Double Delight

This weekend Minnie's kitchen has been a hive of activity. I've made two soups: cotriade (a Breton fish soup) and French onion soup. The recipe for the cotriade is by Marie-Pierre Moine and I made it for the family dinner yesterday. It contains potatoes, onions, light fish stock, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, and mixed fish (the spouse bought a mixture of salmon, haddock, smoked haddock and cod). It was quite simple to make but, as usual, took longer than stated in The Soup Book. The onions are softened, then the stock, potatoes and herbs are added. The fish is put in later when the potatoes are almost cooked. While the fish is cooking, you prepare a dressing to spread on thick slices of country bread. The dressing (oil, Dijon mustard, seasoning, vinegar and parsley) is spread on the the bread and placed in the soupbowls. The soup is then ladled on to the bread. The three older members of the family really enjoyed it, with the bigger offspring saying he'd eat it again.
Bread with dressing before the cotriade is poured in.

French onion soup
The second soup was made for a lunch party the spouse and I hosted earlier today. There were nine of us at the table, including MH, "Ruby", "Vic", and our various offspring. I doubled the quantities of the ingredients (onions, red wine, beef stock, etc) and so it took even longer than I had anticipated. I willingly got out my food processor this morning to avoid any tears - well, thinly slicing three pounds of onions is bound to be upsetting.

To finish French onion soup, once you've ladled it into your bowls, you usually top it with a croute,  which in turn is topped with grated Gruyere or Emmental cheese. The whole lot is placed under a hot grill so that the cheese melts over the croute. There wouldn't have been room for me to do nine bowls, so I put the cheese-topped croutes on the grillpan and toasted them before arranging them in the ladled out soup. For soup with fairly simple ingredients, it's certainly impressive.The spouse had his usual success roasting lamb and making gravy but I think my two desserts stole the show!

Blueberry and praline cream tart
Honey-Dipped Points

 MH kindly brought me an article from the French newspaper, Le Monde, published on the 8th July: "Le miel de Paris, une production en hausee." My French is very rusty so I hope am I correct in saying the article is about how bees are faring better in cities than in the countryside due to the lower rate of pesticide use. The Union Nationale d'Apiculture Francaise (UNAF) has launched a programme concerned with placing hives in cities and towns in order to save beekeeping in the country.
Raspberry and hazelnut meringue

In yesterday's Irish Times there was an item on an anthology of poems called The Bee-Loud Glade (a line from W B Yeats' poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree) published by an Irish poetry press.

Now, it's been a long day and a busy weekend, so I'll sign off. Oh, one final thing (and nothing to do with soup, bees or honey). If you want to eat cheaply and well in Dublin, take a look at this blog - Eat for a Fiver.


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