Easter Exploits

Nearly Nettled

Yes, it has been a long time since I last blogged. No, I didn't make any soups in that time but I was on the verge of making soup at Easter. The younger offspring and I were in Norfolk as guests of the sibling J-Zo and sibling-in-law G-Cro. They have a large garden that provides them with apples, rhubarb, figs, herbs and other vegetation, despite the only sporadic attention they give it. The main crop that I could have used was nettles! I offered to harvest and cook; I even found recipes on the internet. I was quizzed by my various relations and in-laws. All I could say was that I made nettle soup last year and it was tasty enough. I could sense their reluctance. I didn't make nettle soup but I did bake: rhubarb crumble, gooseberry tart, and asparagus and cheese flan.

I have eaten soup in the intervening weeks since my last blog. While in Norwich J-Zo and I ate a delicious red pepper soup in a quaint cafe. Yesterday I ate a really good carrot and mint soup in the more mundane setting of an office cafeteria in Naas. But you don't want to know about my dining out experiences.

Egg-Citing? No!

I made egg and onion soup today using Rose Elliot's Not Just a Load of Old Lentils. Ingredients: onion, butter, milk, flour, bay leaf, powdered mace, and chopped hard-boiled eggs. Garnish: chopped parsley. Method: saute the chopped onions, stir in flour, then add the milk mixed with water. Simmer with the bay leaf, before seasoning with salt and pepper and mace. Add the eggs and serve with garnish.

The spouse, younger offspring and I had a bowlful each. It was thick with onions but quite bland. Interesting. The spouse said he wouldn't be rushing to ask for it again. And I wouldn't be rushing to make it again.The younger offspring said nothing. Silence can say so much.

The Lion Worth Not Sleeping For Tonight

My book group is reading Rian Malan's The Lion Sleeps Tonight which is a selection of the author's journal articles about South Africa. I am not a politically curious person generally and know very little about South Africa, but I am enjoying this book and hope to finish it before the group's next meeting.

The story about Tannie Katrien, The Last Afrikaner, recounts the struggle of a tough old white woman struggling to make a living with her mixed race children:
In a good year, [she] and her sons earn about $100 between them, selling beans, oranges, and honey. Of this, $70 goes to keep just one grandson in high school.
The article that gives its name to the book tells the story of the man who composed (if that's the right word) what we in the west know as The Lion Sleeps Tonight but didn't make any money from it, despite the fact that it was recorded and covered by so many singers.

It was 1939, and [Solomon Linda] was standing in front of a microphone in the only recording studio in black Africa when it happened. .. He just opened his mouth and out it came, a haunting skein of fifteen notes that flowed down the wires and into a trembling stylus that cut tiny grooves into a spinning block of beeswax, ...
And here it is - Mbube.


Until next time ...



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