Widow's Soup

Widow's Soup

A quick search on the internet comfirms Sophie Grigson's introductory remarks about widow's soup, namely that it is a Maltese soup. That search also throws up lots of recipes, all with different ingredients, so for now I'll stick with those listed in The Soup Book. You'll need onion, potato, cauliflower florets, carrots, a small lettuce (I used gem), fresh or frozen peas, tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, red wine vinegar, eggs and ricotta or goat's cheese (I used the latter).

There was quite a bit of preparation involved, certainly not the seven minutes Sophie suggests. Who are all these fast peelers, skinners and choppers? Despite nearly two and a half years of soup making, I still haven't speeded up. So, after I had prepared my vegetables, I got cooking. I fried the onions until they were soft. Next into the pan were the potato, cauliflower, carrots and lettuce (if you were using fresh peas, you'd throw them in too at this point). I gave them all a quick stir then added the tomatoes, puree, sugar, vinegar and seasoning. Remembering a previous occasion when I used too much water, I barely covered the vegetables with water this time. Once the vegetables were tender, I got ready to put in the eggs. Sophie suggests using a saucer and slipping the eggs in one at a time. As the soup was thick with vegetables, the eggs remained on the surface as they were poached.

Meanwhile, the bowls were warming in the oven. I got out the goat's cheese and cut off three slices. I put a slice into each bowl and carefully added an egg from the soup. Then I ladled in some soup. I didn't know what to expect but it was tastier than I'd expected. I loved the egg yolk breaking into the soup and the flavour of the goat's cheese. The spouse liked it too, and so did the younger offspring, who did his best to get outside the cheese. Another definite on the make again list.

Honey-Dipped Points

There's not much to report this week. I have been up to my tonsils (what's left of them) with other matters and commitments. I re-read Patrick Gale's Friendly Fire, having first read it six years ago. This is my second reference to Gale's novels: I first mentioned him in February 2011 on my return from Japan.

Friendly Fire contains two references to honey spice cake made by Heidi Behrman, the mother of one the three teenagers central to the story. There is also a reference to a tray of honeycomb's possibly being a feudal perk attached to Christmas bell ringing at the school in which the story is set. A search on the internet discloses many possible honey spice cake recipes, but because Heidi is Jewish I have chosen this link to lekach.

That's it for now.



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