Sweetcorn Chowder

Sweetcorn Chowder 

Today I have made my seventieth soup from The Soup Book. The recipe is by Celia Brooks Brown and calls for fresh corn on the cob, bay leaves, onion, sage, thyme, carrot, celery, potato, cream cheese, cream and paprika. It always gives me a little thrill when I gather the herbs that I have grown myself! My thyme and sage plants are doing surprisingly well this year and perhaps I'm imagining it, but during cooking they are much more aromatic than pre-packed leaves.

The recipe states that the "prep" time for the sweetcorn chowder is just ten minutes. I need to speed up my gathering, washing, peeling and chopping. The chowder was supposed to take thirty minutes to cook, but it wasn't that straightforward. Apart from preparing the vegetables, you then have to strip the corn kernels from the cob and set them aside while you simmer the cobs with the bay leaves. Then you cook the onions, adding the other herbs, carrot, celery and potato. While these are cooking, you need a third saucepan for cooking the corn kernels. In the final stage of the recipe you add the cream cheese and milk and then puree the mix before adding the cooked kernels. Yes, I had to lug the food processor out. (I'm just wondering would it be easier if I had a separate liquidiser with a bigger jug.) You can choose between pureeing the kernels in the soup mix or not. I let the spouse decide: he opted for pureed kernels. 

Then it was tiime for dinner. The younger offspring had been at a birthday party and was full to the brim with burgers, so it was the three older members of the family sitting down for the sweetcorn chowder. It's a rich and creamy soup, and we all enjoyed it. I've marked it as one to make again.

Seventy Soups and Counting

I'm pleased with my progress through The Soup Book this year. As you can see from the graph to the left, the highest proportion of recipes in the book are in the Summer Vegetables section (fifty-eight all together). So far I've made twenty-three of them (approximately forty per cent). In order to have made even progress in all sections of the book, I need to catch up in the Winter Vegetables, Pulses and Nuts, Fish and Shellfish, and Fruit sections. By the end of December 2010 I had made forty soups, so I've obviously speeded up since then. All going well, I should reach my centenary soup by the end of this year.

Bee is for Books 

I am still reading Dermot Healy's Long Time, No See. According to my electronic book-reader, I am forty per cent of the way through. I have just under two weeks until my next book group meeting, so I'd better get on with it. I recently read a scene in which the narrator's mother prepares some soup for a family event. My reader enables me to search the e-book for specific words and phrases such as "bee", "honey" and "soup". I did consider doing that in order to fill my blog entry and to impress my readers (do I have any?) with my attention to detail. I decided, however, that I like to come across my search terms in course of my reading. I'll stick to the old ways for now.

Now to get good value out of my recent birthday present (Collins Beekeepers' Bible). Here are a few lines from The Honeybee in Myth and Symbol:

Honey has been said to have special qualities since ancient times. The earlies mention of bees and honey in sacred writings appears in the ancient Indian Hindu text the Rig-Veda, complied around 1500-1000 BC. Both honey and the alcoholic drink that we know as mead feature frequently, each emanating from the gods and being offered up to them.

Having read that, I had to see what I could find out about the Rig Veda and honey. Here you are:

Let every wind that blows drop honey. Let the rivers and streams recreate honey. Let all our medicines turn honey. Let the dawn and evening be full of honey. Let the dark particles be converted to honey. Our nourisher, this sky above, be full of honey. Let our trees be honey. Let the Sun be honey. Let our cows secrete honey. (Rig Veda, 1:90:6-8)
 And to end, I have just started to follow another bee-related blog - Linda's Bees.


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