Saturday, 14 July 2012

Home Grown Parsley and Potato Soup (and a Lesson in Life)

Home grown parsley and potato soup

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?
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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. 

So thank you all from the bottom of my cooking pots and pans! I couldn't have done it with your constant support and encouragement.
  

Home grown parsley and potato soup

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.

Home grown parsley

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. 

Recipe: 

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) 

Method: 

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. 

15 comments:

  1. Nice write up, I am really sorry for you guys. Even though I do not have a herb/vegetable garden, I can understand how you must be feeling. I loved the way you said 'every silver lining does have its cloud'.

    Aparna

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    1. Thanks Aparna. Yes, its quite sad to lose a veg garden, but we are lucky in many other ways.

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  2. OMG - first of all - HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS for your Babble accomplishment...!
    My heart goes out to you regarding your garden. I woke up and watched the hail. Thought the house would BREAK... and was afraid to look at the garden in the am as I live for it every year...and mine was FINE. I do not understand why or how as the hail was fierce - I have lost a couple of gardens to hail in the past - they do come back... kind of... but, I understand so completely. I have lots of herbs if you want some!
    Valerie

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    1. Thanks Valerie. My husband did replace the herbs, and luckily some produce survived as well. Thank you for your generous offer though!

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  3. Congrats on being in Babble Top 100! What a great accomplishment!

    Sorry to hear about your garden...I know my son would be so upset if that happened to ours. He loves to water the plants and helped me plant some seeds too.

    The soup looks so vibrants! Perfectly done!

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    1. Thanks Asiya. Its always sad to lose something you've worked hard for, but it looks like some things will survive, so we are lucky there.

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  4. Such pain, give Kay a hug (in a manful way!) from me. You write beautifully, as ever and deserve your position... you also deserve a wider audience!

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    1. LOL, Chumbles, I certainly will. Poor guy was up at 3 AM despondently watching the hail batter the garden. And I certainly wouldn't be where I am now without your support, you and Phil have been my constants through this journey :)

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  5. So sorry to hear about your garden. I know I would be crushed but as you say, that is the way mother nature goes and there is not much we can do about that. Thank you for your entry to NCR. A lovely summertime soup for sure.

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    1. Thanks Lisa. I just occurred to me after I posted this soup that it would be a perfect fit for NCR. I haven't been as regular as I would have liked to be, but I promise to be better :)

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  6. I'm really sorry to hear about your misfortune. Some things you really can't plan for however hard you try. Lovely, simple soup, though. I hope your garden recovers quickly.

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    1. Phil, yes... sadly nature is unpredictable like that. The garden is recovering slowly, though I think the front garden is trashed and will need to be replanted. Luckily its only flowers.

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  7. Oh I am sorry to hear about the hailstorm wreaking havoc into your garden. I know how devastated you might have felt when your well taken care of veggies were shredded into pieces because of something you cannot control. It is very difficult for me to take care of just a little basil plant, (i don't have a green thumb) how much more to take care of a healthy garden. I know you will be able to get through this rough spot....Congratulations on your shiny badge. You deserve it! I am excited to try this delectable recipe.

    Myfudo here...Normally we'd never put a shameless plug back to us, but we just launched our new site and we would love for you to be a part of it. I'd love to share our newest launch with you, I hope you don't mind? Now that we are getting a new look...Myfudo is moving to a new domain http://www.yumgoggle.com This has been a project we have been working on for almost a year now. We just launched our new gallery submission site, and we are just thrilled. We’d be proud to have your work as part of our growing collection to continue to have a larger reach and further inspire all fellow food lovers out there! Please sign up and check us out (it's free) http://www.yumgoggle.com/gallery
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  8. Sorry to hear about your garden. Hope you can revive the garden soon.

    Congratulations on the Babble accomplishment! :)

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  9. How sad about your garden - indeed nature is a mystery that can be so generous and so harsh. Your soup looks lovely - I hope it gave a little comfort.

    Congrets on winning NCR - saw your soup there

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