Mussel and Saffron Soup

Mussel and Saffron Soup 

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Yes, yesterday's soup was a triumph! The recipe by Rosemary Shrager, from the fish section of The Soup Book, was easy to follow and didn't require extraordinary ingredients: dry white wine, mussels, saffron, onion, garlic, leek, carrots, celeriac, butter, cream and curry powder. The spouse kindly sorted out the mussels for me, claiming they were surprisingly noisy. Chills ran down my murderous spine at the thought of the helpless little beasts.

Mussel and saffron soup
My own preparation involved slicing and chopping the vegetables and deciding whether to use double or light cream in view of this household's concern about cholesterol levels. There's no point in holding back when making a luxury soup, so double cream it was. The first part of the cooking involved - the faint-hearted should look away now - killing the mussels in white wine and stock. They were set aside while I gently cooked the vegetables. Then the stock (now enhanced with flavours from the mussels) was poured back into the pan, then the cream and curry powder were stirred in, and finally the mussels were returned to the pan.

The spouse and I sat down to eat. Definitely one of our favourites, definitely one to be made another day. I reheated some earlier today for my lunch: still good.

Bee is for Benson

I am delighted to be able to mention a bee reference that I came across in one of my favourite books of all time. Nearly thirty years ago I discovered the Mapp and Lucia novels by E F Benson, which were originally published in the 1920s and 1930s. I have re-read them several times and they have never failed to amuse me. Once upon a time I had the complete set of six published by Black Swan in the 1980s but Miss Mapp was lost. I obtained my current copy (not a Black Swan) eleven years ago.

In the extract below the eponymous Elizabeth Mapp has stopped on Tilling High Street to talk to the clergyman Mr Kenneth Bartlett.

'Yes; Tuesday morning,' said Miss Mapp. 'I pay all my household books on Tuesday. ...Little duties in all directions! And you; you're always busy! Such a busy bee!'
'Busy B? Busy Bartlett, quo' she! Yes, I'm a busy B today, Mistress Mapp. ...No time for a walk today, let alone a bit turn at the gowf [golf].'
Miss Mapp saw her opening, and made a busy bee-line for it. 

Bee Brief

I bought a card yesterday simply because it had an illustration of a bee skep (or skip - the title used on the card). I couldn't find it on the internet, but while searching came across this link to Chris Slade's bee blog.

That's it for this weekend.



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