The Story of Soup

Growing up, I learnt from Dad that a good soup never has a recipe, only a story describing its roots and evolution. At home, soup is usually born from a Sunday roast, and evolves through the week depending on the meals that grace the table.

Here in Holland, my soups are usually a little more predictable. They are usually born from a trip to the market on Saturday where I sometimes buy a chicken for a treat. Indeed, a whole chicken is not such a simple thing to find in a Dutch supermarket and I now consider it a luxury item! After it’s been roasted and nibbled at, the chicken finds its way to the pan where it becomes my stock.

Unlike Dad’s changing array of ingredients, my soup tends to contain the following ingredients – shiitake mushrooms (with the occasional chanterelle for variety), onion, ginger, the remaining chicken, pearl barley and a little chili to give it that element of surprise. When my cupboards are well stocked then a few more exotic ingredients might be added – kaffir lime leaves or lemongrass both give a nice oriental slant.

Granny’s Mulled Wine

Every year on Christmas Day Granny arrives for lunch armed with an orange flask full of mulled wine. This is her recipe:

1 bottle of red wine
1/2 pint water
1/3 rind tangerine
6 tablespoons sugar
6 cloves
1 cup of brandy (optional).

Warm the ingredients (except the brandy) gently until it steams but don’t let it boil. Remove the tangerine peel and cloves, and then add the brandy before serving.

GCMR18 – Yorkshire Dales, UK

We found this cache on an Easter Monday day out, before I flew back to The Netherlands in the evening. It was a blustery day, and we had a very enjoyable walk to get to the cache.


Dad found the cache and, reading the log, I was amused to see that the first person to find the cache was also called Tasha, and had found the cache on my birthday. A nice coincidence!

GCR3GB – Altrincham, UK

This one was near home (UK home, that is) and where I took Mum and Dad on their first geocaching outing.

Mum was very proud to find the cache, and to celebrate, took the Tarka the Otter DVD we found there, which we replaced by some pens. ( I watched the DVD some months later – it’s just as much of a tearjerker as I remembered!)

GCG0PA – Shetland, UK

Visiting Shetland, we went to find this cache on Jen’s birthday. A slightly drizzly day (what can you expect from Shetland in January), but fun nonetheless and we enjoyed the scramble.


Rereading the log of my visit, I realise that we promised one of Jen’s poems… maybe we can revisit on my next trip!

(We had a quick look for another cache GCRRQE 2 days later on the way to the airport, but the pouring rain and lack of time defeated us)

GCMGGK – Madrid, Spain

I came to Madrid in an attempt to escape the dreary January weather, only to find that it travelled with me.


After the success of my first Geocache, I set out on a hunt for my second – a multi-cache, which took me on a small walk between a number of monuments – certainly a nice way of discovering some parts of the city which I might otherwise not have visited. Having found it, I must admit that I passed much of the rest of the afternoon travelling from tapas bar to tapas bar, where at least I could stay a little warmer!


Since I’m writing this two years on, it’s sad to report that neither of these two caches is still active.