Triple Whammy!

Soup Review

Mixed mushrooms
Since my last post on 13th November I have made three soups: mushroom soup (on the 17th), Thai chicken soup (18th November) and garbure (25th November). All that activity has meant I've now completed 149 soups since I started working my way through the recipes in The Soup Book back in December 2009. Nearly three years after I made spinach and rosemary soup I can hardly believe I'm three quarters of the way through the book. I am not sure that I will get through all the recipes and so will change my approach to making soup. I may make it less frequently and try out soup recipes from other cookery books that the spouse and I own. We'll see.


Mixed mushrooms: chopped and cooking
The spouse and I now have a new favourite vegetable shop. It's not cheap nor is it especially convenient to get to from where we live, but the selection of fresh fruit and vegetables and other produce is impressive. The spouse has been talking about this place for a few weeks and so I decided to give it a go. I had been planning to stop working exclusively to The Soup Book once I'd used 150 recipes, mainly because I was unsure where I would get some of the more unusual ingredients such as samphire (needed for samphire soup with poached eggs). This shop may help resolve some of my dilemmas.

Mushroom Soup

Mushroom soup with Minnie's horseradish cream

Back to my recent soups. The ingredients for the mushroom soup (soup number 147) included a mixture of fresh mushrooms, onion, garlic, celery, potato, stock and parsley. It was a very simple soup to make: onion, celery and garlic fried in butter; mushrooms added, then the potatoes and stock; finally, everything was blended. I wasn't sure what horseradish cream was, so I mixed a teaspoonful of commercial horseradish sauce into a little cream and hoped for the best. The soup was delicious. Even the younger offspring who doesn't really like mushrooms heartily approved of this effort. Definitely to be made again.

Limes and chillies for the Thai chicken soup
Thai Chicken Soup

The next day I made the Thai chicken soup according to Shaun Hill's recipe. Ingredients included lemongrass, galangal (the first time I have ever used this and I didn't have enough so I topped up with ginger), kaffir lime leaves, a leg of chicken, chillies, coconut milk, nam pla (fish sauce), lime juice, spring onions and coriander leaves. It was a fiddly recipe and none of us were overwhelmed by the final result. Another one for the maybe list.

Thai chicken soup
















Garbure

Getting ready for garbure
The latest recipe was garbure, a traditional soup from south-western France. A search on the internet was enlightening. It seems that there are lots of different recipes and this one by Marie-Pierre Moine may not be typical. She lists the following ingredients: lardons or pancetta, onion, garlic, a leg confit of duck, stock, Savoy cabbage, carrot, celery, leek, a floury potato, pimenton picante or smoked paprika, ground cumin, thyme, parsley and haricot beans. My preparation for this soup began last weekend when I bought a cheap half duck. During the week the spouse duly made the confit leg that I would need and I set to work this weekend.

I fried the chopped bacon (no pancetta again!) in my smaller dekshee then removed it and left it to one side. Next in were the chopped onion and crushed garlic. While these were cooking I began preparing the confit leg of duck. I removed the skin and shredded the meat before putting it into the dekshee with the onion and garlic. Having then added the stock, cabbage, carrot, celery, leek and potato, I seasoned the mix and threw in the herbs and spices. Half an hour later I mashed the beans (I used black-eyed beans as I couldn't find haricots) and stirred them into the soup. Just before we were ready to eat, I popped the fried bacon and a spoonful of duck fat into the soup. We sat, we ate. We liked the soup but were all agreed it wasn't reallly worth the trouble of making a confit. If I were to make this soup again, I would put more meat into it or else try another recipe. A maybe.

Garbure is ready!


Honey-Dipped Points

Honey-dipped point number 1: the spouse is making me a wooden honey dipper!
Honey-dipped point number 2: I have just finished reading Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman. It's a poignant story based on the murder of Damilola Taylor just a couple of weeks before his eleventh birthday. Here's the honey reference. The eleven-year-old narrator, Harrison Opoku, is talking about his girlfriend:

When I was showing Poppy Morgan how to play the bass drum I smelled her hair by mistake. I got too close and then I just smelled it. It was honey flavour. 

The story is innocent and sinister at the same time.

Until next time,


Minnie

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