My own ancestral link to chowder would have to be the hard tack eaten by sailors. These days there seems to be a lot of cream in chowder, but I don't think cream would have survived for long out on the Grand Banks. More likely a mush of hard tack and water. I imagine the cod fisherman eating saltfish chowder on the outbound journey and fresh cod chowder on the return ...

Cup a soup

My sister's cooker went off the other day . She went out and for the first time ever bought one of those soup packets that you can rehydrate with boiling water. I waited until I knew she had proper food again before pot roasting a chicken - just couldn't have eaten it eat it knowing she only had a soup packet. But a whole chicken poses problems for someone living alone. After the first night, and sandwiches, what to do? I made soup.

Chicken soup

When the vegetables have started to cook, put the chicken back in and cover with boiling water. When the soup comes to the boil turn down to a simmer, cover and leave for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. If using barley, at least 2 hours. Then turn off the heat, take out the chicken, mash the vegetables somewhat, remove the meat from the bones and return the meat to the soup. Throw in a handful of green beans and simmer until they are tender. Skim off any undesirable flotsam/grease. Check the seasoning and it's ready to go.

Minestrone senza formaggio

Taking a quick tour of the internet before writing this recipe I realised that there are wildly different ways of approaching this buxom vegetable soup. Some, incredibly to me, have no tomato (isn't that a minestre?) The subject of stock is heated. Some include ham and cheese. So, if you are happy with your own recipe there is no need to change. But, for anyone who has never made minestrone before, you might want to start here: