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Now you may not have noticed (unless you follow me on GoodReads – and I already know that you don’t *insert cheeky knowing grin here*) but in addition to serious literature [thank you University!] and popular fiction [thank you birthday money], I also read a lot of cheap (usually free) romance fiction [think torn blouses and Fabio…].

I bulk buy free kindle books off Amazon, and just recently I read Alpha by Jasinda Wilder; to be honest I found it to be pretty average – but you get what you pay for [or don’t pay for as the case may be]. The best part of the whole book is [SPOILERS!] where Roth sits Kyrie down (blindfolded) and feeds her dinner… which included beef and barley soup. Once again Google was my friend as I investigated this previously unknown food; and I discovered something unusual, the most common hits were (despite being called soup) for a stew/casserole. Ordinarily I get a (close to) perfect match in the top 5-10 hits. But the book had specified a soup, that was in fact soup-y.

What I found (and subsequently made) was Beef and Barley Soup, and as per usual I had to make a couple of changes – Onions and Leeks make me very unwell so I used Onion flavouring in place of them. I also discovered that Oxtails (here in NZ for reasons unknown – we’ve got plenty of cattle) are really expensive, and yield very little meat, so when I make it in the future I’ll use beef soup-bones and a slice of rump steak or two.
Despite all the set backs, it really was utterly delicious and gave one a hearty, warm, and cared-for sensation. I think it may even have killed my impending cold, which is always a welcome bonus.

Another bonus: the youngest of the Natives actually ate it! Normally he only deigns to dip his scone into the tiniest possible puddle of soup, but he picked up his spoon and had a good half-bowl of the Beef and Barley so that gets it a gold star in my book.

See you next time. I’m always looking for suggestions on what to cook, and what tome it was found in (because of course I have to read the book before I make it!).

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