Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I still have a couple more days before I go back to work, so there are few words today. I have the sense of news, and things about which I could and perhaps even should hold a strong opinion, and yet really I am mostly thinking about soup.
Speaking of which, in the spirit of William Morris, here is a very quick, mildly cheatish, yet entirely restorative chicken soup. If you feel a little liverish and would like something easy and clean to bring you back to health and sanity, this is perfect. I just made it up, so please feel free to tinker with it at will.
Take a couple of free range chicken breasts, and slice them very, very finely into tiny little strips. This sounds a bit pointless, but is worth it. It's a texture thing. This is not a soup of big chunks.
Gently cook the chicken in some olive oil in a big pan. It takes about five minutes over a medium heat. Throw in a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves and cook for a couple more minutes.
Then add about a litre of chicken stock if you have it, or water with Marigold Bouillon powder if you do not. Since this is a cheat soup, I am not going hardcore on having proper stock. Marigold is, as always, a lovely substitute. Simmer for another five minutes or so.
Then finely chop a big handful of baby spinach leaves and another big handful of watercress. Again, the chopping is important, otherwise the leaves flop about and are rather difficult to get onto your soup spoon. Simmer for a couple more minutes. Check for seasoning. I put in a good pinch of dried chilli at the end, for va va voom, but that is up to you.
And that is it. It's a thin, gentle broth, and as you eat it you will feel your insides thanking you.
It was a dull, raw day, with a sprinkling of snow still on the ground, not at all promising, and yet there is still something marvellous about the light at the moment. I don't know if I have ever seen the winter colours so astonishing.
Tree with lichen:
I love it when the little trees almost look like clouds:
I became rather entranced by the dew on the bare twigs:
The massed trunks, of which I never tire:
A fallen giant of a tree:
Ladyships having fun:
And looking too ravishing for their own good, really:
(Those faces are because I have just said the word 'breakfast', which always induces intense staring.)
And today's view of the hill, vivid against the flat white sky: