Its been a weird week. I've had news that's made me hugely happy, and then we've had events that have made both Kay and I sad. Lets start with the good news. See that shiny new badge on my right sidebar?
Yes, I've been voted into Babble's Top 100 Mom Food Blogs for 2012, and I am number 24. I am so chuffed and I want to thank you all so much for putting up with my constant
begging, begging, whining,
guilting requests for votes from you all. Its been an
incredible journey, and I am finally beginning to feel settled and happy
with myself and this little space I've created.
But, of course, every silver lining does have its cloud :(
And ours came quite literally. The plus thirties temperatures that we've been
suffering loving all week turned into an incredible hailstorm a couple days ago. The hailstones were massive, and I mean, huge, easily the size of golf balls. And they came at about 3 AM, spooked the cat, woke up the entire house and completely destroyed our gardens and most of the gardens in our neighbourhood.
Our beautiful vegetables that Kay had babied from seed were all pulverized to the ground, cherry tomatoes which were shaping up to ripen beautifully in the hot weather were all knocked over and wrecked, most of the pin cherries, highbush cranberries, blackcurrants, honeyberries and redcurrants were all broken, and the raspberries were pretty sad looking.
Pretty much everything in the rest of the garden is in a sorry state. We pulled all the beets, and while we got a decent crop, they were shredded to bits. Kay reckons the zucchini might survive, and maybe some of the peas and beans, but its going to be touch and go. All the herbs are gone.
Mother Nature is a mighty adversary, and this just reminds you how delicate the eco system is. It scares you and makes you realise the susceptibility of growing food, and the many ways it is a real test of endurance and hope. It makes you respect all those farmers and growers out there, whose livelihoods are dependent on nature's moods. Above all it makes you realise the precious value of life.
We are both heartbroken about the loss of our garden, Kay in particular, as he has put in a massive amount of work into it, like he does every year. We are slowly picking up the pieces of the wreckage, commiserating with neighbours and despondently doing damage control and clean up. We probably will end up planting more this season, but the lesson that Nature has taught us will not easily be forgotten and we will relish everything that we receive from her and cherish it.
This parsley was picked the day of the hailstorm, and I was marvelling at its perfection. I made this simple, light soup for our dinner, and as I went out to pick the parsley for it, I remember thinking how lucky I was to be able to perform this simple act of heading out into the garden to pick the herbs that would go into my soup. We relished the soup, lightly chilled, with some homemade garlic bread for dinner, never even realising what was going to occur the same night.
The next day, all the parsley was gone. Yes, life is a fragile, precious thing indeed.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 500g total weight)
3 + 1 cups vegetable stock
A large bunch of fresh flat leaf (Italian parsley)
Boiling water to blanch the parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
About 1/4 cup of light cream (optional)
Heat the oil in a deep pan, and add the onion. Lower the heat to medium.
Sauté for a couple of minutes, until softening, and add the garlic. Stir, then add the potatoes, and fry together for a few minute, until the potatoes are well coated with the oil, and fraying round the edges.
Add 3 cups of vegetable stock, and bring to the boil. Lower to a simmer, and simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender. Take off the heat and let cool.
Meanwhile, wash the parsley, discarding any thick roots (leave any tender roots on) Place in a large bowl, and pour over the boiling water to just cover the herbs. Blanch for a minute or so, and then drain, and place the blanched parsley in a bowlful of ice cold water. This step helps preserve the vibrant green colour of the parsley.
Add the blanched parsley to the cooled soup base, and blend to a smooth soup, adding the extra 1 cup of stock a little at a time to help loosen the soup.
Season with salt and pepper. Return to the heat, and gently stir in the cream, if using. Bring back to steaming point and serve.
You can also serve this soup cold. Chill the soup in the fridge. Just before serving adjust the seasoning, as cold food tends to need to be seasoned a bit more.
I think this recipe is perfect for July's No Croutons Required Challenge, hosted by Lisa's Kitchen this month. The theme is summer soups or salads.