16 February, 2008

back from Wales






























What a week! I want to tell you all about it: what castles to visit, what walks to take, where to buy every ingredient you need for roast pork with cream and white wine, where to find the fluffiest sheep and even a lamb or two, in fact, a whole tour of our corner of North Wales. But today we are going to Portobello Market under the same perfect blue sky that graced our entire holiday (praise be), so all I will say for the present is this: with good enough company, three decks of playing cards for duelling Solitaire, and a huge pile of hot water bottles, your Landmark Trust holiday can be the highlight of your winter. No heat in the Great Hall to speak of, so John was the uber-Firemaster, no phone, telly, radio, internet or (for several days) hot water in the kitchen tap. But comforting company, endless chats, plenty of mashed potatoes and long LONG walks in the countryside more than sufficed for the slight paucity of amenities. Anyway, we knew what we were getting into, and that's what you go to the countryside for. Peace and quiet. More soon. In the meantime, get yourself a pot of:

Mixed Pepper Soup with Brandy and Thyme
(serves four, just barely)


3 tbsps butter
half an onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
6 peppers: red, yellow and orange, coarsely chopped
2 soup-size cans chicken stock
chopped fresh thyme to fit in the palm of your hand
splash of good brandy
1 cup light cream

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and add the onions and garlic and saute gently till soft, but NOT brown. Add the peppers, stock, thyme and brandy and simmer till the peppers are soft, about 35 minutes give or take. Whizz with a hand blender till completely blended, then add the cream and heat through. If your child is picky about tiny bits of pepper skin, strain the soup through a fine-mesh colander. DIVINE. With this soup, all you need are lots of slices of toasted baguette piled with everything but the kitchen sink: mozzarella, melted butter with mashed anchovy, pesto and goats cheese, tiny tomatoes cut in half. And don't forget the hot water bottles for that evening by the fire...

2 comments:

Kristen In London said...

love this post!

Anonymous said...

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Editorial Assistant, Foodbuzz.com
shannon@foodbuzz.com