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, and kept a colony of bees in his sitting room, the better to study their habits" (p470).

Bee Box - Things are humming 

Now that I am recording my activities and goals, I have to get my finger out. On Wednesday I was working from home and I spoke to the older offspring about getting on with making a bee box (see blogs of 24th July and 8th August). When he got back from his daytime occupation, we walked down the road to a nearby wood supplier, armed with my print-outs.  After some discussion, during which I was unable to convince the sales assistant about the satanic potential of Jack Russell terriers, I ended up spending €45 on a plank of mahogany!!! I'm still in shock. The older offspring was in league with the evil Jack Russell owning assistant and didn't try to prevent me from buying this mahogany plank. He thinks we should be able to get three bee boxes out of it. Is that allowing for my being unable to saw straight?
He carried the plank home. We have decided that when the box (or boxes) are completed, we'll protect them with linseed oil before setting it (or them) free in the back garden and/or some other location. There's no rush to make them - I read somewhere that spring is the best time to put bee boxes out - but if I don't draw up a schedule for the older offspring, his other interests will take priority. Just as they take priority over tidying his room and bringing his washing down. He reads this blog so I'm smirking already. 

It's funny about honey ... 

This morning the spouse suggested that we go to the farmers' market at Marlay Park.  It was a lovely morning and so off we went. We called in en route to Feeney's Fish on Barton Drive off the Grange Road (the spouse's second favourite fish shop at present). I saw samphire for sale, something I'd never heard of until recently when someone talked about it on Sunday Miscellany. I said this and the fishmonger himself gave me a bag of samphire free of charge! He suggested blanching it for 90 seconds - I did so when I got home and it was very tasty. I can imagine it going well with poached eggs.
Having digressed to the fish shop, we continued on to the farmers' market. At one stall the spouse bought me two jars of Vila Vella honey, lavender and wild oak flavours.  We asked the stall holder if he used the honey himself and he told us about coating lamb with honey, covering it with straw and baking it overnight in a pit. He also told us that the honey came from Catalonia and when I asked him if bees were dwindling there, he said they were. Another customer joined the conversation, telling me that bees are dwindling because of mobile phones. What can I say?

A sting in the tale

I was feeling very mischievous during the week. The Irish Times is running a limerick competition and contestants must use an Irish place name in the opening line. Inspired by the story about the man who was arrested in Carlow for writing on a church wall (see Carlow Nationalist and last Sunday's Independent), I came up with the following (but haven't submitted it):


A writer of doggerel from Carlow
Aspired to be Shakespeare or Marlow
But Swift was his end
And the law was no friend
When he defaced a church with his biro.

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