Hazel from Hazel Dene started a Winter Wednesday series as a celebration of all things wonderful about winter. She suggested others could do the same and link to her blog, so here is my attempt. To be honest I didn’t really know where to start with this one because I love winter, I guess it helps that my birthday is right in the middle of this wonderfully moody season. I could start by listing all the usual things about snuggling under a doona watching a movie, eating lovely rich casseroles and slow cooked foods, watching the rain run down the window panes and of course enjoying all that lovely free watering of the vegetable garden.
However, there are a couple of other more personal and less clichéd (not that there is anything wrong with the list above) aspects of winter that I’ve decided to go with today. Perhaps I’ll do a couple of other Winter Wednesday posts over the next few months to cover some of the other delights of this season.
Firstly, I am a complete lover of soups, all kinds of soups and while I make them all year around there is something extra special about making and eating soup in winter. There is nothing I enjoy better than spending some time in the kitchen whipping up a hearty, wintry soup. My personal top three soups are:
1. Corn Chowder – a recipe passed down from Mum and one which conjures up Saturday lunches from my childhood.
2. The classic pumpkin soup
3. Leek and Potato – I found a great Donna Hay recipe last year that I fell in love with though I haven’t gone to the length of adding porcini oil at the end as the recipe suggests.
So what are your favourite winter soups?
Now I know what you’re thinking – not much personal here and enjoying a good winter soup is probably pretty clichéd and you’d be right. But there’s more to this story. On Monday night, after both my girls were asleep, I decided to have a bit of a cook up, something that I usually save for the weekend. This decision was influenced by the fact that I had defrosted an entire packet of filo pastry to make a creamy chicken strudel for dinner and couldn’t stand the idea of wasting the rest of the sheets. I had a bunch of silverbeet from the most recent Aussie Farmer’s Direct fruit and vegie box so thought I would try a spinach and feta pie, but replaced the spinach with silverbeet. In waiting for the pie to cook I decided to make a quick pumpkin soup using my own home made chicken stock. Everything went fine until it came to blitzing the soup with the stick blender. When I started the blender I heard a metal on metal rattling sound, not good! It appears the blades have come loose from the shaft and the whole thing is a right off. This is the second stick blender I have used to death (literally) in two years – I told you I loved making soup. So far this sounds anything but positive but it gets better. The next night my husband walks in the door after work holding a brand new blender with all the accessories I had been enviously eying off on my sister’s and more. The best of these is the ‘Big Foot’, a specially designed attachment for blending things in saucepans – ie SOUPS. So now I can continue to soup it up to my hearts content. And forever winter will be associated with my new and treasured kitchen toy.
This photo represents the second of my wonderful winter observations, you just can’t keep a dedicated gardener down. For those of you not in Victoria, today was damn cold, wet and windy, but that didn’t stop my two year old from insisting on spending some quality time with the vegies. This bed was where she and I planted the spring onions the other day, apparently some tending was in order. I was in two minds about letting her go out, but who could resist the look of desperation of her face as she stood looking out the back door. I rugged her up in layers upon layers, a raincoat, beanie and gumboots and she had a ball for about 15 mins and then announced that it was too cold and could we go back inside – a definite first.
The song of choice this afternoon went as follows (fellow playschool aficionado will recognise this classic)
Drip, drop, drip, drop
Rain is falling down
Falling all around
Let’s put on our gumboots,
our raincoats and our hats
And we’ll jump in all the puddles
with a splish, splosh, splash
And here ends the first of my odes to winter, and yet again I have found myself waxing lyrically about my family – God I must get over this phase. Back to a gardening post next time.