So while we have reveled in the sunshine and budding promise of spring, it’s still very cold here. Thus, we’re still drawn to soups and chowders – albeit those with more veggies than meat. A little while ago Scotty and I went to the Edinburgh Antiquarian Book Sale, a once-a-year event that brings booksellers from all over the UK proud to show off their best wares. It was a thrilling experience for a bibliophile like me – to be able to hold and skim a beautiful 3rd edition of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (£750), first edition Hume (£2250), 3rd edition Tolkien (£1700), etc. was amazing. And, as you can see from the prices, this wasn’t the place to dig through boxes of books and hope to find an underpriced treasure! This was an event for serious booksellers, people who truly knew their craft and the value of their merchandise. But it was a lot of fun. I did end up snagging a first illustrated edition of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence that is absolutely dear. Fully illustrated with charming watercolors by Paul Hogarth, this book literally transports you to provencial France and allows you to experience all the charms and quirks of that unique place. One thing that we can relate to here is experiencing some form of the Minstral – the arctic wind that blows down on Provence in January and February and drives people into their homes and blows shingles off roofs and knocks down trees, and has even been blamed for an elevated suicide rate. While not quite that violent here, it seems that we’re in the middle of an Edinburgh version of the Minstral. Despite the hopeful pictures I posted earlier a cold wind has descended on Edinburgh. And we’re talking serious wind. A wind that doesn’t seem to stop and blows straight through any sort of coat you may be wearing. So while the temptation is to bring out lighter spring jackets, it’s completely foolhardy; a lesson I’ve painfully learned. Which brings us to the chowder recipe. Now I know that most of my friends and family are enjoying warmer temps and lots of sunshine, but this soup is delicious, quick, and easy!
Sweetcorn Chowder (adapted from Olive magazine)
- 5 strips of bacon, chopped in smallish pieces
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, chopped into cubes (if you use thin-skinned potatoes, there is no need to peel)
- 400 ml chicken stock
- 400 ml milk (semi-skimmed works well)
- 2 cups frozen sweetcorn
- 2 sweet chili peppers, thinly sliced
- 1 hot Thai chili pepper, thinly sliced
- chives, finely chopped for garnish
- fresh cilantro, finely chopped for garnish
Fry the bacon in a little bit of oil. When just beginning to crisp add the onion, chili, and potato.
Cook until onion begins to soften. Add milk and stock. Bring to simmer. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until the potato begins to soften. Add sweetcorn and heat through. Check for seasoning, you may need to add a bit of salt. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with cilantro and chives.