This time for our book club get together we read “People of the Book” by Geraldine Brooks. It is a thrilling history mystery, where the author follows clues [an insect wing, a wine stain, a residue of salt crystals among others] to decipher the provenance and chain of ownership of the ‘Sarajevo Haggadah’, a 14th century Jewish manuscript. Such a manuscript does exist and is on display at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo. The author weaves fact, fiction, imagination, suspense, book conservation and repair techniques and a slice of European history, in telling the story of the survival of the Haggadah. It is also the story of ordinary people, Muslims and Christians, who sometimes at great peril to themselves went to extraordinary lengths to save the tiny illuminated Jewish book from repeated threats of destruction.
We all loved the book and it was a great evening spent with friends talking about books and family and trading stories from our different cultural experiences.                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                               It was a fall like evening, so I greeted my friends with hot creamy Tomato Soup. I served Pickled Cucumber and Green Tomato Sandwiches along with Cheese and Corn Puffs. For dessert, I had made Salty Caramel Lava Cakes.

The recipe for the Tomato soup comes from one of the parent volunteers at my children’s school. It was left taped on the crock pot without a name so I am unable to give due credit. You will be amazed at how rich and satisfying this soup is, considering it is so easy to prepare. I don’t know what the baking soda does to the soup as I have made it with and without and couldn’t tell the differance. This soup is also a good template to get creative with and make it your own. The only thing to remember is to use equal amounts of tomato juice and canned tomatoes and add sugar, this is very important to balance the acidity and then add cream or half and half per your taste. You can skip the butter altogether if you wish. Add any spice or herbs you want. I have even grated onions into the soup. I skip the Worcestershire sauce as it has anchovies in it.                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                 I adapted an  Eggless Cheese Puffs recipe, that I found here to make a very easy snack that even a child can make it. In fact my children did make it and served it to us and waited on us while we chatted!                                                                                       

Eggless Cheese and Corn Puffs

1/2 cup milk [I used 1%]

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup grated cheese [I used Pepper Jack]

1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

1/3 cup of frozen corn kernels

2 spring onions, chopped fine

S & P to taste

Mix all the above preferably in the order the ingredients are listed. Spray and flour a mini 12 cup muffin pan. Divide the batter equally and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 12-14 minutes. Insert a skewer and if it comes out clean your cheese and corn muffins are done.

I’ll post the Salty Caramel Lava Cake recipe in my next post.

Thanks for dropping by,

Best, S.

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