
3) 24 hours out from the cook up, soak a packet of split peas in water. You must ensure they remain covered which means that you have to be on the ball and topping up the water as it gets absorbed.
4) I always purchase an additional ham hock to supplement the meat, unless it has been a two-ham Christmas.
5) Put the ham bone and supplemental hock in a large saucepan and ensure they are covered in water. Begin to slowly simmer until the meat starts to come away from the bone, maintaining the water level.
6) Remove the bone/hock from the water and separate the meat from bone/skin. Return meat to the water and put it back on to the stove.
7) Strain the peas under running water until the water runs clear, then add to the pot.
8) Add stock to the pot. Beef, chicken or vegetable is fine. My preference is for my own homemade thermomix vegetable stock and I add 3 to 4 tablespoons.
9) At this point you can add some vegetables of your choice. Potatoes, carrots and celery are traditional favourites, but I generally skip the celery.
10) Reduce the soup while cooking the vegetables.
11) When the vegetables are well cooked remove from the heat and blend in the peas and vegetables with your stick mixer.
12) Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with crusty bread that you obviously baked earlier.
This is a hearty meal to fill even the most active kids and busy wives. Enjoy!
This post inspired by Man Who Has It All on facebook. A special thanks to “Bruce”, who is a real person (whose name isn’t Bruce) and a total souperstar. See what I did there?