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Friday, 21 October 2011

Post the Thirty-seventh (in which our heroine has a rant about the traffic)

Recession?  What recession?  Last year the AA were banging on about how the downturn was having a positive effect on traffic levels because A) loads of people had lost their jobs and B) those who still had them were car-pooling/cycling/generally leaving their cars at home because no-one can afford petrol any more.  Me arse.  As far as I can see, the traffic has been getting steadily worse over the past two years.  It doesn't help that I have the misfortune to live on one of the worst commuter routes in the country.  Ladies and gennelmen, I give you - the N7.  A road that is populated with quite possibly the most idiotic drivers in Ireland.  They tailgate.  They don't switch on their headlights when it's raining/foggy/snowing/dark.  They consistently manage to crash into eachother, even though they're all travelling in the same direction.  They slow down to look at people changing flat tyres in the hard shoulder.  Yesterday, it took me a record 22 minutes to travel from the ball at Naas (my Irish readers will know what I'm talking about) to the M7/M9 split.  A distance of approximately 12km.  And the reason for this massive tailback?  Was there a pile-up blocking one or both lanes?  Were the police stopping people to check tax and insurance?  Had a truck jack-knifed and shed its load?  No, no and thrice no.  The reason, dear readers was a malfunctioning traffic information sign.  You know, the ones that normally just say "Belt Up" or "Arrive Alive" and all that happy crappy?  Well, this one was lit up entirely in orange, with tiny writing in the middle that stated "This programme cannot display the".  And that was enough to cause people to slow down so much to read it that a 12km tailback was formed.

N7 drivers, I hate you.  This is the same group of people who seem to be consistently surprised that the sun rises in the east every morning and slam on the brakes every time the road curves into it, so you can see the kind of intellect we're dealing with.  Here's a novel idea - KEEP A PAIR OF FRIGGIN SUNGLASSES IN THE CAR!


So, we have established that brain donors in cars give me the rage.  But do you know what gives me the happiness?  This soup.  You may remember me having it down in the Tannery a few weeks ago.  Well, the recipe is (kind of) on the Cook With Avonmore website, so I decided to have a stab at recreating it on Wednesday night.  I say "kind of", as Paul Flynn doesn't give any quantities for any of the ingredients, so I had to judge it by eye, but it turned out really, really well.  This stuff is buttery, creamy awesomeness in a bowl.  It's also extremely indulgent, so I wouldn't really recommend anything particularly heavy as a main course after it.  We actually just had a huge bowl each with some crusty bread for dinner.  Friends, Romans, Countrymen, I give you...

Bacon & Butterbean Chowdah* - serves 4

2 medium onions, finely diced                   150g bacon bits
550ml chicken stock                                 250ml cream
1 tbs flour                                                 1 tbs English or Dijon mustard
1 tin butterbeans, drained                          Small bunch flat parsley, finely chopped
Good knob of butter                                 Lots of black pepper

1) Melt the butter over a low heat, add the onions and sweat for about 10 minutes with the lid on - you'll know they're done when they go kind of translucent.

2) Turn the heat up and add the bacon.  Give everything a good stir and cook for 5 - 7 minutes.  Don't bother waiting for the bacon to brown - it won't happen because of the moisture from the onions.

3) Sprinkle over the flour, stir and cook for about 2 minutes, just to get the raw taste off the flour.  Add the stock and bring to the boil.

4)  Stir in the mustard, then add the cream and the butterbeans.  Lower the heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes, until it thickens slightly.  I mean slightly, now, it should still be quite loose!  Stir in the parsley and season with plenty of black pepper (no salt, the bacon & stock will take care of that).  Ladle into deep bowls and serve immediately with lots of crusty bread for dipping.

*It's chowdah, chowdaaah!  Say it, Frenchy!

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it amazing how good this soup is from such ordinary ingredients? I used that new cooking cream and found that I only needed half as much (about 125 ml) and it was still lovely and rich.