Fennel Soup with Beans, Thyme and Chorizo

Fennel Soup with Beans, Thyme and Chorizo 

It's been all go in Minnie's kitchen in the last hour. The plan was: go to shop for ingredients, make soup, wait for younger offspring to come home from after-school activities, bring him to a training session, come home later, warm up soup, have dinner and prepare for going away for the weekend. I went to the shops, arrived home, started chopping the vegetables for the soup and then the phone rang. I asked the older offspring to answer it and to tell anyone who was looking for me that I'd ring them back. It was the spouse ringing to let me know the younger offspring was at a friend's house and had hurt himself. By this time I was starting to cook the onion and fennel. I set the older offspring to stirring while I tried to phone the mother of the younger offspring's friend. It took three calls to establish that my child was not seriously injured and the older offspring was dispatched to bring him home (the spouse is away).

Crisis under control, let's return to The Soup Book. The recipe is by Marie-Pierre Moine and calls for dried haricot beans (I've substituted canned beans), onion, fennel, fennel seeds, parsley, thyme and chorizo. I was able to find quite a large fennel and the smell as I chopped it was quite pungent but not unpleasant - a mix of aniseed and onion. The vegetables and herbs are cooked together, then lightly whizzed in a food processor. Meanwhile you chop up the chorizo and fry it separately, to be scattered on top of the soup when you're just about to serve it up. As the soup was simmering away I peeped into the pan a couple of times and wasn't impressed by what I saw. I groaned as I lifted and poured the mixture into the food processor and I sighed as some of the mixture leaked out during the whizzing process. Then I reheated it, ladled it into the warmed soup bowls, dotted it with the chorizo and let my boys eat. It was much better than I expected. "Very nice," said the younger offspring. That's good enough for me.

Busy Bees 

Last night I was watching some of the coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show and there was plenty of news for bee enthusiasts.The Royal Horticultural Society was promoting its Get Your Garden Buzzing campaign and Sarah Raven was advising on the types of plants that attract bees for the Perfect Pollinators project. Apparently bees are attracted to blue flowers.  When I was out shopping for fennel, "Young Stephen" and I got chatting about the Chelsea Flower Show. He didn't see the programme, but he told me that several customers referred to it, one even going so far as to leave behind some plants because they had had double flowers (bees and other insects can't gain access to the pollen). I was pleased that Stephen remembered my quest for chervil. Neither of us have found any chervil plants. He has offered to get me a packet of this elusive herb if I need some. How kind. I'll update you on the Great Chervil Chase.


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