Monday, 6 February 2012

February 6th - Soup, soup and yet more soup

Dear Nigel,

I finally plucked up the courage to make your Mussel soup. I crossed the checkout man's palm with silver and was able to obtain, surreptitiously, a small net bag of marine gold, having waited the best part of a week for their  arrival in the shop. Never have i so minutely inspected every tiny crevice of a crustacean. Could they be made to open if i prised them apart with my fingers, thus giving me the opportunity to discard another one? I think i was hoping for an empty pan:"Oh dear, not enough to cook with after-all. What a shame". No such luck. I scrubbed, i chopped, i cooked. It was ready at half-past ten at night and we had already eaten that evening. But, tough on my family; they were going to be subjected to another late night supper whether they wanted it or not. There was no way i was going to serve it up tomorrow and risk another food poisoning episode.

Anyway, it was good, but I'm probably not inclined to repeat the ordeal.

Today, I'm looking for another soup to nurse a sick friend who has 'The Bug', the Blues, and is in dire need of tea and sympathy, or probably a stiff gin. I settle on one for Broccoli, Cauliflower and English mustard. Mustard, for heat and for colds. I'm intrigued to see how the mustard will react to the vegetables. There are so many perfectly lovely soups with wholegrain mustard and blue cheese; but this is different, and one i want to experience for myself.

There is six inches of snow on the ground outside. For here, this is normal Winter weather and nothing out of the ordinary. Snow has reached the south so you're all panicking down there and getting your knickers in a twist over a couple of inches. At least the gritters and snow ploughs have been here. I cynically remark to a friend that it's probably more to do with the council still having a few coppers left in the kitty, than anything to do with the state of the weather. I saw an ordinary tractor go down our road with a snow plough on the front and thought what a great idea. Tractors we have plenty of round here, and if the council is doing a spot of contracting out - I'll slip you a tenner if you clear the road to my house - then let's have more of it. There's many a farmer round here who probably wouldn't say no to the extra income.

I turn to your diary, and, as if by magic i see you're making "A herb and barley broth to bring you back to health". Perhaps i should have looked here first, but since i now have the ingredients i decide to go with the other soup.According to your recipe, it is the addition of goose fat to the soup which "contains a certain magic"; perhaps on the 'chicken soup for the soul principle'. I still have some goose fat left over from Christmas but am unsure how long to keep it for.

The mornings are getting lighter, so hears to an end to our seasonally affected disorder and winter colds. Get  well soon,



  1. Delicious post Martha, and I hope your friend is feeling better.

    It's flipping freezing in Yorkshire too - but there's something on my blog which I hope may warm the cockles of your heart: I've nominated you for a Liebster Award.

  2. Hi,
    Many thanks for your comment and for nominating me for a Liebster Award - don't know what that is but will make sure i find out.
    Best wishes,