Borough Belles: Frances Timlin

Categories: Reflections and opinions

The Borough Belles, Borough Market’s neighbourhood branch of the Women’s Institute, is packed with keen cooks, happy to share their ideas and insights. This month: Frances Timlin

I kept seeing information on the SE1 website about the events that Borough Belles were offering and it all seemed very different to the WI I had heard about before—more fun, modern and a great variety of activities. I have lived in SE1 for quite a few years and as I could walk to meetings, I thought, I’ll go and have a look. That was four years ago and I have been a regular attendee since.

Frances Timlin

I am very interested in space and have often chatted about the educational project I set up, Astronaut Crew London. We host events to teach people more about space—what do people eat in space, for example, and why do they need to eat that in particular to stay healthy? The Belles have come along in the past and helped me run sessions for children.

I’ll be honest, one of the things that made me think twice about joining the Belles is…. I don’t really like cooking or baking. I also don’t like jam. But it made no difference, I was welcomed. As I don’t love cooking, I tend to make things that are simple and healthy—buying good ingredients and whizzing them about a bit is as far as I go. I like to buy things from Borough Market, as I know they are good to begin with and very little needs to be added.

My recipe is called special Southwark soup. I like it because it is easy to make and you can get your five a day (or even 10 a day) quite easily. It’s good for toddlers, older people and everyone in between. None of the ingredients are too fancy or hard to obtain. It’s full of vitamins and very filling, as well as quick to make and easy to freeze. Just about everyone can enjoy making it and eating it. I can’t remember ever learning how to make it—I might have been born just knowing it!

Frances’s recipe for special Southwark soup
Pour 1 litre of water into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Put a stock cube in, stir, and return to a simmer. The water should be bubbling, without actually boiling. Add in 400g chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp tomato puree, 1 tsp of garlic puree or 2 crushed cloves (you know how much you like), 2 chopped, medium-size carrots, 1 deseeded and sliced red pepper and 1 deseeded and sliced green pepper. Leave to simmer for 5 mins.

In the meantime, trim and dice 2 courgettes, and trim and chop 2 stalks of celery—this will make the soup quite tangy. Add them to the pan and continue to simmer for another 8-10 mins, or until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Season with freshly ground black pepper, blend to desired thickness and serve!