Another very chilly dawn today with temperatures still around -4C at breakfast.
Looking out of the window, I could see snow on the tops of the far mountains and mellow pink sunlight on the frosty fields in the valley down below.
The garden was frozen hard including the fish pond and just after breakfast we had a burst water pipe outside. With thanks to my very kindly neighbours, it was quickly repaired. I decided that once the birds had been amply fed, then I would retreat to the kitchen. ..
Time to bake bread...
I decided to bake a quick soda bread with my Welsh smoked flour. All made and ready to eat in under an hour!
For the recipe please see my previous blog http://green-dragonette.blogspot.com/2012/01/chilly-pink-dawn-and-lazy-smoky-supper.html
It is now that time of year where I need to go through the freezers and use up what I have previously stored, in preparation-hopefully- for this year’s crops.
So for lunch today, together with the bread, was some delicious hot soup that I defrosted from the freezer.
Back last Summer, I tried growing watercress for the first time and had excellent results. It loved the frequent rain! The only problem being I had days when I had a glut and needed to quickly cook it and freeze it for later. This was a simple recipe which I could easily and speedily make using the other produce from the garden and it froze beautifully. I must admit I didn’t use my own home grown peas as I didn’t have enough and to jazz it up a little I threw in a glass of Martini-other vermouths are available...
Watercress, Pea, Potato and Martini Soup
Large bunch of washed watercress
One large onion-finely chopped
One large garlic clove-finely crushed
One potato-finely diced
A little oil-I would recommend British Extra-Virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil.
1 glass of Martini or Vermouth
1 Litre of vegetable stock –I make mine using organic Marigold vegetable stock powder
250 ml crème fraiche
300g of fresh/frozen peas
Few sprigs of mint-just the leaves
In a large pan, heat a little rapeseed oil and gently fry the chopped onion and diced potato until lightly golden.
Add the martini and allow the alcohol to burn off. After a couple of minutes add the vegetable stock and crushed garlic.
Cover and simmer for 40 minutes until the potato is soft then add the watercress, peas and mint leaves. Cook for a further 5-7 minutes then remove from the heat and blitz in a blender. If you want a very smooth soup then pass through a sieve before returning to the pan and adding the milk and crème fraiche. Gently stir and reheat.
Serve with some crusty bread and if you want to be extra fancy then retain some of the crème fraiche and swirl on top of each bowl of soup and garnish with a couple of fresh watercress leaves.
It may have been a freezing Winter’s day outside but at least I could still savour the joys of last Summer’s produce in the warm as I planned-and dreamed- about what this year’s harvest may bring...