Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Today's recipe from The Soup Book is by Clodagh McKenna, an Irish writer. The first time I ever heard the name Clodagh was when a Northern Irish singer called Clodagh Rodgers represented the United Kingdom in the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest. She sang "Jack in the Box" and wore hot pants. I was thinking about the contest because I heard during the week that Engelbert Humperdinck will represent the UK this year. My interest in him stems from a shared Anglo-Indian heritage and that fact that he was born in Madras (now Chennai), as was my father. One of my siblings once asked Dad if Engelbert came from the other side of the jungle to him!

Butternut squash soup: yum!
So, back to the soup. Butternut squash. Mmm. Can be hard work to get through the skin. Can be bland. Should I avoid it or just get on with it? I didn't feel like making anything too complicated and this recipe looked straightforward. I cut into the squash and chopped it up before preparing the onion and garlic. These ingredients were then sweated in butter for a little longer than the prescribed fifteen minutes.   Next I grated in some nutmeg.  Too lazy to check if we had home-made chicken stock in the freezer I used commercial cubes for the stock. When the squash was tender enough, I added cream then whizzed the lot in the blender. The spouse and younger offspring joined me in the kitchen for lunch. The boy commented that the soup smelt delicious. For him to say so, then it must have. The three of us sat and supped. "Yum," said the spouse, drawing on his full treasure chest of compliments. Yes, it was yum, actually!

Book Buzz - The Dark Side

My latest reads have been concerned with the dark side of life. Julie Myerson's Then is set in post-apocalyptic London. Published last year, it is a disturbing account of a woman suffering with post-natal depression and post-traumatic stress  as she tries to make sense of what has happened around her and of her own actions. Tucked away among the unsettling flashbacks are a couple of references to honey. As the narrator cuddles her youngest daughter, she notes that the child's hair "is damp and cold but it still smells like honey." Later on in the book she recalls an afternoon spent watching videos with her children: "We watched as if our lives depended on it. After a while I got up and made honey sandwiches and they all drank milk."

Ruth Rendell has been one of my favourite authors for almost thirty years! In terms of entertainment and page-turning value, The Keys of the Street was very successful. I could hardly bear to put it down while at the same time I tried not to reach the end too quickly. This book is also set in London, but not in the aftermath of some devastating event. There is heatwave. The following quote is from 79% of the way into the book (according to my e-reader): "... [A] bumble bee's "throbbing buzz, alternately terrified and reassured, awoke her [Mary, the main protagonist]. She lay watching it until at last it found a way to freedom through where the curtains met."

Further on, Hob (another character in the book) wakes up after a drugs binge to see "the mice flee, scurrying for the honeycombed skirting board."

That's all for now. Other things to do.



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