Happy 2014!! So begins the difficult period we have to endure every year when learning to write 2014 instead of 2013. Oh the pain and misery... But seriously, this is going to be a great year! Yes, there might be some residual Christmas induced blubber to get rid of, and yes it's still dark, wet and miserable. But days are getting longer by the minute, and soon enough it will be spring. And with spring comes light, sun (maybe not on this island, but elsewhere) and of course planting the garden.
We have so many plans for the garden next spring. There will definitely be tomatoes again in the greenhouse. We had such an amazing crop of tomatoes last year, let's see if we can do the same this year when we have to grow everything from scratch. At least that is what we will try to do, plant from seed. If that fails, plan B is to buy plants, but of course we will still have to keep the poor little things alive once planted. We are also doing potatoes, onions and garlic. Sweet peppers, cucumbers and courgettes. Our cucumber and courgette crop was not particularly successful last year, but we have learned from our mistakes. And I want more herbs. I have already used up what little thyme we had. So next year there will be more thyme. And loads of dill. The parsley will have to go. As will the fennel. There will be oodles of basil. Some coriander. I am also thinking maybe some heirloom carrots and beetroot. There is a really pretty white and pink striped beetroot I would love to grow. Heirloom tomatoes would be great, I love the whimsical look of them. Check out these babies. In general, I love the thought of going back to grow the varieties which were bread for flavour rather than looks. How depressing is it that every single tomato is exactly the same colour and each cucumber the same curvature and length. But it will be a good six months before we know whether we will be successful at growing our own veggies. At least we have the fruit trees which hopefully produce some crop whether we turn out to have a green thumb or not.
The recipe is another one of my Christmas leftover creations. It is a mild flavoured creamy winter warmer soup. Which helped me get rid of a lot of the leftover turkey and leftover root veg as well as some of our own potatoes which should have been tucked away in the dark instead of left in the conservatory in the light.
We also made our own turkey stock from the leftovers of the giant bird. The Culinary Consultant stripped the meat of the bird and then tossed all the leftover bits and bobs along with the carcass (stripped of the lemons and herbs left inside of the bird for roasting) into our biggest stockpot saucepan. One onion, one chopped up sad and somewhat unappetising parsnip along with garlic, whole black peppers and bay leafs from our own bay tree were added. Everything was left to cook for about 6 hours or so. That gave us enough stock to freeze one batch and make this soup. I have always thought making stock is really hard work, but it's actually really easy, just chuck everything in and leave to cook. Sieve and voilá, you have your own low sodium and no preservatives stock.
Leftover turkey soup:
About 2 l (home made) turkey stock
1/2 medium swede
2 cloves of garlic
leftover turkey to taste (my soup contained a lot of meat)
ground black pepper to taste
dried mixed herbs to taste
salt to taste
about 1 1/2 cup leftover cream
Peel and chop the veg. If using swede, chop it into finer pieces than the potatoes and carrots as it cooks slower. Add all the veg, onion and garlic in a big sauce pan with the turkey stock and cook for about 40 minutes. Add the turkey, spices and cream and cook for another half hour or so.
This is a really simple little soup, and it can easily be adapted to help you get rid of all your leftover Christmas veg and loads of turkey. Delicious with a nice slice of bread. If you feel like getting rid of some of that Christmas weight, you can leave out the cream, but I like the added richness and decided I'll start a new, healthier life next week. I still have too much leftover Christmas goodies to start right away. Plus, you need some comfort food to get through those first gruesome days back at work.
Right before Christmas I got the Stampin' Up Wildflower Meadow stamp and embossing folder set. I was so busy preparing all my Christmas cards and then preparing for Christmas and then recovering from Christmas that I didn't get around to play with it until now. Today's card is stamped with the Wildflower Meadow stamp and embossed with the embossing folder from the set. I coloured the stamp with Stampin' Up Old Olive green and the flowers with Tim Holtz Worn Lipstick and the Stampin' Up Melon Mambo. For the sentiment, I used part of a stamp from the Punch Bunch set in Old Olive and then part of a stamp from the Chalk Talk set in Melon Mambo. I added a striped organdy ribbon in Melon Mambo, matted onto Melon Mambo cardstock and attached everything onto Kraft cardstock. Very much a "spring is coming" card!