Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Mushroom Soup

Saturday 1.40pm

Keriann kindly gave us a big bag of mushrooms which was presented to me along with Nicolas request for mushroom soup. – So here it is.

I have made double the quantity ( two pints ) I usually make cos I had lots of mushrooms and because it is near the end of the month and having no money left, I want something in the freezer to take to work for lunch.

- Into a pan goes some olive oil along with a half inch slice of butter to warm gently.

- Then in goes an onion, a clove of garlic and a stick of celery all roughly chopped.

- Leave to simmer gently until soft

- A pound of mushrooms wiped clean and roughly chopped and a bunch of parsley if you have it are added

- The mushroom have a lot of water so keep simmering until it all evaporates, this takes ages so I usually entertain myself by dancing round the kitchen in my usual manic and rather scary style. (“Walk on By” by The Stranglers was playing. You can find it on Youtube)

- Once the liquid is all gone, or you just get bored waiting a tablespoon of flour is stirred in and left to cook for a few minutes.

- two and a bit pints of half strength rapunzel vegetable stock then goes in and the whole lot left to cook

- ten/fifteen minutes is probably all that is required.

- I usually liquidize the lot now but you can eat it as it is of course. Oh and check for seasoning, with stock powder it probably will not need any salt but a good few grinds of black pepper are good.

- At this point I usually feel it needs a squeeze of lemon juice. But even better, to give that citrus edge, serve it with a dollop of Philadelphia. Or yoghurt. Or parmesan perhaps or that Hohepa cheese with cumin seeds in. Or go the other way to creamyness with a splodge of marscapone along with a zingy fresh salsa.

- And some walnut bread of course.

And thinking of walnuts, I have not tried it but I have a feeling that mushroom soup would be good thickened with nuts – walnuts or cashews, in which case I would miss out the flour of course and add the nuts at the end, having ground them and leaving them to soak in some stock whilst the soup cooks.

Mushroom soup – earthy, autumny, comforting.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Guinea Pigs

Sunday 9.32am

Still watching guinea pigs but looking around I discover that I am not alone. The cats are watching them as well. So I watch the cats. Now anybody who knows me will know that I love cats. But domesticated as they are I never forget that, not so deep inside, they are wild animals. I can see it now.

Two minutes ago there was a cat walking towards me, all erect tail and smiley chirpy noises, I am part of her family after all. Then a guinea pig moved and the cat changed instantly. She froze, eyes focused intently on the movement. Now her tail slowly drops as her body sinks to the ground, ears flick this way and that in response to other noises, but her eyes remain fixed to the movement in the cage. The cat moves closer, running quick and low across the grass before stopping dead again. She moves forward again, slowly raising one paw at a time and gently putting it down, testing the ground with each step, before slowly transferring her weight. The guinea pig senses something is up, she stops and listens, head turned slightly. The cat stops dead again, waits. Waits. The guinea pig drops her head and resumes munching grass. The cat shuffles her back legs, once, twice, positioning her feet firmly for a good launch, she is going to pounce. But the guinea pig hasn’t forgotten, is still listening and with a nod up of her head and a warbly squeak she is suddenly off – shooting under cover to safety.

The cat continues watching for a few seconds and then visibly relaxes, all that tension draining down into the ground as she sit up and looks around again.

I am reading Lion Boy to my youngest at bed time at the moment. I have read it before myself but am really enjoying reading it again, the descriptions of the lions, their behaviour and the wildness they contain are just beautifull.

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