Double Helpings of Soup

Allotment Soup 

The recipe for allotment soup by Thane Prince is the first in The Soup Book and in the summer vegetables section. I made it last Wednesday (11th April) in advance of visitors coming the next day, one of whom (a friend of the younger offspring) is a vegetarian. The listed ingredients include dried haricot beans (I used canned cannellini beans), leek, turnip (I don't think I've ever cooked white turnip before), carrots, courgette, celery, potato, tomatoes, garlic and green beans. I increased the quantities stated in The Soup Book, just in case there wasn't enough to go around: I wanted a lot of allotment soup.

The most labour-intensive part of the preparation was dicing the vegetables and I'm glad I avoided soaking dried beans. The only things I had to do to finish the soup for my guests on Thursday were to reheat the soup and add in the fresh green beans and cannellini beans. Five of us sat down to eat and there was far too much soup. My guests said positive things about the soup, but the younger offspring and I weren't so keen. When the spouse arrived home later that day, he was complimentary, so allotment soup is on my "maybe" list.

Sopa de Tortilla

Yesterday (Saturday 14th April) I made sopa de tortilla for the three of us. The spouse obligingly went out in search of the corn tortillas specified in The Soup Book, but could only find wheat tortillas. I went out later and tried a few places, but to no avail.  The recipe also specifies dried poblano chillies, which I hadn't heard of before. When I looked them up on the internet, they were more familiar to me than I'd realised.

The other ingredients for this soup include onion, garlic, tomatoes, stock, fresh coriander and lime juice. I fried the finely chopped onion for a few minutes before adding the garlic. When soft, I whizzed these ingredients with the skinned tomatoes to make a puree. This mixture was then fried. Now I was puzzled. The ingredients list specifies dried chillies, but the instructions state that you place a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the chillies and "press them against the pan with a spatula until they blister. Turn them over and repeat." I think you might do this with fresh chillies so I merely chopped up my dried ones and put the pieces in for the final cooking stage. In the meantime I cut the tortillas into strips and fried them separately. When the soup was cooked, I stirred in the lime juice and coriander, ladled it into the bowls, and topped each serving with tortilla strips and grated Gruyere cheese. The spouse and younger offspring were very enthusiastic although the latter found this sour soup irritated his mouth ulcer (poor child). They want it again so sopa de tortilla is on the make again list.

Beehive at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin

Bee Time 

The spouse and I were out on Friday with' "Ruby" and a few others. She reminded me about this weekend's bee-keeping event (Welcome Back the Bees) at the National Botanic Gardens, so this morning the spouse, younger offspring and I headed across the city to the gardens. The main events had been held yesterday, but we were impressed by our visit nevertheless. 

Dates for your diary:

The Federation of Irish Beekeepers' Associations is holding its annual summer course from 22nd to 27th July at Gormanston College.

Skep at the Welcome Back the Bees Event
The County Dublin Beekeepers' Association's honey show will take place on 3rd November at Christ Church Hall, Rathgar. Their beginners' beekeeping course starts 5th February 2013. 

Honey-dipped points

While at the Welcome Back the Bees event the spouse bought me a jar of honey.  

I am re-reading Josephine Tey's The Singing Sands. I first heard of her at secondary school. An English teacher whose taste I have never questioned recommended The Daughter of Time and when I eventually came across a copy, I loved it and tried to find other books by Tey (see The Franchise Affair). 

So, how does honey come into it? I came across the following passage in The Singing Sands this morning: 

In the sitting-room Tommy was dripping honey on to a hot scone, Laura was pouring tea, Bridget was arranging a new set of objects in a design on the floor, and the terrier was on the make round the table. ... 'Who is Wee Archie?' [Alan] asked, sitting down at the table. 'So you've met Archie Brown, have you?' Tommy said, clapping the top half on his scone, and licking the honey that oozed from it.

That's it for this week. 



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