Sunday, February 18, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Fish Chowder, Lent, and the Winter Circle

Wednesday was quite a busy day.
It was both Valentine’s Day and the first day of Lent.

As Valentine’s Day celebrates love, I think that even the Pope would understand the importance of celebrating properly with your nearest and dearest.
Let’s not forget that St. Paul is known to have said that the greatest virtue is love.
Surely he would've said that it would be a sin to ignore SAINT Valentine’s Day.

And then there was Chinese New Year on Friday.
As your behaviour on New Year’s Day sets the tone for the whole year it was important to set the right tone for the next 12 months.
Joy is better than gloom, especially when you’re going to affect how a whole year is going to be.
So, of course, it was your duty to celebrate that day.

But now we’re looking at Lent.
Oh, well, that can include delicious food, too.
This post has recipes for Traditional Maltese food for Lent and Easter.
Lent is about penance, not self abuse.


As soup is always best the second day, why not double the recipe?
You can have a second meal set for another day.

This soup works best with fish that has a bit of heft, such as cod, salmon or haddock.
If you’re using a fish that has bones and you're worried about the bones, you can remove the fish after it’s been cooked and pass through a sieve or whirr in a blender.
The bones in canned fish are safe to eat and don't have to be removed.
Perfect for when you're in a rush.
And who isn't?

To vary the flavour, you can chop 2 or 3 slices of bacon, and fry them instead of melting the butter.
Or you can fry the bacon pieces in the butter.
If you want the soup to have a even more richness, you can use 2 Cups cream instead of milk, or 1 Cup each of the milk and cream.

If you’d like a few other fish soup recipes, you could try

                        Fish Chowder 

Serves 6

Finely chop
1 onion
3 potatoes 
1 carrot
1 stalk celery

In a dutch oven melt
2 Tablespoons butter
the finely chopped vegetables
Cook over a low heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
2 Cups water
Cover and simmer until the vegetables are almost done, about 15 minutes.

Clean and cut into pieces
1 pound fish

Stir in
2 Cups milk
the prepared fish
1 Cup corn
Simmer until the fish is done. 
This could take 5 to 10 minutes, depending upon the texture of the fish.
The fish should flake and be opaque.

Add, according to your taste, about
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Serve hot with crackers or toast.

Bruschetta would also go nicely with this soup.
It toasts just as well if you use the broiler.

About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

February 22  - The waxing gibbous Moon will be in the constellation Taurus the Bull. The “eye” of the Bull, the star Aldebaran, will be to the right of the Moon. Orion will be right below them.

February 23 - First Quarter Moon, 3:09 a.m. In this phase, the Moon looks like a half-Moon in the sky. One-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing, on its way to full.

February 24 - Look for the large waxing gibbous Moon inside the “Winter Circle,” a very large asterism that we sometimes call the Winter Hexagon.  

February 26 - the waxing gibbous moon will be located in front of Gemini, the Twins, Pollux and Castor.

February 27 - the Moon is at perigee, 9:47 a.m., its closest point to Earth in its orbit.

There’s no full Moon listed in this month’s post - normally, you’d see February’s full Snow Moon. To make up for it, we’ll have another double-Moon month in March!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Chicken Noodle Soup and Broth / Happy Valentine’s Day and Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Well, we in Manitoba are still soldiering through a very cold February and facing at least another month or two of winter.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Kung Hei Fat Choy!
Valentine’s Day is on Wednesday.
That should bring a bit of warmth to everyone’s life.
This post has links for Romantic Dinners for Two, as well as the recipe for Anna Sultana's Lava Cakes.

About the Kung Hei Fat Choy…
Friday is the start of Chinese New Year - the Year of the Dog.
It has a few weeks' worth of traditions to ensure you’ll have a great year. 
Remember… your behaviour on New Year’s Day sets the tone for the year.
No pressure.

It’s nice to celebrate, but that’s going to take a bit of change, and everyone wants to eat today, tomorrow and the day after.
Time to make a big pot of soup.
Chicken soup is comfort food… economical comfort food.
I mean, who hasn’t felt loved and comforted while enjoying a bowl of this old favourite.
And if someone has the sniffles, it’s a miracle cure for what ails you.


Use whatever smallish pasta you have on hand.
Stars are nice, if you have them.
Broken spaghetti will remind the kiddies of the boxed mix.
Sometimes kids get into a mood and just want something they’ve had before.

You can also use 3/4 Cup rice.
Stir in, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is soft.

Want to make Ma’s chicken broth? 
It’s easy, just takes a bit of time, and won’t work if you’re in a rush to serve a pot of soup today.

1 stewing hen
Set aside the liver and the heart.

Chop into roughly the same spoon-sized chunks
1 large carrot
1 onion
1 celery stalk
2 potatoes

In a large pot place
the cleaned hen
the chopped vegetables
8 Cups water
1 bouillon cube
the hen's liver and heart
Simmer until the hen is cooked, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Remove the hen from the broth.
Remove the skin, bone the chicken and cut the meat into pieces.
Strain out the vegetables and discard.

Oh, the liver and the heart are optional.
Also sometimes they just aren’t packed with the hen. 
Don’t confront the store clerk and ask what he did with them.
Take my word for it. Please.

                        Chicken Soup 

Serves 8

Cut up
4 boneless raw chicken breasts
Set aside.

Place in a large pot
1 Cup carrots, chopped
1 Cup celery, chopped
the cut up chicken breasts

4 Cups chicken broth
2 Cups water

Over medium high heat bring the liquid to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in
1 Cup pasta
Simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is cooked, about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the pasta.
Serve hot.