Lovage Soup

Lovage Soup 

Today I made lovage soup, the second recipe by Sophie Grigson in The Soup Book that I have used in the last four days. She introduces the recipe with these remarks: "If you don't grow this old-fashioned herb yourself, ask around among your gardening friends or head down to the nearest garden centre to see if they sell it. " As I mentioned in my last blog entry (18th May), lovage now features among the herbs in my front garden. As the spouse left the camera at home, I took some photographs.

Parsley, sorrel and lovage in Minnie's garden.

Rosemary, parsley and lovage in Minnie's garden.




















 I had hoped to add chervil to my collection of herbs - there's a recipe for vegetable and chervil soup in The Soup Book - but "Young Stephen" wasn't able to source any for me. At least he tried. Just while I'm mentioning Stephen, I have to reveal that the spouse and the older offspring claim that he has been mentioned in my blog more often than either of them. I'm not going to dignify their complaints by counting the references to any of them.

Back to the lovage soup. The other ingredients include butter, onion, potatoes, carrot, stock (I used vegetable stock prepared by the spouse last night), double cream (I substituted Greek yoghurt) and cayenne pepper. The spouse, the younger offspring and I had the soup for lunch. It was really good: subtly tangy. The younger offspring overdid his sprinkling of cayenne pepper but enjoyed the soup nevertheless.


Here are a couple to links to articles about lovage:

What's the Buzz? 

Yesterday I noticed a lot of bees hovering around the chive flowers in my back garden so I ran out with the camera and tried to take some photographs. Anyone who has tried to take pictures of bees will understand my difficulties. Anyway, here is one of the better shots.

Bee on chive in flower
On my way home from work last Friday (20th May) I heard Philip McCabe on the radio talking about a festival taking place in Castlebar this weekend. It's a pity I heard about it so late. The Féile na Tuaithe has been taking place in the grounds of the National Museum of Ireland site at Turlough Park. From the Mayo News website I learned that the festival included a display themed ‘From the Honeybee to the Table’, featuring live bees in observation hives and the making of straw skeps.

During the week I bought a lemon balm plant for the front garden. As I was leafing through a gardening book I read that this plant (Melissa officinalis) is also known as bee balm. However, on trying to verify this, an article on Wikipedia warns against confusing lemon balm with bee balm (Monarda). It does explain that bees are attracted to lemon balm. Here's a link to another article that helps to clarify matters. 

Despite my claims about not being an enthusiastic gardener, I was reading Alan Titchmarsh's How to Be a Gardener. Back to Basics to find some tips on choosing flowers. Here's what he wrote about the development of English gardens:

Until a century ago gardens were for producing food ... The front garden was where you kept hives of bees for honey that could be used for sweetening. Bee-attracting plants were a must!

Until as recently as the end of the last world war, cottage gardens still enabled their owners to be virtually self-sufficient; even today, country gardeners earn pin-money by selling honey, eggs and cut flowers ... as they would have done in Victorian and Edwardian times.

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