Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from August, 2010

Fennel and Apple Soup

Fennel and Apple Soup 
This morning I decided to make fennel and apple soup - no particular reason. It looked straightforward. From the ingredients listed - spring onions, garlic, fennel, celery, a cooking apple and vegetable stock - all I needed was fennel and the apple.  Off went the spouse to the shopping centre. After a while came the text: "No fennel." The spouse is very pleased with the new green grocer up at the shopping centre. He finds him very obliging and chatty. The green grocer had no fennel, having thrown the previous day's supply away. The spouse would have taken even that, saying it was "only for soup." Only for soup? Harrumph! Anyway, the green grocer explained that fennel doesn't keep well. According to Celia Brooks Brown's introduction to the recipe, fennel will store better in the fridge if you remove the feather fronds. (I hadn't heard of Celia before but she has her own website.)
I went down to the local green grocer's plac…

Chickpea Soup

Chickpea Soup
Yesterday (Saturday 21st August) I made chickpea soup. The spouse and the younger offspring were away camping in the west of Ireland, so I had to do the shopping, make the soup and cook the dinner myself. The choice had to be something quick and easy to prepare. Furthermore, I wanted to shift the cans of chickpeas that have been languishing in the cupboard (the spouse objects to this, saying they've only been there a week). The recipe calls for dried chickpeas to be soaked overnight but I didn't feel like making that much effort. The only overnight work I did was to thaw out a leg of chicken. The introductory text for this recipe mentions Shaun Hill of The Walnut Tree, near Abergavenny, who states that the chicken "makes this a questionable dish for your vegetarian friends - unless you are an accomplished liar." 
Apart from chickpeas and chicken, other ingredients that go into this soup are olive oil, celery, onion, leek, garlic, white wine and lemon juic…

Pear and Stilton Soup

Pear and Stilton Soup


Pear and Stilton was the perfect soup to make on a busy day. It was quick to prepare and took only twenty minutes or so to cook.  The ingredients include onion, unsalted butter, pears, chicken stock, Stilton cheese, lemon juice and chopped chives. The younger offspring was elsewhere, so it was left to the spouse, the older offspring and me to taste and appraise.  I liked it and the testosterone-fuelled ones enjoyed it too. What more can I say?

Bee Brief 
Here are a couple of items I came across during the week.

Smart bees are facing lethal threat (Irish Independent, 19th July 2010)I'm not quite sure what this Irish website is called but the people behind it seem to be involved in bee keeping and selling hives. Check out the blog. Agroscope - The Swiss Bee Research Centre. From Bill Bryson's At Home - A Short History of Private Life: "[John Lubbock, a banker and keen entomologist who was known to Charles Darwin] had a particular interest in insects, an…

Crab Bisque

Crab Bisque
If you'd asked me last weekend which soup I'd be making next, I wouldn't have have said crab bisque.  The choice was made because last Friday (6th August) the spouse fortuitously spotted and bought a pair of frozen crabs from his new favourite fish shop on Upper Rathmines Road. As soon as I saw them, I thought "Soup!" and looked up crab recipes in The Soup Book.  There are two options - the bisque and gazpacho.The latter requires clams or mussels, so we chose the former and began thawing the crabs ready for cooking yesterday afternoon.

There is quite a lot of preparation involved in this recipe - crab meat to remove from shells, onions, carrots, celery, leeks, fennel, ginger and garlic to chop, as well as cooking, blending and sieving - so I called upon the younger offspring's pair of hands.  I bashed the crab shells with my rolling pin and cracked open the legs with the kitchen scissors so that the child labourer could prise out the meat.Then in…

Broad Bean and Mint Soup

Broad bean and mint soup
Today's soup making process was not an unqualified success but I learned from it.  I chose to make broad bean and mint soup and yesterday the spouse duly tracked down and bought the broad bean pods as instructed.  I got out two pints of home made chicken stock to defrost, noting that the supplies were running low. This morning the spouse brought the younger offspring out for a walk in Dun Laoghaire and I got up after Sunday Miscellany to start on the soup preparations. My mistake was to interpret the the instructions to mean that I was to use the pods, not the beans themselves. The recipe (one of Sophie Grigson's) says: "...Skin each bean by slitting the tough outer skin with a fingernail or a small sharp knife ..." For some reason I pictured runner beans and the way you have to remove the "thread" from them. So, having blanched the pods, I pushed out the beans, discarded them and prepared the pods for cooking. I then pre…