Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vichyssoise and Kenwoods

I had an urge to make soup, thanks to an internet pal - you know who you are - who always seems to be making soup.

In fact, I had an urge to make Vichyssoise, Crème Vichyssoise as it says in my very old Cordon Bleu cookery book. Especially as I had all the ingredients to hand. Which are as follows, my version first, classic one in brackets for purists/non-vegetarians and/or people who like to be precise about ingredients, as did I once upon a time.

A couple of raw leeks (3 large well blanched leeks)
Olive oil/butter (1 oz of butter)
1 stick celery (same)
2 or 3 potatoes (3 medium-sized potatoes)
Enough veg stock (1½ pints jellied chicken stock)
Soya milk (¼ pint thick cream)
Celery leaves (Chives/celery leaves)

Slice leeks thinly and sweat in oil/butter until soft. Do not allow to colour. Add celery and potatoes, also thinly sliced, and the stock.

Simmer away until ready while you are doing something more interesting.

Blend. (Rub through a fine sieve - er, I don't think so - or Mouli).

Thin out with soya milk (stir in cream).

Put in fridge and chill.

Sprinkle on snipped celery leaves/chives when serving.

Easy huh? Except when I fished out my mother's Kenwood Chef which has been in storage for some time, the rubber seals had perished.

Now anyone who has ever had a Kenwood will know that if you forget to put the seals in the blender - soup sprays everywhere.

So the soup was sadly a no-no, and it went carefully in the fridge until I could go on a rubber seal hunt.

Come the next day, I bought a seal for the bottom bit, but not the top one.

I decided to risk it. The bottom one is definitely the essential one.

No bottom seal and whatever liquid is in there just flows up over the bottom part.

Held onto the lid firmly, which refused to screw on without its seal.

Yay! It worked. No soup all over the walls and floor. But I am going to find my spare seal in hiding somewhere in Spain for the top lid.

And the moral of the story is: do not throw away partially perished rubber seals because they may be better than nothing if you can't buy new. I had chucked the two old ones out, thinking naively that they were no use and I would be able to replace them easily.

Oh, and the soup was great. Not sure I made enough though.

No exciting pictures of the Kenwood and the rubber seals though. Camera batteries now playing up.

Cordon Bleu Cookery recipe courtesy of Rosemary Hume and Muriel Downes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gibraltar National Day 2008

Today is National Day so we duly got rigged out in red and white, or red and off white to be more accurate, and set off to John Mackintosh Square.

The venue has been changed this year from Casemates to John Mack which apparently has been quite controversial. The political speeches have also gone from the day too which seems to me to be no bad thing.

Anyways, John Mack Square was a pretty good venue, in my opinion, surrounded by the civic buildings. There was a great atmosphere. The current mayor, Solomon Levy, read out the Medallion of Honour Awards and the National Day Declaration. Then the red and white balloons were released and the Gibraltar Anthem was played.

After that, Radio Gibraltar broadcast live from the square playing music for the street party. And my camera batteries died, so no pix of balloons or partying people.

Maybe more later of fireworks or party-on.

Oh, and loved the No to Joint Sovereignty banner.

Fireworks. What is it with the camera settings? These were taken on Auto. I switched to Night and they were crap. New Year's Eve I even tried firework setting and that was the worst yet.

May write a comment on Clouds later about nationalism