Porcini Mushroom Soup

Porcini Mushroom Soup

I think it's been a while since I made a tomato-based soup from The Soup Book. This weekend's effort is porcini mushroom soup, described as a "hearty Italian country soup [with] deep, earthy flavours." The ingredients are dried porcini, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, chestnut mushrooms, celery, chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, seasoning and ciabatta. Once I had the ingredients out on the worktop, I left the porcini soaking while I chopped the herbs and other vegetables. Then I started to cook the onions in the olive oil, but became sidetracked by another activity and the spouse had to rescue the onions. My hero! The next ingredients into the pot were the herbs, garlic, chestnut mushrooms and celery. The smell of the herbs was intense. The celery having softened, I put in the tomatoes, porcini, stock and the soaking liquor from the porcini (it's suggested that you strain this through a fine sieve as there may be bits of straw or dirt in it). I left it simmering for forty-five minutes, then turned off the heat. The next step is to break pieces of stale ciabatta or other crusty bread into the mixture and leave it to stand for ten minutes.

I was alone in the house, the spouse having gone to watch a rugby match and the younger offspring to the cinema. My bowl was well warmed for the soup. It was very good, the sort of thing you want to eat after a strenuous walk in the cold. When the two lads returned from their various outings, I served them their soup. The younger offspring had a sore throat and couldn't do it justice, but the spouse liked it.

Christmas Spirit

We nearly ready for Christmas in this house. I love it all: planning the presents, doing the shopping, getting the decorations up, looking at recipes, going to carol services, the music in the air, and the poignant reminders that Christmas is not a happy time for everyone. 

The first Christmas event I attended this year was Music at Brighton Road. I had my first mince pies of the season (cold, unfortunately). I was at three other events during the last week, including a Christmas-themed quiz. Yesterday morning was a first for me: I helped to decorate the parish church in preparation for this evening's carol service. My decorating partner and I resisted attempts by the queen decorator to overdress our assigned window ledge! 

Later this week my sister Jay-Zo and her partner arrive and the older offspring returns home for the Christmas break. The spouse and I were looking at recipes for the visitors. We're doing turkey, ham and the usuals, but I have a chestnut soup from The Soup Book lined up. 

That's it for now. 

Wishing you a happy Christmas and thinking of those for whom the season will bring mixed feelings. 



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