Thursday, March 1, 2018

More Beast, More Books, More Soup

I've just finished my lunch of leftover soup. I made it yesterday and it was so good! Bill had leftovers yesterday for lunch, so didn't try the soup until today and he loves it too, especially the tofu pieces done this way. I will be making it again--or at least something very like it. It's never exactly the same thing twice in the kitchen. The tofu would also be good done this way in burritos, so I will probably try that sometime--be especially good with some fresh homemade salsa when it's tomato season and with some freshly picked lettuce and coriander (cilantro)!
It's a chilli tomato broth with tofu chunks and (leftover) brown rice. The tofu I get here is much firmer than even the extra firm stuff I used to get in the US. Maybe this is because it does not come swimming in a plastic tub full of water. I used to buy extra firm tofu there and freeze it so that the texture changed and it would crumble as I squeezed the water out. The tofu that I get here from veg man some in very little water and holds its shape even after freezing, thawing, and squeezing. I had a few blocks in the freezer, so I took one out, let it thaw, squeezed out the water, and cubed it. I put the small cubes in a pan with olive oil and cooked them, stirring them around, until they were slightly crispy. Then I added a bit of chilli powder, some smoked paprika, a bit of granulated garlic, some coriander, and some oregano and stirred to coat. I continued to cook until the cubes were crispy on the outside. Then I made a quick and simple broth by cooking a chopped onion, diced sweet red pepper, several cloves of garlic, and two sliced red chilli peppers (one seeded) in some olive oil. When these were softened, I added a chopped fresh tomato and a can of chopped tomatoes with juice, along with some oregano and coriander. I ladled the broth over some leftover brown rice and some of the tofu chunks. Perfect for a winter day!

And it is still wintry out there. The status red warning was extended last night to include the entire country and goes until tomorrow afternoon. I think The Beast has done its worst, but Storm Emma is coming and we are being advised to be inside by 4 this afternoon. No bus service is operating. Schools and businesses are closed or closing early. The library will be closed tomorrow.

We got a bit more snow overnight while the wind howled, but some places are a big mess.
All of these warnings are apparently causing people to rush to the shops and clear the bread shelves. I have a loaf of wholemeal lemon poppyseed coconut bread baking as I type. Had I known that bread was going to be so popular, I could have baked extra and made my fortune! 😜🍞

So we wait and see what Emma brings. Glad we don't have to go anywhere. I only have to reheat the leftover smoked mackerel chowder for supper. We had some last week and Bill wanted more this week, so yesterday seemed like a good time to make another batch. We can have some cheese and crackers with it. I started a collection of Muriel Spark short stories, so that and my yarn are keeping me happily occupied as The Beast and Emma do their meet and greet.

Here's part 2 of my February book list (part 1 is in yesterday's post):
The Case of the Curious Cook by Cathy Ace
This is the third book in the WISE Enquiry Agency series, which I borrowed in e-book format from the library. They do not have the second book for some reason. In this book, a used bookstore owner wants to find out who has been leaving books in his shop, which is called Crooks and Cooks. He runs the mystery section and his daughter, formerly a food presenter on BBC, runs the cookbook/food writing section. She finds some interesting artwork in some of the books that are left there, which leads to another line of enquiry.

A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark
I was listening to the BBC Radio 4 show A Good Read recently and one of the guests picked this book as their good read. Before the discussion had ended, I’d gone to the library website and requested it. The guest was right--it is a good read! The story takes place in the 1950s and revolves around Mrs Hawkins, who is a war widow in her late 20s. She works at a publishing company, lives in a rooming house, and interacts with a wide cast of quirky characters.

The China Factory by Mary Costelllo
I love short story collections. I’d read Academy Street, another book by this author, a year and a half ago. That one is a novel constructed of linked short stories. I quite liked it, so when I came across this one in the e-book section of the library, I downloaded it. The stories in Academy Street all had some tie to the street in the title. This book has no connecting thread between the stories. They are all set in different places within Ireland and involve various characters. I found myself immersed in each story, which is not always the case. I love short story collections, but don’t always connect with every story within a given volume. I did with this one.

Mark-Making in Textile Art by Helen Parrott
This is a great book. In it, the author, who is a textile artist, focuses on just what the title says--mark making in textile art. She takes the reader through her process, complete with lots of photos, examples of her notes and art journal pages, and a case study, which goes from idea to completed piece. She is also good at encouraging people to do what works for them and their practice. She offers examples from others as well as other possibilities that she has thought of in terms of how to proceed. I enjoyed reading this book, thinking about what she had to say, and looking at the photos. It was quite interesting to notice which finished pieces and which textures with the photos made me catch my breath and stop and look more closely.

Hope it's a lovely March day where you are!

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