Friday, 21 October 2011

News and weather and soup

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

The news continues very strange. There are pictures of dead and bloody Gaddafis all over the papers. (Do people really need to see those? Or is it wrong to sanitise reality by refusing to show the photographic proofs?) Aliens have landed in the Brazilian rainforest. Protesters are being shot in Syria. Scientists think the internet may be changing the human brain.

Meanwhile, I continue in a slight sense of unreality. I mostly appear to be contemplating chicken soup, which will not surprise the regular readers. I have lately been experimenting with the addition of peas. It is one of those interesting things which happens in cooking. It is not a disaster, it is even quite nice, but you know, in your secret culinary heart, that you will never do it again. (I have quite a lot of such moments.) I think there is a reason that chicken soup with petit pois is not a classic dish.

I also feel slightly physically peculiar, a bit shivery and old. I hope I am not succumbing to a post-delivery grippe. I was so pleased that I fought off the sickness bug with ginger and Echinacea and ruthless force of will (otherwise known as excessive bolshiness); I shall be furious if the good body gives in now.

And, in weather news: the sun shone, and then stopped again. It is cold. The leaves are slowly turning, turning. My rowans are the fieriest scarlet I ever saw, much wilder and redder than last year. The horse chestnuts are almost over. Yet the beeches remain serene and green.

And that last paragraph is especially for one of the kindest of the Dear Readers, who lives in Sri Lanka, and says that she likes reading despatches from chill Scotland whilst she sits in the heat and humidity. I love getting messages like that. There is something inexpressibly thrilling about knowing that this tiny thing has readers in Texas and Arizona and California, in Australia and New Zealand, in Belgium and France, and all points on the compass. I always loved the slightly daffy idea, so popular in the 1930s, of being a citizen of the world. Sometimes, when I get messages like the one from Sri Lanka, I feel as if that is really true.


Autumnal pictures of the day:

21 Oct 2

21 Oct 3

21 Oct 4

Here are the rowans:

21 Oct 5

21 Oct 6

21 Oct 7

Post-ball laughing Pigeon:

21 Oct 10

And showing she can also do excellent serious face:

21 Oct 11


21 Oct 12


  1. What beautiful photos Tania, the colours are stunning! And Pigeon too, stunning...and versatile :)

    I don't think all the graphic images in the papers are really necessary, not at all....I really don't want to see that.

    I too have many of those cookery moments....nice but probably never again. Definitely a soup time of year....butternut squash for us tonight :)

    Keep warm & have a lovely weekend X

  2. Simone - what a lovely comment. Hope the butternut squash is a TRIUMPH. :)

  3. I have been "mainlining" soups (mainly because I have been on a rather long "cleansing diet") -- leek and potato; fennel, carrot and leek; sweet potato(yam) and fresh ginger...all with white and/ or red onion as a "base" (and because I LOVE onions and...garlic which went into the leek & potato).
    I always keep forgetting how easy AND delicious (and healthy) they are.
    I seem to remember your posting your chicken soup recipe. (Where would I look fir it? May I have a clue, please. Thank you!)

  4. Oh my, so many typos. I've spent too long on the laptop today/ night, I'm afraid. Sorry!
    Off to watch a documentary Sundance special on "Sex and the Silver Screen".

  5. Pat - never worry about typos. Shall dig up chicken soup recipe for you, or even post a new one. :)

  6. I've got an experiment in the form of pear soup with foie gras lined up for the weekend. It is a general concept at this stage, the process has not hatched in my head yet. Anything to put work off by a couple of hours!

  7. Sabina - how marvellously sophisticated that does sound. :)

  8. One of my favorite things with your blog, is that I feel that I can feel the seasons changing living in tropical Hong Kong. I am not scottish, but swedish but the leaves changing, the frost on the ground it do remind me of something I miss from home. I loved your pictures last spring too. We do have seasons here too, but it is not as obvious, the whole of nature is not in on it. Thanks for your blog. Erika

  9. Thanks for the little snippets of information. I like the bit about internet changing the human brain. I'd strongly support the theory.

    Though hot and humid we are a soup loving family and though I cannot get watercress - soup if any form is still welcome.

    And, I also love the photos of Pigeon. We have Googly only right now but since I am always on the road it is always a sad scene when I am getting ready to leave. He howls and I have no way of taking him everywhere.

  10. I missed the aliens. I actually posted a snappish comment on Facebook after several people posted links to movies of Ghaddafi's end. I REALLY wish we didn't have to see those. I feel it just demeans us as humans.

    Making pork chop and roasted cauliflower and greens with lentils today. Any broccoli suggestions?

  11. We are experimenting a lot with soup. And I am only listening to the news on the radio until I know I will be safe from pictures of bloodied corpses. It has upset the children of some of my friends and I am not sure why it needs to be seen and seen again. I wonder if it is to appease the conspiracy theorists and that makes me dislike them more.

    I love your descriptions of autumn and it makes me feel wonderfully connected to the world even if just through my screen.

  12. Tania,

    I have a rowan question. My little rowan tree (only one year old) did not turn scarlet. Instead, the leaves browned and crumpled. The tree itself shows no mold or disease, and so I am wondering if perhaps it is just due to the extreme youth of the tree that it didn't go into full autumn mode this year. Or perhaps we have had such warm weather and so much rain lately that it's not been cold enough to turn red. Do you have any idea?

  13. Erika - what a lovely comment. I do adore the seasons, and always think it would be the thing I would miss about living in another climate.

    Mystica - oh, the Googly story. He does sound a dear.

    CatherineMarie - I am a bit of a broccoli minimalist. I generally simmer it in some Marigold bouillon, for extra flavour, then dress it with good olive oil, squeeze of lemon, black pepper, and flaky sea salt. Also, if you are being fancy, a scatter of toasted almonds can be good.

    Siobhan - awful about the children. Thank you for your lovely words about the blog.

    Marcheline - not sure about the rowan mystery. Mine are about six years old, so have toughened up a bit. We have had a mild autumn here, although at least two frosts, and perhaps one of the reasons rowans thrive in Scotland is because of the chill. Maybe you should write in to Gardeners' Question Time. Bob Flowerdew will know. :)


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