Doubling Up

Corn and Crab Soup with Coriander

Last weekend I dipped into one of those books that sits on my kitchen bookshelves waiting to be pulled out, dusted off and put to use: The Essential Seafood Cookbook  edited by Wendy Stephen.  I'm not sure why I chose this recipe - perhaps I liked the idea of the tang of lemon grass and ginger together with crab (tinned) and coconut milk. Other ingredients included garlic, Asian shallots (I stuck with western shallots), chicken stock, frozen sweetcorn kernels, fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar. Unfortunately, the spouse wasn't able to find fresh coriander.

I did my prep work. I added chopped garlic, shallots and lemon grass and grated ginger to heated oil in a pan. Next in were the stock and coconut milk. Then in went the sweetcorn. The last additions were the crab meat, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar.

The four of us sat down to sup. I was a little disappointed by the blandness of the soup, despite the appetite-whetting spice and herb mix. Certainly, fresh crabmeat might be an improvement, but I'm not sure I'll get around to a second go.

German Potato Soup

Ingredients for German potato soup
For this venture I went back to The Soup Book. My one hundred and sixty-fifth soup from it and requiring some familiar ingredients: celeriac, carrots, potatoes, onions, leeks, cream or creme fraiche. Chanterelles are not so familiar and there was an option to substitute canned or jarred ones for fresh ones. The spouse went the extra mile and found fresh ones at the super-duper vegetable shop we have previously visited. But, of all the ingredients to forget to put on the list, I forgot floury potatoes. I trotted down to Young Stephen's and bought some. Thomas asked me what I was making this time and seemed genuinely interested in the German potato soup.

Sweaty carrots and celeriac
Back home I began my prep work, dicing the celeriac, carrots, potatoes and onion, slicing a leek, and studding a second onion with cloves and a bay leaf. Studding an onion with a bay leaf was probably the most curious part of this work. I then began cooking but can barely remember how this went because of an unpleasant occurrence that left me drained of energy. I won't bore you with the details.

I sweated the carrot and celeriac together first, then added the leeks. Next in were the studded onion, potato and stock. I fried the onion and chanterelles separately. Then I took a break. Coming up to dinnertime I resumed cooking. Having discarded the studded onion, I put about a third of the main vegetable mixture into the liquidiser and gave it a whizz before pouring it back into the pan. I added the chanterelles and onions, creme fraiche, ground nutmeg, dried marjoram and seasoning, and reheated the lot.

Jauntily studded onion

Bowls warmed and table set, I called the lads. Verdict: three of us were enthusiastic (you never expect to hear much from the younger offspring). We liked the thickness of the soup created by the liquidised mixture and the clove-iness of it. The spouse and older offspring were pleasantly surprised that the chanterelles did not have a strong taste and merely enhanced the texture of the soup. A thick warming soup that will definitely be made again.

Honey-Dipped Points

The Dublin County Beekeepers' Association's annual honey show is fast approaching. It will take place in Rathgar on Saturday 2nd November.

At present I'm reading The Kills by Richard House on my e-book reader. There are a few references to honey, either in food or as an imprecise description of a shade of yellow or brown.

It being the 20th October, I'll close with the opening lines of Sean Borodale's poem Brood Nest Honey:

Black honey in its dark brood cells
is a wild liquor of ecstatic work
Bright sun and gauze exhaust its details
Until the next time,



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