I read recently that abundance is a feeling, and it’s not necessarily linked to one’s bank balance. I’ve certainly been feeling swaddled in abundance these past few days.
Yesterday, I visited my local Asian shop and picked up a huge bunch of coriander leaf and an equally huge bunch of the freshest mint for less than a euro. I love those big bunches of herbs, but find that they melt (you know – they wilt and go brown and slick with moisture) before I’ve used them all up. So I wrapped some stalks of each in newspaper and popped around to see my friend and neighbour, Susie, bearing herbs as gifts.
Susie’s partner owns Project Espresso and the lovely Marina Guinness had been in earlier, with a box of apples from her orchard. Susie offered me half, which I was thrilled to accept (more abundance!). I have ten of them bubbling away on the stove as I type.
I peeled and cored the apples, then added 150g of sugar to them, twenty of the mint sprigs (washed) that I bought yesterday, and six whole cloves. I put the whole lot in a large pot and poured in enough water to just cover the fruit. I brought it to the boil before turning the heat down and simmering them. They’ve been doing that for about forty minutes now, and I guess it’ll take another fifteen before they are properly stewed and pulpy. I’ll use them for apple crumble, stewed apple with cream, and also for the girls later in the winter when they’re feeling poorly: Stewed apples are tasty, easy to digest (especially with the addition of the mint), gentle on the stomach and full of vitamin C. The cloves add a gentle warmth to the whole concoction.
Earlier on today, I was delighted to learn that Aldi’s Super 6 for the next fortnight includes cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, celery and new salad potatoes. That means we’ll be having plenty of Greek Salad (tomorrow’s recipe!) and I’m also going to use some of the potatoes to make curry puffs. These are ideal for lunch boxes, after-school clubs, or to give the children when they’re in the door but dinner isn’t quite ready. I have the pastry made for those, and I’ll share the recipe early next week (when I’ve finished making them!).
Today, though, I experimented with cucumber and made soup. Both my girls were off sick from school today and I was working (bartering hours with the Rye Institute, which offers lessons to both my girls – one of whom has dyscalculia and the other of whom is intellectually gifted). Being out of the house and doing something to ensure my kids get the education they need made me feel hugely abundant 🙂 But it also meant I wasn’t home until after 4pm, and needed to whip up something that would be nourishing, tasty and easy on dicky tummies.
These needs, coupled with the 69c cucumbers in Aldi led me to create this soup. The recipe below yielded 10 generous main course servings. So I gave some away (abundance!) and have left some more to cool for freezing later.
I loved it, Ishthara loved it, Marie (our lovely librarian neighbour) loved it – but Kashmira pronounced it ‘an acquired taste’. She’s a certified ‘super-taster‘ though, so her experience of food is always more intense than mine or Ishthara’s.
Like everything else on this blog, please feel free to fiddle with the recipe – a can of beans would bulk it out, a potato would thicken it up and some delicate herbs would add a different flavour to the dish than the seasonings I used. I’ll put my hands up straight away and admit that I used shop-bought stock because I was feeling abundant. 😉
4 Spring Onions
1.5 Tablespoons of Butter
6 Tablespoons of Tahini
1 Litre of Stock
2 Teaspoons of Ground Ginger
50g Whole Almonds
A Little Vegetable Oil
Gently fry the almonds in a little oil until their skins start to darken. If they burn, you won’t be able to use them, as they will give a bitter taste to the soup.
Prepare the spring onions by cutting off the hairy base and trimming the more wilted bits at the tips. Snip them with a scissors and include both green and white parts.
Wash, but don’t peel the cucumbers, then cut them into pieces. I sliced mine in half lengthwise, then cut them in half lengthwise again (so I had four ‘lengths’ of cucumber), then chopped each length into bite-sized pieces.
If you’re using shop-bought stock, prepare it according to the packet instructions.
Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium-low heat.
Add the spring onions and saute for about 5 minutes.
Add the cucumber and the ginger powder.
Cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes.
Add the stock, tahini and almonds.
Turn the heat up and put the lid on the pot.
Bring to the boil.
Turn the heat back down and simmer the soup for another 15 mutes.
Remove from the heat and blend (I use a stick blender because it’s really handy and means I can leave the soup in the pot).
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with rice or bread (we had it with brown soda bread and found the flavours complemented each other very well).