German Chicken Broth

German Chicken Broth

According to the introductory lines in The Soup Book, this recipe is "based on a Thuringian vegetable soup" and "requires a good-quality, well-flavoured chicken stock, so make your own for best results." The last batch of chicken stock made in this house had pork chop bones added to it, so that's the stock I've used. The other ingredients are green beans, carrots, kohlrabi and mangetout or sugar snap peas: the finished broth is garnished with cream and finely chopped chervil.

Kohlrabi is also known as German turnip (rassica oleracea L. Gongylodes group). Of course, when I'm not looking for them, I see them in the shops but on the day when I want to buy some, I can't find them. So I substituted ordinary (white) turnips. They might even be just what I wanted. I bought them at the green grocer's cum garden centre (tiny) cum bistro (more below). The broth is cooked. The recipe is very simple: once the stock is heated up you add the various vegetables every five minutes, starting with the beans, followed by the carrots and kohlrabi, and finishing with the mangetout. We'have it for lunch tomorrow. It's a little bland but maybe the addition of cream will give it a bit of a kick.

P.S. (Added Sunday 30th May) We had the German chicken broth for our lunch today. All enjoyed it although the older offspring said he would have liked actual chicken in it. The broth definitely improved from standing overnight and the addition of cream helped too.
Was it an omen for the Eurovision Song Contest that I chose to make something with the word "German" in the title? Is Germany now the only country that can afford to host the song contest next year?

Lavender's blue, dilly dilly

While at the local green grocer's I also bought a couple of Primula vialli for the back garden. Last weekend when the weather was glorious the spouse bought me two lavender plants (lavandula stoechas or French lavender) and some white nemesia and blue campanula. I have a lavandula Madrid, which is looking very pretty this year. It survived the prolonged cold, unlike the other plants we bought last year (kangaroo paw, delphiniums, etc). And the plants bought last year replaced those crushed when our old garden wall was knocked down to clear the way for a new fence. This year my plan was to have mainly purple and white flowers, but I bought a couple of bright pink geraniums at a parish fete last weekend, so my scheme has gone awry. I was planning to buy a couple of rose trees and standard fuchsia but haven't got around to that task yet. It's not easy to track them down. I wonder if they'll have them at Bloom in the Phoenix Park next weekend.

Lavender is one of those plants that attracts bees, and in the good weather we had all last week I saw a few in the garden. They also hovered around the chive flowers.

I have just been trying to find a link to a nice version of the song "Lavender's Blue (Dilly, Dilly)" to the tune that I know and without any chatty introduction, but no luck. So here's a link to a film of lavender fields in Provence, France. -

Faffing with muffins

Last weekend I baked a selection of muffins for the parish fete: banana and raisin, banana and pecan, pecan and maple, and cinnamon blueberry. Since finishing the soup I have cooked a chicken curry for tonight's dinner and another batch of pecan and maple muffins for home consumption. Mmmm! They smell delicious. I'd better finish now as the younger offspring is waiting for me go into the living room to watch the Eurovision Song Contest with him. The things we do for the love of our children!

Bee Nesters

During the week, an advertisement in the Irish Times Readers Offers supplement caught my eye - it was for ceramic bee nesters or skeps. According to the text in the advert, skeps were "originally made from straw or wicker," and the one on offer "is a modern interpretation of a centuries old design conceived to provide an attractive and functioning wildlife item suitable for any modern garden. Beautiful in its appearance, it can help provide a safe and dry nesting site for these beneficial garden pollinators." I thought to myself, "Could I put one in my back garden? What's involved? How much space do I need" So of course I had to find out more.

In the course of my internet search I came across this website - Martin A Newton Skep Beehives. What caught my interest were the photographs of the skeps he had made and the story of how he became involved in making skeps. There are also links with intriguing titles like Running a honey show and Make your own 16th century beekeeper's clothes! From this site I moved on to the website of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, where I came across lines from Virgil's Georgics (see blogs of 16th January and 2nd April):

Some say that unto Bees a share is given
Of the Divine Intelligence.


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