Thursday, 16 April 2009

New season, new soup

At last the garden is starting to yield some produce other than parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes.
The new season kale and PSB are exciting enough, but the first picking of mustard greens from the greenhouse means one thing, and one thing alone.

Noodle soup.
Noodles and R went together like, like.... Well, they just went together.

When we lived in the city, we always headed to Chinatown for noodle soup after a post-work beer or six. After we moved away from 'civilisation' it was often his first choice for a birthday treat, and was what I cooked for him when he was feeling down.

Good stock, noodles, of course, spring onions, garlic, ginger and star anise. Plus the all-important greens and topped with the protein of choice. Crispy pork belly is good, so are chicken, prawns or beef in their own way. But for preference it was always duck. However, as it took us a couple of years to start rearing our own ducks when we moved here, we had a long wait before it returned to the menu.

But so worth the wait.

I don't recall ever cooking it for anyone else, though. It was one of our guilty pleasures together. Soup, spoon, chopsticks, dish of pickled vegetable. Then silence punctuated only by happy slurping.

It is a dish that is so bound up with R that I haven't been able to eat it since he died. But the new mustard greens needed to be celebrated, so I took a deep breath and broke my duck, as it were.

It was as good as I remembered.
Quack quack!

(This is one of my girlies. She will never be soup.)


  1. See how well you are taking care of yourself during these darkish days. I don't know what it's like there, but this spring things are really popping up late and bright, flowers, flowering shrubs and glorious trees like ornamental cherries, apples, plums. In a way it always makes one a bit more depressed when the EXTERNAL looks so pretty.

    And then we get a week or so of dreary weather after some sun, so we can really stew in it. And all the lovely pink petals drop down.

    Making soup is the perfect antidote to spring drears!

    You should write a widow's cookbook.... ten stews for ten moods, or something. A year of grieving through seasonal soups, a note book with recipes. Fruit, leaves, stems, roots: cooking after loss.

    Anyway. Thanks for sharing your creativity and sustenance.



  2. Thank you for your lovely comments.
    The inner despair while all around looks beautiful is hard to bear, isn't it. Over the past few years, it has normally rained here from November through to April, so it has been a bitter irony for me that we actually had a cold, crisp winter and fantastic spring for once.

    I do like the widow's cookbook thought...