In for a penny

"Penny" Soup

Today I made my first The Soup Book soup in 2014 - it's also the 169th soup from that book that I've made.

Ingredients: a leek, potatoes, carrots, small sweet potatoes, vegetable stock and parsley (from the garden, even though it's January).
Preparation: basically, slice the vegetables into thin rounds.
Cooking: sweat the vegetables, pour in the stock, simmer until all the vegetables tender; liquidise some of the vegetables with a little of the liquid.
To serve: stir in the parsley, pour the soup into the bowls and make a little stack of sliced vegetables in the centre.

The bliss of a day off on a weekday! I woke up thinking it was my usual wake-up time: "Oh no! I'm awake! I'll never get back to sleep." Then I discovered it was 8 o'clock, not 6 o'clock. I began the day in a good mood.

My friend Bella was coming for lunch and I was pleased to have a new soup taster. I had the soup ready in good time for her arrival. All I had to do when Bella stepped into the kitchen was to reheat the soup, add chopped parsley and season. The bowls were warmed and ready.

I dished up and we tasted. It was delicious for such a simple soup. Liquidising the sample and pouring this back into the main soup gave it a lovely velvety texture. Definitely to be made again.

For our pudding I had made a carrot cake from a recipe the Riverford Farm Cookbook. I must have had my "five a day" by now.

Book Buzz

I am currently reading An Ice-Cream War by William Boyd. A friend lent me her copy on learning that my Anglo-Indian grandfather served in the Indian Army in East Africa during the First World War. This novel even mentions a regiment from Madras (now Chennai) where my father's family were from.

There is a scene in the novel that takes place after one of the protagonists (Gabriel) has just landed with his company of Indian soldiers on the German East African coast. Once they have received orders to advance on Tanga, a number of companies set off through the bush. After a couple of hours Gabriel stops to assess the situation. He sets off again.

Suddenly to his utter astonishment the air was 'thick with bullets'. ... He felt a sudden burning pain in his neck. He was hit! ... He stumbled, but ran on, clapping a hand to his wound to staunch the blood, bullets buzzing and darting past. But wait, ... they weren't bullets, they were bees! He stopped and turned round. His men were leaping about or writhing on the ground ... as the swarming myriads of bees attacked. ... The atmosphere shimmered and danced with the irate black objects. With dismay he saw the demoralised remnants of his troops pick themselves up and run hell for leather back to the maize field. Gabriel inflated his lungs and blew ... on his whistle, in a attempt to check the rout, but they were gone, pursued by the furious bees. 
So there you have it. More soup soon, I hope.



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