Friday, November 12, 2010

Cruising, Mafia War, Books and Shots.

I hear the passengers of the Carnival Splendor are delighted to get the hell off her, not really surprising after the dreadful time they have had since a fire in the engine room put paid to the whole cruise. They pulled into San Diego having been towed there. Mind you, it must have done Hormel, who make Spam, the world of good as the canned meat was flown out to the ship to feed the passengers as no cooking could be done, nor could much of anything else I gather. No electrics, no air conditioning, nothing. 4,500 passengers and crew stuck on board in appalling conditions. Puts one off cruising doesn’t it? Mind you we would hate to be on a ship jam packed with so many people. Like setting sail in a city. The one time we went on a week’s cruise there were far less people on board and room to breathe.

The Godfather has come to Montreal. It seems there is a Mafia war going on and the capo di capos, Nick Rizzuto, has just been shot, in his home of all places, mind you he was 86 so I can’t think he was much threat to anyone any more. He was the Don Corleone of the family and now it appears his son, who really ran the family these days, is in prison anyway. It would seem this family’s ascendancy is totally on the wane. According to reports – read at this link several of the family have been gunned down and/or just disappeared. Just like reading the Mario Puzo book.

Girl Hornets NestI just got the last of the Millenium series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson, today and almost dread reading it because it is his final book.

Just to let you know, I also have a sore arm from my flu shot. That will probably last a week. Not for Matt though, no reaction at all.

I am now receiving all kinds of Thanksgiving recipes – US Thanksgiving that is, we have had ours in Canada. One of the main features is, of course, pumpkin pie, which – sorry – I do NOT like, so will not be passing on any recipes. Pumpkin in soup is great, in my opinion, in pies, no way. It was suggested that I publish more soup recipes as in this hemisphere we are heading for cold weather, so here is one I like the sound of.

Split Pea Soup with Bacon

Source: Casual Cuisines of the World - Diner

Serves 4-6

Although the authentic version of this cool-weather diner favorite is smooth and creamy, you can give your split pea soup a little texture by setting aside some of the mixture before puréeing, then stirring the two batches together. Serve with buttermilk biscuits, or garlic or Parmesan toasts. INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oilSplit Pea Soup with Bacon

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/4 cups green split peas, rinsed

6 slices thick-cut bacon

7 cups (56 fl oz/1.75 l) water

1 bay leaf

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley


In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and sauté until the carrots are tender, 2-3 minutes longer. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer.

Add the split peas, bacon, water and bay leaf, raise the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot to prevent scorching, until the peas are soft, about 1 hour.

Remove the bacon and the bay leaf. Discard the bay leaf. Cut the bacon into small squares; set aside.

Using a blender or a food processor fitted with the metal blade or a hand blender, purée the soup until smooth and creamy. If a food processor or blender was used, return the purée to the pot.

Reheat the soup over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very hot. Season to taste with the salt and pepper and stir in the reserved bacon. Ladle into warmed soup bowls; sprinkle the parsley over the tops. Serve immediately.

Have a great day



  1. Thanks for the recipe, Jo. I'm afraid my family would rather I didn't fix it. My son would think I was possessed and call in an exorcist if I made it. My mom used to make something similar, homemade biscuits and all.

    I do like pumpkin pie but also use it in soups and stews.

    Sorry to hear your arm is so sore. Poor you.

    Enjoy your book and have a great weekend!

  2. Thanks Sia, sorry your family wouldn't like the soup, I think it will be great. I love Pumpkin soup and have published a recipe here before now.

    My arm is "sorer" now, hrmmph, Matt doesn't feel anything, grrr.

    You have a great weekend too.

  3. It's awful when a cruise goes wrong - example: The Titanic.

    Enjoy the book.

  4. That wasn't exactly a cruise though was it? At least they managed to put out the fire in the engine room, nothing more frightening than fire at sea.