Maple-Roasted Carrot and Ginger Soup

Maple-roasted carrot and ginger soup 

Well, I'm back in the kitchen making soup after the Baltic holiday. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try any authentic Baltic soups - it was far too hot - but I hope to go back again one winter.Today in Dublin has been very strange in terms of the weather - overcast this morning, then lashing rain, now it seems to be warm and sunny.  I digress.

Today I have made maple-roasted carrot and ginger soup.  It contains carrots (lots of them) cut into "roughly little-finger-sized pieces". I like this sort of measurement, even though it requires the standardisation of little fingers. The other ingredients are onions, stem ginger "cut into matchsticks", garlic, sunflower oil, maple syrup, chicken or vegetable stock, optional squeezes of lemon juice, salt and pepper, and lovage.  Sophie Grigson advises that if you can't find lovage (and I don't recall ever seeing it anywhere), use chopped chives to finish.  Having just had a little search on the internet, I've learned that lovage is related to and can taste like celery, and has medicinal properties.

Preparing this soup was quite time consuming.  I couldn't get maple syrup when I went to the supermarket this morning, so headed down to the local green grocer's (see blogs of 5th June and 11th March) where I asked "young Stephen" why maple syrup is so expensive. It cost €9.95 today and I'm sure the last time I bought some a few months ago it was around €7.  He says it's to do with the grading of the syrup and all he had in stock was grade 2 organic maple syrup. Oh well. 

Just going back to non-standard measures, the recipe in The Soup Book calls for a 4cm or 1.75in piece of stem ginger. I have yet to find stem ginger in any form other than a sphere, so how do I get a 4cm piece out of that? Anyway, I used two balls of stem ginger.

The chopped carrots, onions, ginger and garlic are coated in the sunflower oil and maple syrup and roasted in a hot oven for about an hour.  They smell delicious as they cook. Then they are liquidised with half the stock, before adding the remaining stock and heating. The lemon juice is optional in case "you find the sweetness too intense." The quantity made serves eight, so I'm freezing two pints of it.

Book group buzz 

The book group is to read Joseph O'Connor's Ghost Light (Harvill Secker, 2010) for our next meeting in September.  I read it while I was away. I didn't enjoy the first few chapters - I thought them over-written - but then became absorbed in the story. It's a good book, but not a great book! If I get a chance, I might re-read it before the next meeting.  I only mention it here because of the bee references and metaphors, of course:
  • "But for a woman [actor], once she has offended by outliving the age of childbirth, the roles disappear as honeybees in winter" (p30). 
  • "Oh the air lividly murmurous with bees and wasps" (p98). 
  • "The nave is cold and dark. Candles burn before the statues. The odour of beeswax and incense" (p179). 
  • "She is a girl out of a novel of Somerset or Wessex, as heartbreakingly lovely as an English cornfield in August ... If a boy kissed her lips in a summertime orchard, ... he'd remember it every time he heard bees" (p200).
French Connection

Many thanks to MH for sending me this information:

Closer to home ...

... It's time to be(e) thinking about getting the bees ready for winter. Irish Seed Savers (see blog of 20th June) are offering a one-day workshop on the 19th September:  "Part of the workshop will take place in the apiary (weather permitting).  Beesuits supplied." Click here for more information. I've no reason not to go and I would like to try on a beesuit ...

Finally, I was listening to the Mooney Show on the radio yesterday afternoon and Philip McCabe was on talking about bees. Unfortunately, I couldn't hear it all because of the noise coming from the younger offspring and his buddies. When the podcast is up on the web, I'll add the link.

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