Redoubling My Efforts

As I have been away for the last two weekends I thought I had better make up for lost time this weekend. I've made two quite different soups, which was a huge undertaking as I am still jet-lagged and bleary-eyed! In case you're wondering, I was in Japan.

Chicken Soup with Pasta

The recipe for chicken soup with pasta (my forty-fifth soup outing) calls for chicken drumsticks, a mix of chopped vegetables (I used carrots, broccoli, green beans and leeks) and soup vermicelli. I wasn't sure what soup vermicelli was as opposed to ordinary vermicelli, which is what I eventually used.

We had it for dinner last night (Saturday 5th February). The younger offspring, who is also still jet-lagged, was almost falling asleep while eating his. Neither the spouse nor I found this particular soup appetising, but we did feel it was healthy because of all the vegetables. The older offspring enjoyed it - he's very sporty and is quite careful about his diet. Except for when I bake. Or when there is chocolate in the house.

Cauliflower Soup with Toasted Coriander

This cauliflower soup recipe is another contribution to The Soup Book by Roopa Gulati. Among the ingredients are coriander seeds, onion, potato, cauliflower, vegetable stock, a bay leaf, streaky bacon, milk and cream. The coriander seeds are "roasted" in a frying pan for one minute then ground to a coarse powder. The smell was fantastic. Another delicious smell arose from the grilled bacon rashers.

The almost finished soup is liquidised before the final ingredients are added. We sat down to our lunch and I left the spouse and offspring to add their own chopped bacon (vegetarians can substitute croutons and Parmesan cheese). Despite the presence of coriander, the soup could have been bland but the bacon saved it. The spouse and I also tried a second portion with Parmesan sprinkled on top - another way of preventing the soup from disappearing on the tongue.

What's the Buzz?

While I was away I read "The Whole Day Through" by Patrick Gale. I have enjoyed reading Gale's novels since I first read "The Aerodynamics of Pork" in the 1980s. I like his quirkly characters and the romantic aspects. Anyway, his bee-related references in "The Whole Day Through" are as follows:
  • A description of Laura (one of the main characters): "How could he ever have thought she was funny-looking? With her honey-brown limbs and long neck she was lovely to him now, ..."
  • A description of Laura's mother's garden: "The sun had been shining all day so their little oasis was rich with the scents of sunbaked lavender and sweet peas. Bees were becoming noisily drunk in two great potted stands of candidum lilies that framed the sitting area."
  • A description of a gathering storm: "The weather had changed in their hour in the cathedral. Clouds had rolled in and the air, so honeyed earlier, had become prickly and oppressive." 
On the day we were travelling to Tokyo there was an article in The Guardian magazine about the plant Helleborus foetidus. The plant is described as providing "a rare nectar source" for bees in late winter and early spring.

On the flight home, while leafing through the in-flight magazine I saw an advertisement for a bee pendant in silver by Alex Monroe. It looked quite pretty but I'm not sure I could wear it.


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