Time for warming fires and soup - immune boosting at that!

So the winds may have eased but we have almost flooded under all the rain instead these last few days.  It is like the earth is healing, you know cleansing and letting go, not ideal if you are in a flood zone, but part of the process of 2012.

On Sunday we went for a walk and were astounded at the saturated fields.  One appeared more like a lake, the ducks were certainly enjoying the experience!  Just another example of how things can change, not least our perceptions but our reality - one minute a field, another a lake, one minute feeding cows, another a playground for ducks.  Incredible.

After our walk we went for our first swim of November, high tide at Petit Bot, wow it was a bit of a shock to the system, when did it get so cold!  Still it set me up perfectly for enjoying the bonfire that E made for us Sunday evening.  There is something very grounding and comforting about standing beside a bonfire.  Of course staring at the flames themselves must surely have a similar effect to staring at a candle flame as you do for Trataka, one of the shatkarmas.  This yogic practice is said to make the eyes bright and clear, balancing the nervous system and relieving nervous tension.  It also improves the memory and helps to develop good concentration and willpower.  Plus it helps to relieve insomnia and thus enhance sleeping.

So the bonfire was great, so too the fireworks with all that light and the sparklers, what a crazy invention, makes everyone regress to children, waving them around, writing your name and getting all excited all over again.  Embrace it i say, anything that allows that inner child to play is a good thing these days.

The highlight, however, was the soup.  A recipe that my Mum gave to me that I would like to share with you as it is not only yummy but highly nutritious too.  Plus there is something deeply fulfilling and rewarding about spending an hour making soup.  Or perhaps I am just a little strange!

It is actually an immune boosting soup that was invented (I believe) in Melbourne.

You need:

3 cups of sweet potato, cut in 3cm cubes;
1 leek (both white and green parts), cut in half, washed and thinly sliced;
2 tsp cooking oil;
1 garlic clove, minced;
1 tbsp grated ginger;
1.5lt (6c) basic vegetable stock;
1 medium broccoli head, small florets and thin slices of tender stalk;
2 c seasonal leafy greens such as silver beet, kale or spinach;
1/2 c of cashew nuts;
1 tsp sea salt;
1/4 large bunch of flat-leaf parsley (if using curly add more);
fresh cracked peppercorns;
fruity, high quality extra virgin olive oil;
umeboshi plum vinegar is optional.

Preheat oven to 200c

Toss the sweet potato in oil to coat, place on roasting tray, and roast for 25-30 mins, or until the potato is tender inside and golden outside.

In a large, heavy-based saucepan saute the leek in cooking oil for 8-10 mins or until soft and golden.  Add the garlic and ginger, saute for another 2 minutes.  next add the stock, dislodging any browned bits on the bottom.  Add the broccoli pieces, leafy greens, roasted sweet potato (whenever it's ready - it can be added later if necessary), cashews and salt.  Simmer covered for 15-20 mins or until the vegetables are tender.  Add 3/4 chopped parsley (it will cook instantly in the hot soup).

Turn off the heat and puree the soup with a handheld blender or a food processor.  Reheat, then mix in a few grinds of peppercorn and taste for seasoning.  if it needs a lift add the umeboshi vinegar or salt to taste.  Garnish with the remaining fresh parsley and a glug of olive oil.


Today the sun is shining again, hoorah, time to go and enjoy some sunshine.

With gratitude,

Ross DespresComment