Homemade Potato Soup and Life in January

It tends to go a bit quiet here in January at Words and Herbs, with frosty days and chill winds keeping the gardener indoors. But inside it is warm and my kitchen is welcoming.

And with January also becoming known as Veganuary in the UK (and anywhere else?) I simply can‘t let the month pass without posting a recipe or two.

😃

If you haven‘t heard of Veganuary, it is basically a month of vegan eating to get the new year off to a healthy start – and to promote a vegan lifestyle. Magazines are full of ideas for new vegans or for people who simply want to try out a plant-based diet. For old vegans like me I find the magazines rather repetitive and full of time-consuming recipes using trendy ingredients that are either unavailable in our part of the world or out of season or horribly expensive!

So here is a simple and delicious recipe using ingredients you probably have in your pantry already, created at the request of my Man of Many Talents who grew potatoes for the first time last year. (They were a big success – here is one of our harvests!)

I hoped to make the soup like his Mum used to, but I believe she must have used celeriac, which I have never tried – I substitute with a parsnip. 😉 If you see soup recipes in German they usually say ‚Suppengrün‘ which is typically pieces of vegetables like this, sold in our supermarkets in bunches:

My version comes pretty close to the original though. Please let me know what you think if you try it. It has become a favourite in our house!

German Potato Soup

You will need:

  • 1 kg potatoes (any sort will do!), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs (and 1tsp of marjoram if you have any)
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A good glug of olive oil

Heat the oil in a very large saucepan and sauté the onions and leek until nice and soft. Add all the other vegetables and put the lid on for a few minutes. Add the stock and herbs (save the parsley for just before serving) and simmer gently until the vegetables are cooked through – about 20 or 25 minutes. Allow to cool a little. Now the important part!. We like whole pieces of vegetables in our soup, but with a creamy consistency too, so I take my hand blender and pulse very briefly to break down some of the larger chunks of potato.

Add the chopped parsley (and chives go well too) and stir through. Serve with crusty bread, pretzels, crisps or croûtons. 😜

Enjoy!

P.S. I usually make an extra large pot of this soup and freeze some for a rainy day. 😉

 

 

 

All Good Wishes for a Very Happy 2020!

‘Hope’ is my word for 2020.

As we enter another new year, another decade, I look forward to seeing our trees grow, the garden flourish and our surrounding countryside recover from two severe drought years.

There IS always hope.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year, and may your gardens provide you with much pleasure and joy in the year 2020!

In a Vase on Monday: Advent Sunshine

Well, after a cold blast last week our temperatures are much milder again now. And although much has now shrivelled and died back in the garden there are still a few surprises. So I am pleased to be joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden again with a Monday vase.

These treasures were found in the Herb Bed, exposed to the icy wind and cold.

Echinacea ‘Flame Thrower’ and Hypericum ‘Miracle Night’

Both were placed in a small pot which a friend gave me for storing dried herbs and spices, but I immediately saw its potential as a vase!

I wonder if you have any surprises left in your gardens after the first signs of winter?

Have a good week, whatever the weather!

🙂

 

 

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: Red Chief

A couple of weeks ago I mistakenly showed a picture of my pinkish Miscanthus claiming it was my favourite – Adagio… well, I was wrong!  Now the labels are becoming visible again as things gradually die back, I see it was actually ‘Red Chief’, and my Adagios are either side of it. This explains the distinctive pinkish tinge. (I have corrected that post already!)

Anyway, here is Red Chief, looking pinker than ever…

… along with some of my other grasses, some faded Verbena bonariensis and a few sprigs of my no-name pink Heuchera that has been flowering non-stop for months now. For such tall thin stems I chose my test tube vases.

The other grasses are Briza maxima, Calamagrostis, Miscanthus Adagio, Pennisetum (Japonica and viridescens) and Panicum virgatum ‘Rehbraun’.

I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme which certainly brightens up my Mondays and hopefully yours too! Have a great week! 😉

In a Vase on Monday: Celebrating Six Years of Vases!

Congratulations to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden on the sixth anniversary of her wonderful meme! And a pat on the back for all those who have been taking part and creating lovely arrangements throughout the seasons. 🙂

This week we have been set an anniversary challenge: to present an arrangement only 6 inches (15 cm) square/high.

I immediately chose my miniature crystal rose bowl as a vase and went out on Sunday afternoon in the bitter cold to see what was still standing after several nights of frost.

My now favourite Achillea – ‘Pomegranate’ – is still looking wonderful, so I snipped a tiny bit off and found some of its common cousin growing wild which I also added. Then I found a little Fleabane, tinged with pink. And that was all I needed for a pretty little display.

Of course, I couldn’t stop at just one tiny vase, and as I had already selected some of my favourite miniature containers as alternatives I filled them too…

I particularly like the fireworks effect of the fennel with the pennisetum. Just right for a celebratory vase!

This meme has changed the way I garden – I soon recognized how rewarding it is to be able to bring flowers indoors almost all year round, as well as enjoying them outside. And my planting choices were therefore influenced.

So a very big thanks to Cathy for the inspiration and for keeping this meme going with her encouragement and thoughtful comments on our vases weekly. So much dedication is remarkable. 😃