I aspire to be a proper gardener. That means having a beautiful garden but it also obviously means growing an abundance of beautiful things to eat. My Granda and Grandma's garden when I was growing up was overflowing with amazing flowers and all sorts of goodies to eat. The peas were always my favourite but I loved everything I ate from that garden.
Several years ago (and I think somewhere around 10-15 years ago), I found a copy of a Reader's Digest book, Food From Your Garden, in a second hand bookshop near Forres and bought it for myself while dreaming of one day having a thriving garden. I love the book and look at it often.
My attempts at producing anything edible are pretty modest. I do grow a few herbs and tend to be self sufficient in salad leaves for a few months of the Summer. I also have a good supply of rhubarb after getting plants last year from Little Macaroon and I grow the odd other thing from time to time. I tried my beloved peas last year but failed by not putting netting over them from the beginning and finding the seedling got demolished by the birds (I managed about 4 pods in the end - last year's post). This year I have the netting all ready to go on from the start but none of my fresh seeds have germinated. Not one. I guess that's what I get for buying cheap seeds from B&Q. Lesson learned.
We have acquired two tomato plants and three courgette plants (thanks Little Macaroon) so far this year and I will be doing my salad leaves again (so good to have a constant supply for the sandwiches). Seems a bit pathetic but I had intended to concentrate on the peas.
However, this post is about a recipe for cream of spinach soup and I have to admit to having bought the spinach in the sad supermarket plastic bags. Sorry.
Dom from Belleau Kitchen asked us to do a healthy dish for this month's Random Recipes (check out his gorgeous-looking prune and almond brownies). I got together the books I felt I would be guaranteed to pick something healthy from and they amounted to this little selection -
Food From Your Garden, Reader's Digest
Veg Patch by Mark Diacono
Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook
Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite
I used random.org which chose Food From Your Garden and I used it again to get a page number which led me to the spinach section. Excellent - I think I could do with topping up my iron levels.
The recipe is very straightforward, quick and easy (yes, I did choose the easiest recipe on the page and I make no apologies for that).
Basically, saute some diced onion and carrot in some butter, add plenty of spinach. Add some stock and parsley (aha - this DID come from my garden), a bouquet garni, some nutmeg and seasoning and simmer for half an hour then blitz. Add the cream and heat through.
It recommended serving with croutons which are sprinkled with nutmeg - genius.
What a wonderful soup. I think the simplest and least fussy recipes are the best and I love how this is so healthy but tastes indulgent. Maybe not quite as indulgent as Dom's brownies but I will be trying those very soon. In fact, I reckon they would go with this recipe for a soup-and-pudding day.
I'm wondering about growing spinach next year. It would do as one of my salad leaves for sandwiches and any leaves that I didn't get round to eating while young and tender would go to make this excellent soup. In fact, I may decide to grow some this year instead of my peas.