It has been one of those days full of unexpected pleasures - and an embarassingly empty fridge... I am saving myself for the local farmers' market next week, so I have let stocks run down in the fridge - plenty to last us, but a bit of a whatdoIdo when friends arrive at the door with a lovely bottle of wine (but no parsnips!) So we just had to take everybody up through the woods to the Iron Age Fort to work up a good country appetite. Meanwhile I was alternatively racking my brain and remembering the parable of bread and fishes, wondering just how many tins of sardines there might be in the larder... But what I really wanted to tell you about was Anthropologie which I discovered yesterday. They have some lovely knits and embroidered items. I am already formulating my Christmas list and this scarf is on the top, dear Santa.
The view from the top of the hill was a revelation - nothing but green fields and blue horizon until the South Downs. This wonderful view reminded me that we still had some frozen peas and spinach in the freezer, maybe some salad onions (scallions) and the smoked salmon we intended for lunch anyway. I just want to come up to the top of this hill sometime and find a log to sit on and write about what I can see once a week - or once a month. (I need to be realistic.) And there is never time enough at the moment to stitch my own notebook and so I rather took a shine to this.
Maybe both? Or is that greedy? Anyway we lit the log fire, opened the wine, and I melted a whole bunch of trimmed scallions in some gentle rapeseed oil (didn't want to overpower the flavours with olive oil.) Then I tossed in a handful of frozen peas, a handful of frozen spinach, two nice green peppercorn and a quarter of a pint of liquid (this time half stock, half soya milk) for each person. A pinch of salt and let that simmer briefly while I made some wholemeal toast, divided out the smoked salmon with a curl of dill for each open sandwich. Then I blitzed the soup which was truly and amazingly pea-green. Into each bowl I swirled a teaspoon of creamed horseradish - and yes you really do need this - it lends a lovely peppery sweet flavour. If you don't have creamed horseradish, then use regular horseradish blended half and half with creme fraiche or sour cream.
Together with the wine, warm fire, good conversation and happy memories, it was a really nice lunch, even if I say so myself. Am now a bit drowsy and would love to curl up in a bed like this - and it can't all be bad, these items are in the sale....