Bean and Rosemary Soup

 Bean and Rosemary Soup 

Yesterday morning (Saturday 5th March), just as the spouse was getting ready to go shopping, I thought about what soup I would make and when. We've had a busy weekend - gardening, a post-confirmation party, more gardening, a voucher from M&S to spend and more gardening - so I also had to think about when I would get around to making the soup.  This morning seemed the most likely time, so I forewent a long leisurely lie on for the sake of the blog.

In the course of my recent review of what soups I had made, I observed that I hadn't made anything from the pulses and nuts section for a while - since last October, in fact - so plumped for bean and rosemary soup on the basis that I wouldn't have to soak beans overnight. The ingredients for this soup include onions, chopped fresh rosemary and sage leaves, celery, garlic, tomato puree, canned borlotti beans, chicken stock and 2.5kg potatoes.

It took me about half an hour to get the ingredients ready. I ended up with a big heap of potato chunks so I got out my very big dekshee. The first stage of making this soup involves cooking the onions in olive oil then adding seasoning, the herbs, celery and garlic. This mix is cooked for ten minutes, during which time the aroma is delicious. In the second stage of cooking you add the tomato puree and beans, then the stock and potatoes. I was surprised at the ratio of liquid to potatoes and re-checked the quantities I had used. No, I wasn't wrong. The resulting soup was thick, more like a stew than a soup. There are tips in the techniques section of The Soup Book for rescuing soups that are too thin, too thick, stringy or lumpy, or too salty. I decided to leave it as it was and we had it as an accompaniment to our dinner this evening - lamb chops, green beans and potato soup. It was tasty nevertheless. Even the younger offspring, who is very prickly about potatoes, remarked that he liked the soup. Praise indeed.

In the course of making the soup this morning I also made vegetable stock using The Soup Book's recipe and a banana and Brazil nut loaf using a recipe from my Martha Day Baking book. All the while I was listening to my two Madeleine Peyroux albums, Bare Bones and Careless Love. As I listened to her voice the word "mellifluous" came to mind, which is apt, given one of the themes of this blog.

Honey-Dipped Points 

When looking for things to write about in the bee and honey section of my blog I came across some lovely photos of bees and flowers on the Habitat Aid website. If you follow the links you will find this charity's suggestions for plants that attract honeybees and other pollinators. You can also find suggestions for a Roman bee garden and it was on that webpage that I came across references to Virgil and Pliny. I have already mentioned Virgil in earlier blogs, but not Pliny. When searching for more information about him and his references to bees, I came across these links:
I also looked up honey fairs and came across the Conwy Honey Fair mentioned in the University of Sheffield's National Fairground Archive. Conwy is just a skip across the Irish Sea from me. Maybe I'll get to the honey fair, wrote the person who hasn't made it just up the road to an annual honey fair in Dublin! More exotic than Conwy is Buenos Aires, where the biannual Apimondia congress of beekeepers is taking place at the end of September this year.

Finally, the beebox is ready. I applied a couple of layers of teak oil and when it was dry put it out in the back garden. I put in the bamboo canes I had prepared. I haven't prepared enough, but I will cut some more lengths over the next few months.

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