Not a Soup in Sight

New Recipes

Since my last post I have tried out a few new recipes. Well, not exactly new as I have owned the books in which I found the recipes for many years. Except for the muffin recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi's Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.

Couscous with seafood and fresh tomato sauce
On the 7th February I made coucous with seafood and fresh tomato sauce. The recipe is from Claudia Roden's Tamarind and Saffron (first published in 1999). The sauce was delicious, rich and interesting.

For the spouse's birthday on the 9th February I made Gill MacLennan's seriously chocolatey muffins. The spouse is on a man diet but told me he'd like muffins with chocolate chips in them. I knew I could rely on Gill. The recipe came up trumps and was worth the effort of tracking down chocolate chips.

For Shrove Tuesday (12th February) I made apple and yoghurt pancakes with blueberry and honey sauce using a recipe in the Irish Times magazine. A little bit of effort but again definitely worth it.

Nearly compote
Today (St Valentine's Day) I have made Ottolenghi's plum, marzipan and cinnamon muffins. Even the name sounds delicious. I had a day off work and spent the early part of the morning immersed in beautiful poetry in honour of St Valentine. Then I took myself down to Young Stephen's shop to buy plums for the compote. Compote made, the younger offspring and I headed out to meet the spouse for lunch. Chicken wings devoured, healthy salad (the spouse and I) and burger (younger offspring) eaten, we headed home and I began to make muffins. Oh, what a treat. The spouse called out to his deity and the boy sighed: "Scrumdiddleyumptious". I will definitely make them again.

Muffins cooling

Books, Bees and Honey

For years I've wanted to read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith because it's one of those books that crops up on people's (usually women's) lists of books they loved and will love forever. I had a sample on my e-reader but then saw a copy in the local library. I borrowed it and read it. I enjoyed it but would probably have enjoyed it more in my teens or twenties. Are there bees and honey? Of course.
  • From Chapter IV - We had real butter for tea because Mr Stebbins gave Stephen some ... and Mrs Stebbins had sent a comb of honey. ... I shouldn't think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea. 
  • From Chapter VIII - We left our wraps in the hall ... There was a wonderful atmosphere of gentle age, a smell of flowers and beeswax, sweet yet faintly sour and musty; a smell that makes you feel very tender towards the past. 
  • From Chapter IX - As a rule, Mrs Jakes (the landlady of the village inn) only serves bread-and-cheese but she managed cold sausages as well, and some honey and cake. Neil ate his sausages with honey, which simply fascinated me ...
  • From the opening lines of Chapter XI - I am sitting on the ruins beyond the kitchen - where I sat with Neil ... How different it is now, in the hot sunshine! Bees are humming, a dove is cooing, the moat is full of sky. 
  • From Chapter XII - ... never have I known such a silent morning. No dog barked, no hen clucked; strangest of all, no birds sang. ... Then a bee zoomed into the marigold, close to my ear - and then suddenly it was as if all the bees of the summer world were humming high in the sky. 
About two years ago I included lines from Yeats' poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree because of the lines referring to a hive and living alone in the "bee-loud glade." And now I have a response to those lines in Carol Ann Duffy's anthology Answering Back. R V Bailey in her poem On Leaving the Isle of Innisfree ripostes:
I'm leaving the Isle of Innisfree,
I never liked it much ...
The bees? They stung me, left and right ...
Muffin with compote
And there you have it. Until the next soup or next new recipe.



  1. Lovely post this week :) I would put on weight just looking at all of it! But annoyed with RV Bailey! I love the very sound of the words "bee loud glade" as on hearing them, I can always conjure up a sunny day with bees too-ing and fro-ing as they go about their business. Now, wasps would be a different matter....


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