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Showing posts from January, 2010

Watercress Soup; Bee My Honey

This weekend's soup is watercress (one of two recipes in The Soup Book). It contains:
watercress (stalks cooked with the onions; leaves added later), pears (cored, but no mention of peeling. I left them unpeeled. You have to take risks), vegetable stock (cheated and use cubes), and cream.I've have got as far as liquidising the soup ready for a dinner party. I'll add the cream when I re-heat it.

Bothar - Bee My Honey Appeal, 2010

Bothar ( is an Irish charity that "enables families and communities worldwide to overcome hunger and poverty and to restore the environment in a sustainable way." One of its projects is the Bee My Honey appeal which takes place in the run-up to St Valentine's Day. Donations (Eu50, Eu90 or Eu125) go towards supporting families in Uganda, Tanzania and Cameroon to set up beehives. Project families learn how to keep bees and can make money from honey and wax; the environment benefits at the same time.

Incidentally, I…

Cabbage, Tomato & Meatball Soup and extras

Cabbage and tomato soup with meatballs

This weekend's soup is cabbage and tomato with meatballs. The meatballs contain garlic, onion, paprika (the recipe called for smoked paprika, which I don't think I've ever come across), ground cumin, dried thyme, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, fresh breadcrumbs, minced meat and egg. The soup itself calls for onion, garlic, tomatoes, Savoy cabbage (my favourite kind) and beef stock.

I prepared the meatballs on Friday night, helped by my younger son. Although reluctant to sniff the herbs and spices, he was very willing to put his hands into the raw mixture and make the meatballs. This afternoon we brought a friend of his into town and then back to our house. Having been warned by the friend's mother that her son didn't like cabbage, I was wondering what alternative I could offer him. I needn't have worried. The soup was delicious and our guest ate two bowlfuls. The spouse is away so he's missed out! I'll have to make …

My Secret Life with Bees in Literature; Beetroot and Apple Soup

My Secret Life with Bees in Literature

The other night as I was going to bed I turned on the radio (RTE 1) and happened to hear the reading from The Book on One. It was an extract from Virgil's Georgics concerning bees. The Georgics is a poem completed c.29 BC, comprising four books that deal with crops, trees, livestock and bees. What I was listening to was a translation by Peter Fallon (, founder of the Gallery Press. The reference to honey as manna caught my attention and I continued to listen to Virgil's ideas on providing an ideal environment for bees to thrive in. The translator was the reader. The spouse and I agreed he didn't read well. Nevertheless I soldiered on for the sake of my blog!
Other bee-related books I have enjoyed in recent years are The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and The Beekeeper's Pupil by Sara George. As far as I can remember the former is about a community of women protecting each other and the latter a fictional ac…

Cock-a-leekie and finding out about bee keeping

Today I made my first soup of 2010, cock-a-leekie, a traditional Scottish soup. The ingredients are listed in The Soup Book as chicken pieces, bay leaves (which I gathered from my little bay tree), chicken stock, rice, leeks, carrots and ground cloves. I had to use commercial stock cubes, which I thought would spoil the natural flavour but the taste wasn't overpowering. I compared The Soup Book recipe to that in another recipe book which was first published in 1980! The older recipe calls for a whole chicken, trussed, and giblets included, but who has time to truss a chicken? I substituted chicken fillets for the chicken breasts and legs, so there were no bones. Prunes also feature as essentials in the older recipe, whereas they were an optional extra in The Soup Book version.
We ate the finished soup about half an hour ago, two members of the family having commented on how good it smelled. It's a thin soup, but the addition of rice gives it substance. It's been snowing he…

Early Adapters - Thanks!

Happy new year to the three people who have had a look at Minnie's Soup Kitchen - D, J and M. D is a follower and I hope he can help me to sort out the difficulty in leaving comments, etc. Thanks for your support, everyone!