Beetroot Soup with Goat's Cheese

Beetroot Soup with Goat's Cheese

One of the first soups I made from The Soup Book was Juliet Kindersley's beetroot and apple soup (see blog of 16th January 2010). The other beetroot soup recipes in this book are chilled beetroot and tomato soup, borscht, and beetroot and gin soup.  I wasn't sure about beetroot as it was something I resisted strenuously in my childhood. That said, time passes and tastes change or mature. I passed a vegetable shop last Friday and the beetroot on display outside caught my eye, so yesterday I called into "Young Stephen's" shop (my local green grocery) and bought some. The other ingredients in today's effort (a recipe by Rebecca Sullivan) are tomatoes, apples, olive or sunflower oil (I've used the latter because we're low on the former!), onion, beef stock. The soup can be served hot or cold with Childwilkbury's goat's cheese crumbled on top.

There are two stages in cooking the soup: roasting the tomatoes and apples, then cooking the onion and beetroot. The final liquidised mixture tastes delicious hot, but it's a lovely warm day in Dublin (about 20'C) and so I'm chilling the soup for a late lunch.  I didn't get goat's cheese, but there's a little bit of St Agur left over from a family dinner the spouse and I hosted last Friday night. The spouse (let's call him "Dinks"!) prepared a delicious mixed fish platter to start - crab, prawns and cold salmon - and then went on to present one of our favourite recipes: duck breast pan fried with cinnamon and red currant jelly. Words cannot do it justice. So that was Dinks' work done. Then Minnie stepped into the limelight with key lime pie (not bad for my first attempt) and a fruit salad (juice from oranges and lemons, a drop of a well known orange liqueur, ripe mangos, a small amount of Galia melon, pineapple and strawberries). We finished with a lovely ripe and weeping portion of Brie, some Gubbeen and the aforementioned St Agur.

Beetroot soup chilling in a bowl.

Bees in a Blog

A story in the Irish Times about the walled garden in the Phoenix Park mentioned bees - New arrivals who could bring the badger out in hives (7th April 2011). Another article from the 2nd April, entitled The power of flowers mentions, fleetingly alluded to the joys of planting flowers that attract butterflies and bees. It was accompanied by a photograph of echinacea flowers, which reminded me that I had planted some a couple of years ago in my back garden and really liked the look of them. That year my colour scheme was pink (I'm such a girl at times). Unfortunately, the plants didn't seed or else I mistook the shoots for weeds, so they didn't feature in my garden last summer.

I have to admit that I am not a keen gardener - a lot of gardening jobs are too much like housework for me to really enjoy them - but I do like the garden to be reasonably tidy. The back garden is small and lies at an odd angle to the house, so it's not fully visible from the back windows.

Heavy snowfalls in January, November and December last year ravaged my plants so I had to go out and buy some more. I have planted different types of white roses, a line of lavender (lavandula angustifolia), some herbs (what am I going to do with lovage?) and two echinaceas. I'm looking forward to some more colour in the garden this summer.


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