A year ago already

So, it’s been a year since the Iambic Cafe revealed itself – and my evolving involvement with the staples of life: food and poetry. What can I say: the journey continues.

One of those present at the writers retreat where it all began was Barbara Klar, whose Ideas radio program Swine Before Pearls is about to hit the airwaves (February 19, 9:05 pm, CBC Radio 1 – or however that translates for internet transmission in time zones other than Canadian ones: I think we’ll have to be tuning in during the wee hours of the 20th here in Europe). She’s going to explore the connection between our food animals and our own mortality, as we tip over into the Chinese Year of the Pig. It sounds promising.

Me, I’m also impatient to see Barbara’s new poetry collection which is due out from Brick Books — next year? Having heard a few of the poems as they wended their way onto the page, I know it will be more than noteworthy. So the conjunction of food and poetry is present everywhere, not just in my life. And speaking of Brick, another book I’ve been waiting for seems to be busting over the horizon: Lorri Neilsen Glenn‘s Combustion.

Here’s some food I’ve been enjoying now, mid-winter, when fresh vegetables and inspiration might seem at their lowest:

Celery and Apple Soup
(about 4 servings)
1 tbsp butter or oil
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
4-5 stalks fresh celery, including leaves, diced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
2 large cooking apples, cored and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup Greek (or full-fat plain) yogurt or 1/4 cup heavy cream
Crumbled stilton or gorgonzola; or grated fresh parmigiano-reggiano; or freshly made croutons; or toasted almonds, to finish

  • In a large saucepan sweat the diced onion in the butter until transparent. Add the celery and potato to the onion and continue on a low heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the apple and heat through, another 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the stock, seasoning and sugar.
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley.
  • Allow to cool a little before liquidising thoroughly, and then pass it through a sieve.
  • Check seasoning and consistency, adding a little milk or broth if needed. Stir in about yogurt or cream, and crumble or grate one of the cheeses into the soup, or top with croutons or toasted almonds.
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