Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Macaroni soup or Soup a la Camerani

It has become a tradition: whenever we go on a holiday, I take with me some Regency novels by M.C.Beaton. While I do prefer her Agatha Raisin series, I find the Regency books a very light-hearted read and a perfect holiday fodder. Nothing intellectual or thought-provoking, they boast the convoluted plots and annoyingly stubborn heroines. A hoot, in one word.
The Waverley Women is a bundle of three books, all very thin and portable, so, easy to take along on a trip. The series is a story of three sisters adopted by a mysterious Mrs Waverley, a bluestocking who raises the girls as her disciples. They are all brainwashed that men are the hated species who are only after one thing.
Of course, they all end up married.

Just like the other Regency novels by M C Beaton, the plots are written around one "golden" formula - there is a gorgeous young woman who is adamant that she doesn't want to get married for whichever reason. But by the end of the book she finds herself in the arms of an always handsome Lord. They usually are a Duke or Sir or some other scion of nobility, always stinking rich, a rake in the past, who has changed his spots on meeting the heroine.
If it's a set of novels, expect all the sisters to have different colour of hair and eyes. A bit like a kittens' litter, a genetic miracle, when one family has daughters with blonde, brunette, light brown, ginger etc hair, and the eyes also cover the whole range of colours and shades.
In this series three girls are as varied as the pastries in the pastry shop. Fanny was fair and blue-eyed, Frederica dark and fiery, and little Felicity chestnut-haired and willowy, with large hazel eyes.

In one of the scenes the main characters have a lunch, where a macaroni soup is served. I googled for Regency recipes, and discovered that there was a dish called a Soup a la Camerani, which is more like a stew than a soup (have a look at the link with the photo of the old recipe page). It sounds very rich, so I have used the listed ingredients but adapted the recipe.

The Swan Inn was near the Minster, a bustling, prosperous place. They were all hungry, having not stopped to dine on the road, and were soon seated in a private parlor to enjoy a late supper. The landlord apologised for the paucity of the fare while his waiters set down a meal that would not have disgraced the finest table in England. There was a first course of macaroni soup and boiled mackerel, followed by entrees of scallops of fowl and lobster pudding. The second course consisted of boiled leg of lamb and spinach, roast sirloin of beef and horseradish sauce, and the third course of roast hare and salad, soufflé of rice, cheesecakes, strawberry jam tartlets, and orange jelly.
The love match by M.C.Beaton 

First of all, I wouldn't even dream of trying to find capon livers, so the standard chicken livers were used.
The original recipe asks you to layer minced livers, vegetables, cheese in a deep tureen. I cooked this soup-stew in a deep pan.

Macaroni soup
50g butter
400g chicken liver
150g celery
90g carrots
150g parsnips
80g leeks
bay leaf
150g macaroni
50g parmesan
sea salt, black pepper

Peel the parsnips. If using baby carrots, don't peel, just wash them. Finely chop the vegetables.
In a deep pan melt the butter, put the liver, all chopped vegetables and season well. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Add the macaroni, mix well, pour enough water to cover the pasta and vegetables, bring to boil, then lower the heat, simmer for 15 minutes or so. Keep adding more water and stirring. Once the macaroni are cooked through, add the parmesan (I broke it into smaller pieces).
Serve hot.

Taste-wise, minced beef would have worked much better in this stew. I didn't mince the livers, as I thought the soup would look not very appetising. It was OK, but I wouldn't rush to cook it again. I also think this stew would be even better without any meat, just vegetables, macaroni and cheese.

Have you read a book recently which inspired you to run to the kitchen and cook to your heart's content?

I hope you are inspired by books to join in our #ReadCookEat challenge.

The idea is to choose a book, either a world classic or modern fiction, or even memoirs and pick up a dish mentioned or described in that book and then recreate it in a recipe. Please say a few lines about your chosen book, and maybe even do a quote from the book.

If you decide to take part, please add the badge to your post and link up back to me, and either use a link-up tool or add the url of your post as a comment. Alternatively, email me with the link to your post (my email is sasha1703 at yahoo dot com).

I promise to Pin all blogs posts taking part in this challenge, as well as RT and Google+


  1. That looks lovely, although I must admit I really don't like liver. I have lots of #readcookeat recipes bookmarked so I'm trying to work my way through some of them while I'm on holiday !

    1. I'm not enthusiastic about liver either, but I do love a good old chicken liver pate. And thank you for adding posts to the linky!

  2. I hate liver apart from in pate. The soup looks nice though, I think I would just use chicken

    1. I do prefer liver in pate too, and I don't think I'd be in a hurry to cook this soup again. It's my curiosity that made me try the recipe, lol.