Brothello

vegetable soup

Scene 1. Venice. A street. We meet Iago and Roderigo, and neither of them are happy with General Othello- aka, the Moor, and our titular tragic hero. Othello, you see, has gone off and married Desdemona- Roderigo’s betrothed. He’s also annoyed Iago, since Othello chose Cassio to be his lieutenant in the army, and Iago thought the job would be his.

To get back at Othello, Iago and Roderigo visit Brabanzio, Desdemona’s father, and tell him where his daughter’s ran off to. Furious, Brabanzio is convinced Othello tricked and charmed Desdemona into marrying him- thou hast enchanted her! He demands justice and takes the matter to the Venetian court, where Othello is put on trial. When Desdemona and Othello profess their love for each other, everyone (except Brabanzio) is back on Othello’s side and they let the lovers go free.

Except Othello can’t go and live happily ever after with his new wife, since he’s needed with the Venetian army in Cyprus. He goes to battle, and there to meet him afterwards is Desdemona, Roderigo, Cassio, Iago, and Iago’s wife, Emilia.

Roderigo’s pining over Desdemona, and Iago tells Roderigo that he’ll sort it out. Iago starts to spread suspicions to Othello about Desdemona’s relationship with Cassio. Iago then persuades Roderigo to challenge a drunk Cassio to a duel, and their fighting wakes Othello. He dismisses Cassio from the army, partly because he’s drunk, and maybe partly because of the rumours Iago spread about him. It doesn’t help when Cassio pleads with Desdemona to get her to change Othello’s mind over his dismissal (after Cassio is told to do so by Iago).

Beware, my lord or jealousy, it is the green-ey’d monster. Too late, as Othello is so overcome with jealousy that he refuses to speak to his wife. His grief is too much, my lord is fall’n into an epilepsy, and Othello has an epileptic fit. Othello calls for Iago and together, they make a plan to kill the pair- Othello will kill Desdemona, whilst Iago will kill Cassio. Woe upon thy life!

Iago keeps stirring the pot- he gets Emilia to steal one of Desdemona’s handkerchiefs, then hides it in Cassio’s room, and he even goes so far as telling Othello that Cassio has admitted that he is having an affair with Desdemona. When he overhears Cassio talking crudely about a woman, Othello’s convinced its Desdemona (although it isn’t).

As if things couldn’t get any worse, Bianca (a courtesan who adores Cassio) barges in and having found Desdemona’s handkerchief (that Iago had hidden), throws it at Cassio and storms out. It’s the final straw for Othello and he lashes out at his wife, losing his temper, yelling at her, and striking her.

Meanwhile, Iago and Roderigo plot to kill Cassio. Roderigo goes to stab Cassio, but misses, and in the kerfuffle, Roderigo gets stabbed and Iago stabs Cassio in the leg (but he’ll live). When the noise attracts two passers-by, Iago puts all the blame on Roderigo and stabs him to death before he can say any different. O, I am slain! I am maim’d for ever! When Emilia arrives, Iago spins her a few more lies and tells her to go and inform Othello and Desdemona about what has happened.

Back with our doomed lovers. A bedchamber in the castle, Desdemona in bed asleep, a light burning. Enter Othello. He asks Desdemona to beg forgiveness for what she has done, but she refuses, because she has nothing to beg forgiveness for. Othello suffocates Desdemona by covering her face with a pillow. Emilia enters, falsely reports that it is Cassio who killed Roderigo, and Othello, thinking Cassio’s still alive, lets slip about the plan.

Emilia realises what been going on, and as the rest of the ensemble arrive in the room, Emilia reveals that Iago told a lie, an odious, damned lie, she false with Cassio! Iago promptly stabs Emilia and he hath kill’d his wife, too. They capture Iago and plan to put him on trial, but not before Othello asks him, why he hath thus ensnared my soul and body? Iago refuses to answer.

Othello’s had enough, and since he cannot live with himself after what he has done, he stabs himself, falls on the bed, and dies. O thou Othello, thou wert once so good.

Like Iago, I’m telling a few fibs with today’s recipe, but at least my lies won’t break up someone’s marriage. This isn’t technically a broth, but Soupello doesn’t work, hence why this vegetable soup is being passed off as broth.

Vegetable soup is quite simply the easiest recipe ever and it surprises me how little people make soup. It’s cheap, it’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s never-ending. Whatever type of soup I’m making- not just vegetable soup- I always roast the veg first. It adds flavour and roasted vegetable soup sounds fancy. The amounts of veg in this recipe aren’t exact or precise, so if you have an extra red pepper rattling around in the fridge, or three carrots hanging about, stick them all in. Likewise, if you don’t fancy cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, you could try spices like curry powder and paprika to give it a spicy kick. Mix it up and try out what you like- whatever you fancy will work.

(I’m trying to somehow round this off by bringing it back to Othello, but I’ve got nothing, sorry. Enjoy the recipe.)

* * *

SERVES six

PREP 15 mins

COOK 20 mins for roasting veg, plus 10 mins for simmering soup

▪ Will keep for 2 days

 

2 carrots

1 parsnip

1 medium potato

1 sweet potato

1tbsp rapeseed oil, plus extra for frying onions

1tsp cinnamon

1tsp ginger

1tsp nutmeg

1 white onion

1 leek

2 pints vegetable stock (fresh, or made using 2 stock cubes)

Splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1tbsp double cream (optional)

 

1 First preheat the oven to 200°c/400°f/gas mark 6.

2 Next, prepare the vegetables. Peel and dice the carrots, parsnip, potato, and sweet potato into small, even sized cubes. Add them all into a bowl, then mix in the oil and cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

3 Put two baking sheets into the oven for about five minutes, then pour the vegetables onto them, spreading them our so they are just one layer. Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until just starting to brown and crisp round the edges.

4 Whilst they are cooking, finely dice the onions. Slice the leek into rounds then chop in half.

5 Heat about 2tsp of oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over a medium heat, and add the onion and leek. Cover with a lid and sweat for about ten minutes (the onions, not you).

6 When the roasted veg is ready, tip them all into the saucepan with the onions and leeks and stir well. Pour over enough stock to cover all the vegetables (you might not need the full 2 pints). Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and simmer for about ten minutes.

7 Remove from the heat, then blend the vegetable soup until smooth using a stick blender, or in small batches in a food processor. Add Worcestershire sauce and cream to taste, and season with salt and pepper if required. ▪

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