Lunched with a Chinese friend AD yesterday and she told me about a friend of hers who seemed to be really good at fortune telling. The girl has apparently predicted extra-marital relationships, divorces, pregnancies, illnesses etc with uncanny accuracy.
I am not a particularly superstitious person, but I do not rule out supernatural/metaphysical or illogical occurrences in life. Just for fun I passed AD my birth date and this morning she called to inform me of her friend's initial calculations.
We have never met, but the girl knew a few things about me that she normally shouldn't know. She even made a few quick predictions which involved my marriage and a loved one's health. They were a little cryptic, but not without foundation.
I was reading a biography of Sun Yaoting the last eunuch of China recently and there was a passage in the book that described a prediction in an old Taoist almanac about his life : "Enough food and clothing. Without wife or children." Another of his eunuch friends told him that he shared the same prediction. Sad...
Just for fun I went on the Net and worked out the (western) astrological birth charts for my family, even checked out the compatibility predictions for me and Hub and for me and an ex boyfriend. It was amazing what they said about us, I couldn't have put it better into words myself. I did one for my little sister too and one funny bit was the prediction that she would have a big family and of course she's at this moment waiting for her 4th baby to pop out.
All the above had nothing to do with the Cream of Porcini soup that I made this afternoon, but I did spend quite a bit of time contemplating about life and destiny while making it. How much of our life is destined (e.g. decided by the position of the planets at the time/moment of our birth) and how much of it is made by our own will and actions? Should I be happy with the way my life has turned out, or should I work at making it a more interesting and useful one? Am I really destined to finish my days as a boring housewife?
The soup turned out well, a success with Hub and Baby Girl. There is nothing like eating according to the seasons and while the Chinese porcini lacks the intense aroma and taste of its French and Italian relatives, it makes up (a little) for it with is firm texture. I cheated with dried Italian porcini for the soup stock, so let's just close one eye and get on with life.
Cream of Porcini (feeds 2) :
3-4 dried porcini
120ml white wine
25g salted butter
2-3 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped)
1 leek (sliced)
2 large fresh porcini (cleaned and roughly sliced)
2 tbsp plain flour (for thickening)*
600ml chicken stock
black pepper to taste
In a small saucepan gently heat up the white wine and add the dried porcini. Do not let the wine boil or it'll evaporate. Remove from the fire and allow the porcini to infuse/soften in the hot wine for at least 15 minutes. Remove the porcini from the wine, chop it finely and set aside. Reserve the wine.
Melt the butter in a soup pot and fry the garlic and leek till fragrant. Add the fresh porcini and thyme and cook till soft.
Stir in the flour followed by the porcini-infused wine (like making a béchamel). Then stir in the chicken stock (try to remove the lumps), cover the pot and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the stalk of thyme and mix the soup till it's smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, drizzle some cream over it and serve with the reserved dried porcini. (Or if you prefer it, cook the dried porcini in the soup and mix everything up together.)
*The flour can be replaced by a small potato to help thicken the soup.