When I was still a tiny Tot and barely able to walk, so my mother used to tell me and her story was confirmed by my doting paternal Grandfather, I, out of the blue, developed this irritating habit of closing my eyes firmly shut, swinging my arms (flapping ungainly most likely) and “dancing” around our living room bumping into furniture, knocking down things. When my mother slightly concerned tried to stop me for fear that I may hurt myself or ‘hurt’ some of our precious items in the room, all she ended up with was a little daughter who brutally was forced to exit her imaginary world of ‘make believe’ and come back into the grown-up world with a bump – into reality!
Ever since my mother and some of our friends took me to see Tchaikovsky’s wonderful ballet “The Nutcracker” around Christmas time, this little girl here had only one giant wish, she wanted Fairy Godmother to come to our house and turn her into a Ballerina by the sheer wave of her magic stick. But she did not want a place in the Corps de Ballet, oh no, she wanted only the top job – Prima Ballerina. But in time she had to learn the hard fact that this job was not going to be hers – ever!
But my love for classical music, opera and the ballet stayed with me all through my life.
Years and years later in ‘my previous life’, when back in London on 2 months leave; I was introduced to ‘Glyndebourne’ by some dear dear friends of ours. To be frank, up to then I had no knowledge of this yet another wonderful British Institution. Glyndebourne is a country house, thought to be about six hundred years old, and located near Lewes in East Sussex, England. Many Glyndebourne attendees come from London by train and wearing evening dress. Glyndebourne is regarded as part of the London/English summer season. Performances start in the afternoon, enabling Londoners to leave town after lunch, and finish in time for them to catch the last train back. A long interval allows opera-goers the opportunity to have their meal on the extensive lawns or in one of the restaurants – but then, and maybe even today, most opted for “picnic on the lawn”. We went by car from Kent where we stayed with Neil and Mary for a few days. The car was laden with an array of splendid picnic items and enough delicious food and drinks for an army – or so it seemed to me at the time.
To this day I will never forget Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” and even now, if I close my eyes I can transport myself back in time and to that magical day. We were blessed with one of those rare beautiful English summers’ days – warm enough to sit out on the lawns during the extra long interval in front of this beautiful Country House and yet cool enough as not to feel uncomfortable in one’s evening dress attire in the middle of the day.
One other fond memory I have of this particular day – Mary’s soup! Not just any old soup oh no, this was her secret family recipe which she consistently had refused to share with anybody else, until I came into her life. And now, decades later, I like to share it with you, dear friends – another little treasure from my memory box!
This is such a quick and easy recipe which you can make for any surprise visit of family or friends, as long as you always have a few basics in your store cupboard. While your visitors enjoy their drinks you whisk this up in your kitchen in no time. But to bring out the mixture of flavour this soup should preferably be served very chilled.
Mary’s Tomato Soup Gold
1 big tin of peeled tomatoes, juice and all (or fresh ones with skin removed)
1 large Onion
5-10 peeled garlic cloves
Some (not too many, or colour of coup will change towards green) parsley leafs
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of black pepper
Now put all the above into your mixer and pulse until it is liquid.
Add 3 (or more or less depending on your own taste) large spoons of mayonnaise, and blend it into your tomato mixture.
Now add 2 tsp of curry powder (or more or less) to this and blend in well.
Transfer to a large pretty (glass looks nice) bowl and add 1 tsp (or more or less) of hot Tabasco sauce, mix very well (this is actually the “little secret” people never guess.) This soup is supposed to have “a kick!” And just before serving this truly delicious soup plop some ice cubes, in which you have previously frozen some parsley leaves, into the soup.
Serve with some extra garlicky toasted bread cubes on the side.
This soup is actually quite filling, so watch out, if you want to serve this as a first course at a summer’s lunch party.
And if you happen to like this, do say a quiet “thank you” to my late friend Mary.
Photos: Glyndebourne courtesy of Wikipedia
Soup by ManningtreeArchive