Field Notes: May & A Soup For Spring
I had planned to write this post a week ago but after the tragic event in Manchester, I found myself utterly lost for words. Like most of you I watched the news in disbelief that something like this was happening so close to home and to children. As the parent of a teenager, I can't begin to imagine the agony that many families and friends are having to deal with right now and my heart goes out to all who have lost loved ones or been injured in this horrendous attack. Watching the news made me cry, it made me angry, it made me want to take my loved ones and runaway to a deserted island. After several days, there were still so many questions with no answers so I chose to turn off the television and head off into the woods where I finally found some comfort. The sun was blazing, the heat drying the back of my throat, the air was hazy. The nettles were five feet tall in places, creeping bramble stems provided trip hazards and the little stream gave off a sulphuric reek that permeated the air. But it was everything I needed to escape to - a sign that life goes on and that we must keep fighting, keep growing, keep reaching for the light no matter how dark it gets.
I'd like to thank you for all your feedback about my last post on slow living and what it means to me. I've been overwhelmed with so many positive comments and messages, it's great to see that it resonated with so many readers here on the blog and on Instagram (if you haven't read the conversation over there then click here to find out more). I know many of you are starting out on a path to a slower and simpler life and I hope you found it helpful to see that it's not all about style, it's about making choices, sometimes really hard ones. But trust me when I say it will be worth it in the end as you really will feel the benefit of less stuff, less financial worry and more time to do the things you really love.
Field Notes: May
It's been a pretty spectacular Spring this year. Hot days followed by heavy rain have allowed the wildflowers to run riot and put on a spectacular show. The glorious pink shades of herb robert, foxgloves and red campion catch my eye as I meander along the woodland track. I gather a few stems of each to take home for the jam jar on my table. I can hear the buzzing of bumble bees and honey bees supping on the nectar of the bramble bushes and I stop for a while to photograph the pollinators hard at work. The undergrowth is rife with common vetch and wood forget-me-nots whilst snails cling from the hairy stems of nettles and cow parsley. I waft my hand at a cloud of midges. The elder trees are now heavy with their creamy white flower heads and I think of hot summer days drinking elderflower champagne in the garden. Cabbage white butterflies circle around me as I linger over the stunning simplicity of the ribwort plantain floating in a sea of buttercups. I sit on the dry earth for a while enjoying the sun on my face. These are precious moments, ones that soothe and allow my mind to be still. It's my own way of meditating, my own way of pressing reset.
Food is my other way to comfort and heal and I've been making this soup a lot recently. It's a real celebration of spring and is quick, simple and delicious with the added extras of toasted pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts and chia seeds to give it some extra protein power. Instead of spinach you could add chard or kale and although I've used creme fraiche as my topping of choice, it's also equally nice with a swirl of coconut milk to make it dairy free.
Broccoli & Spring Greens Soup
1 tbs olive oil
1 large leek, chopped
1 large head of broccoli, stalk removed and separated into florets
1 head of spring cabbage, chopped
1 large handful of baby leaf spinach
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mild chilli powder
1 ltr vegetable stock
A swirl of creme fraiche or coconut milk and a handful of pumpkin seeds, chopped hazelnuts and chia seeds to serve.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped leek. Allow to soften for a few minutes.
Add the chopped heads of broccoli, spring greens, spinach, turmeric and chilli powder and mix well.
Add the hot vegetable stock (and maybe a little more water to cover all the vegetables).
Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 25 minutes.
Once the vegetables are all tender, pop in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.
Serve with a swirl of creme fraiche or coconut milk. Add a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Oh and an added twist of black pepper.