Mixed Fungi Soup
Mixed Fungi SoupToday The Soup Book opened practically unaided at this soup recipe! I had planned to make a soup using the stock the spouse made last month from the left-over crudites from our party. (Parsimony or good house keeping?) The ingredients include onion, garlic, flat-leaf parsley (I used the curly-leafed variety available in my garden. I'm a rebel, me. It's there, it's free and the slugs haven't dragged themselves out of the compost bin to feast on it yet), mixed wild mushrooms and nutmeg. The spouse had expressed an interest in going to the farmers' market up in Marlay Park (www.dublintourist.com/details/marlay_park.shtml) and I reminded him about the Dublin Food Co-op (see my blog of 4th March; www.dublinfood.coop/). So then a discussion ensued about which market to go to. The spouse, the younger offspring and I ended up heading into Newmarket Square, me armed with my copy of The Soup Book in case I couldn't get a mix of mushrooms and needed to choose a different recipe. We had lunch at the Co-op - vegetable samosas and bhaji from the tiny little woman I encountered on my last visit. She doesn't have a microwave, and the little oven she had wasn't up to the task of heating things up, so we had to eat our food barely warm on the outside. Delicious nevertheless. The spouse bought some more to go with the curry he'll be cooking for our dinner tonight.
Back to the soup. I bought a mix of shitake, brown cap, flat field and white mushrooms. These are diced before being sauteed in butter with the diced onion and finely chopped garlic - one of my favourite smells! I did this while the stock was thawing in the microwave oven. Next the roux is prepared in a clean saucepan - not one of my favourite tasks. Once all the stock has been blended with the roux, the mushrooms (by this time cooked with milk and nutmeg) are added to the mix. This is brought to the boil then left to simmer for 15-20 minutes. At my first tasting I thought the soup rather insipid, but as it simmered and thickened, it improved.
The first time I made mushroom soup (nearly thirty years ago) it tasted just like the packet soups available at the time and I wondered why I'd bothered. This recipe is a definite improvement.
Memories of Dublin 8
Many years ago we used to live just down the road from Newmarket Square, between Clanbrassil Street and Blackpitts. Lower Clanbrassil Street was still just a two-lane road in those days, and at its junction with Long Lane, Malpas Street and New Street there was a pedestrian-operated traffic light, not the sophisticatedly timed system with the filter light present today. If we were in the car trying to get out of Malpas Street, whoever was in the passenger seat would get out to press the button to turn the traffic light red! We could then head straight on up Long Lane which wasn't a one-way street in those days. Many of the apartment blocks on Wards Hill and New Row South hadn't been built at that time and there were some old "spit on floor" pubs on Clanbrassil Street (Larkin's, The Bunch of Grapes, etc). There were still a number of factories along the main road then, Crow Wilson (now an apartment block called The Warehouse) being one of them. There was also a coal depot, McHenry's, on Clanbrassil Street, now the site of St Patrick's Court apartments. The roads were quiet enough for young boys to go around on horse-drawn carts (the construction of which wouldn't meet today's health and safety standards) selling coal door to door. Then came the introduction of smokeless fuel in Dublin, the disappearance of McHenry's and no more smuts on my washing!
I thought the week would pass without my coming across any mention of bees as I went about my business. Yesterday afternoon, however, on my way home from work I was listening to Derek Mooney and his guests talking about how dandelions seem to be unusually prolific so far this year. The discussion meandered through how resilient this weed is, the derivation of its name (from the Latin and French for "tooth of the lion") and its pollination by bees. Philip McCabe (see my blog of 28th March) then talked about the use of dandelions as a diuretic and in dandelion syrup, which, he said, can be indistinguishable from honey. Having just looked up recipes for dandelion syrup, I now feel guilty for getting the spouse to put weed killer on the dandelions in our front garden.