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 here for over a week and cock-a-leekie is a real winter warmer.

On a different topic, I have had a glance at bee keeping in Ireland, following on from my look at www.soilassociation.org. www.irishbeekeeping.ie and www.dublinbees.org are the respective websites of the Federation of Irish Bee-keepers' Associations and the County Dublin Bee-keepers' Assocation. The latter will be starting its annual course next month. I have seen this advertised in recent years and have thought about going along. Maybe not this year.

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