Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mudslides and Earthquakes, Book,

California is very worried at the moment, having had lots of fires which have denuded the hillsides, they are now getting lots of rain and could get major mudslides at any moment. Not a very nice predicament. So much for Paradise. The more I hear of California, the less I would like to live there. Not to mention the San Andreas fault.
It appears, however, that America is riddled with fault lines and earthquakes happen all the time, one major fault line being the New Madrid running along the centre of the States from St. Louis to Memphis. I am not sure if the same applies to Canada, although I can't see why not, but I do know I was in an earth shake some 25 years ago whilst living here. They have just had an aftershock in Haiti which was 6.1 on the Richter scale. That is some aftershock, more like another major quake to me. I wrote about earthquakes once before and on researching was staggered to find out about quakes in the UK which I had fondly imagined to be exempt. Not something you hear about very often. I guess most of the world is at risk in one way or another. There is an interesting article about American fault lines here
We had a sprinkling of snow during the night but not enough to cause much problem which is good as Matt has to drive to Cambridge this morning. A half hour trip, roughly. Last night we played cribbage with a neighbour and the pair of them thrashed me despite my having a 24 hand which is a pretty good hand in cribbage, 29 being the best of all. I am reading a very odd story which I have discovered is actually part of a series called Wild Cards, I had never heard of them and I am not sure I want to read any more. This one is by George R.R. Martin who's previous writing, such as the Song of Ice and Fire books, I have very much enjoyed. This one is called the Suicide Kings and is the latest in a long line of books written by different authors. The basic premise is that there was a virus which either killed people or turned them into mutants - half man half rhino (jokers), mildly powerful (the deuces) and superpeople caled Aces. The virus is actually called the Wild Card virus and they talk about what someone was like before his/her card was turned!! I'm sort of enjoying it, but some of it I really am not sure about. I will persevere though. I am currently about 1/3 of the way through it.
French Onion soup is very popular in this part of the world and I think most restaurants around here do their own version. Earing Well have produced a quick version which might appeal to some of you. This recipe states French Onion Soup is not enough for a full meal, it is in my book, especially the way it used to be served in Belgium. By the time you had finished a bowl of soup there, you wouldn't want anything else.
Quick French Onion Soup From EatingWell: May/June 2008
French onion soup is a favorite but it usually isn't substantial enough to make a complete meal. We've solved this problem by adding fiber-rich chickpeas to a broth flavored with sherry and three kinds of onions. Of course, we didn't forget the gooey topping, we've just made it a little lighter and a lot easier to prepare at home—simply top toasted whole-wheat bread with cheese and pour the soup on to melt it. 6 servings
Ingredients •1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil •2 large sweet onions, sliced •2 cups chopped spring onions, or leeks, whites and light green parts only •2 tablespoons chopped garlic •1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried •1/4 cup dry sherry, (see Ingredient Note) •1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper •3 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium beef broth •1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed •1/4 cup minced fresh chives, or scallions •6 slices whole-wheat country bread •1 cup shredded Gruyère, or fontina cheese
Preparation 1.Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sweet onions and stir to coat. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add spring onions (or leeks), garlic and thyme and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. 2.Stir in sherry and pepper; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in broth and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in chives (or scallions). 3.Meanwhile, toast bread and divide it among 6 bowls; top with cheese. Ladle the soup over the bread and cheese and serve immediately.
Nutrition Per serving : 374 Calories; 10 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 20 mg Cholesterol; 48 g Carbohydrates; 18 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 591 mg Sodium; 555 mg Potassium 3 Carbohydrate Serving Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 medium-fat meat, 1/2 fat Tips & Notes •Ingredient note: Sherry is a type of fortified wine originally from southern Spain. Don't use the “cooking sherry” sold in many supermarkets—it can be surprisingly high in sodium. Instead, purchase dry sherry that's sold with other fortified wines in your wine or liquor store.
Have a great day


  1. I am glad you mentioned onion soup which is a great French specialty for a cold winter evening. A French friend of mine and I had onion soup just last weekend in a restaurant here in Paris and believe me it was so thick we had to eat it with knife and fork. But it was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!

  2. Oh Marilyn, I remember so well. I used to get wonderful onion soup in Ostend, Belgium too. We would call in at a particular cafe at 3 a.m. after a night out and really enjoy it.