Thursday, February 8, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Pea Soup, Maltese Style, and the Partial Solar Eclipse

We’ve been having very cold weather for the past six weeks here in Manitoba.
Last winter was a bit warmer, but we had a lot more snow - 103 cm compared to this year’s 41 cm.
Well, you win some, you lose some.

Whether we’re dealing with cold or snow, winter is the time for making soup.
Ah, hurrah for soup… 
it’s warming, economical and makes use of all those bits and pieces we usually have sitting in our fridges.

Next week we’’ll be celebrating Festival du Voyageur, Western Canada's biggest winter festival.
There’ll be lots to see and do, as well as lots of good French Canadian food to enjoy.
One of the items definitely on the menu will be Pea Soup.

Pea soup is a recipe that’s enjoyed in Malta, too. 

I’ve already posted the recipe for 

Another similar soup is 
This post also has links for other soup recipes.


After the bone has cooled a bit, scoop out the softened marrow and stir it into the liquid. This adds a bit more nutrition and flavour to the broth.

                        Pea Soup 

Serves 6

Place in a large pot
A ham bone with some meat on it
1 1/2 Cups split peas, cleaned
6 to 8 Cups cold water
You want to have enough water to cover the bone and peas.
Bring to a boil and skim off foam.

3 Cups raw potatoes, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Reduce heat, simmer 3 hours. Check that the peas are tender.
Remove the bone from the soup and place it on a cutting board.
Cut off the bits of meat and chop the larger pieces.

Stir in
the chopped ham
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
Test flavour and adjust seasoning.
Heat and serve with bread.
Garlic toast adds a nice touch.

About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

February 9 - Look to the southeast at 4:30 a.m. local time, where you’ll see a wide crescent Moon, about one-quarter of the way up from the horizon. Sitting about 4° to the Moon’s lower right is Mars, which rises more than 4 1/2 hours ahead of the Sun. Mars crosses over from the constellation Scorpius, the Scorpion into Ophiuchus, the Serpent Holder on Feb. 7th, then passes a little more than 5° north of its rival, the ruddy star Antares, on the 10th.
In mid-February, first-magnitude Mars is 143 million miles from the Earth. But it will appear to more than quadruple in size when it makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 15 years at the end of July!

February 11 - Look to the southeast before the Sun comes up to see the small waning crescent Moon very close to the planet Saturn.
The Moon at apogee at 9:24 a.m., it’s farthest point from Earth in its orbit.
As dawn breaks, look low in the southeast sky where you’ll see the Moon, now a delicately thin crescent, hovering a couple of degrees directly above the planet Saturn. The ringed planet rises in the southeast before dawn, about 40 minutes before first light early in the month, and 1 3/4 hours before dawn breaks by month’s end. Don’t confuse Saturn with either Mars or the bright star Antares, both nearly 30° to its west (upper right) in the morning twilight.

February 15 - New Moon at 4:05 p.m. At this stage, the Moon is not illuminated by direct sunlight and is completely invisible to the naked eye. At the time of the New Moon, 4:05 p.m., there is a partial solar eclipse that comes with it. But unless you plan on doing some extensive traveling, don’t count on viewing it. This eclipse most definitely favours Antarctica, as most of that icy continent will be swept by the Moon’s penumbral shadow. Parts of Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and the southernmost tip of Brazil will also see the Moon partially occult the Sun’s disk.

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