So I promised you a recipe, and I am nothing, nothing if not a deliverer.
So from my home to yours, a bowl of buckwheat noodles in gingery-spring broth.
This soup is almost ludicrously simple to prepare. You merely boil the noodles (in a few short minutes), then bring a simple broth to the boil and simmer for five, chuck it all in a bowl with a little silken tofu and some spring vegetables, pour yourself a glass of wine, sit, and devour pleasurefully (with chopsticks, please). Honestly, I don't know why any sane person would eat these, when they could eat this. It is also ludicrously cheap (which, now that I've moved out is going to be my new bent, so you know), and ludicrously healthy - full of fibre, protein and vitamins.
Moreover (if, at this stage you still need a moreover), it is incredibly comforting on these indecisive, warm one minute, freezing the next spring days, and fabulous if you, like me, are feeling a bit under the ol' weather. Kind of like the Asian-inspired, semi-vegetarian version of chicken noodle soup.
Buckwheat noodles in springy-ginger broth
Adapted loosely from Marie Claire Zest by Michele Cranston
A few points:
I would love you to consider the broth as a basic suggestion to play around with. Try different spring vegetables - Asparagus, Asian Greens (especially delicate ones like tatsoi), bean sprouts or even exotic mushrooms like oyster or enoki). Or maybe even experiment with different noodles, like somen or udon. Just make sure you keep it clean, simple and fresh - the very essence of Spring.
1.5 litres of chicken or vegetable stock (you should really go with quality here. I'm not suggesting you make your own from scratch or anything, but I find it works best with 500mls of quality liquid chicken stock from the supermarket, and 1ltr of water into which one vegetable stock cube has been dissolved.)
400g buckwheat (soba) noodles
2tbs Japanese soy sauce
3tbs fish sauce (if you wanted to be genuinely vegetarian about this, experiment with other Asian sauces, like Chinese wine, sake, or just up the level of soy and add some lime juice)
1.5 tbs finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste (optional)
400gm silken tofu, carefully sliced into 2cm cubes
2 shallots, finely sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
10 or so sugar snap peas, sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
finely sliced red chillis, for garnish (optional)
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. I like to warm the tofu while this is happening, so I place the whole container (unopened) in the water, and pull it out with tongs once its come to the boil.
Cook the soba noodles according to packet instructions. Usually this takes around 2-3 minutes. Drain and put aside.
Bring the stock, ginger, sauces and wasabi to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
Divide the noodles into four deep bowls, top with the warm tofu, and pour over the broth. Garnish with the shallots, snap peas and chilli.