Me: “H, do you know where your pink jacket is?”
Jr.H: “I gave it you to store it somewhere till the next Winter.” We try to flaunt our winter wear as much as possible in that one week of chill that December provides and then store them neatly till the next year. Officially we do not have Winters.
Jr.H: “What are you going to photograph?” (The girl knows me through and through!)
Me (a tad sheepish but coaxingly): “I just made a soup for daddy and I thought it would look so good if you held it. You know how nice your hands look when you hold stuff.”
Jr.H (with false anger): “I knew you would want something like that!” A pause and she says, “Can I wear some other sweater?”
Then I go around looking for my husband, P.
Me: “Where did you keep that grey sweater?”
P: “Must be somewhere.”
Me: “That is all you care. Do you know that it is my mummy who hand-knitted that one for you specially?” (emphasis on ‘my’)
I set up the soup on my wooden platform and take pictures.
P has a very irritated look and an argument ensues because of my emphasis on ‘mummy’. At the end of it he searches and hands over the sweater. I am not completely satisfied with my pictures on the board so the sweater finally makes me happy. I show it to H and she looks thrilled when she sees the pattern and the length. “It is so loose, I think it will look nice on my tights. It even comes up to my knee! I will wear when we go out sometime.”
Trust her to think of a fashion statement at this juncture! I allow her to kid herself so that she would wear the sweater and hold the soup. I always wanted to take a picture of this kind. Wool gives the feeling of Winter and conveys the warmth of the soup. I just allowed the sleeves to cover her knuckles so that we could emphasize that it was cold. Actually, it isn’t cold. It is damp all the time and a little chilly sometimes during the Rainy Season but far from cold.
Mr. P had a bout of cold during the weekend accompanied by cough, and all I administered was lots of pepper infused ‘molagu rasam‘ and this soup. The soup is decided by the vegetables available in the crisper. That day I had a leek that needed to be used up, and half a zucchini. My husband for some strange reason has stocked up carrots as if there is going to be a famine, so we had lots of them that needed to go somewhere. Predictably, in stock or soup.
Recipe: Carrots, leek and zucchini soup
Yield: 3 bowlfuls (Mine was a little thicker than usual soups)
Vegan soup stock – 2 cups
Carrots, scrubbed and diced into medium-sized chunks – 2 cups
Zucchini, washed and cut into thick roundels – 1 cup
Leeks, only green portion chopped – 1/2 cup (Use the tough portion in making the next batch of soup stock)
(Check here for preparation of leeks)
Tahini – 1 tbsp.
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil – 1 tbsp.
Chilly olive oil – 1 tsp. (Dried chilli flakes stored in olive oil)
Thaw frozen stock before chopping vegetables.
Warm a wok. Heat the oil, saute the leeks. When they turn soft, add the carrots, and a dash of salt. Toss well, cover and cook, stirring occasionally. When half cooked, add zucchini. After sauteing for a minute, add the stock. If stock is less, add equal amount of water.
Bring to a boil and allow vegetables to simmer on slow fire till the carrot turns very soft.
Remove from fire and let cool completely.
Puree the vegetables using a blender (do this only after cooling completely) and pour back into your soup bowl. Halfway through blending also add the tahini paste, scrape the sides and blend again, so that the tahini is distributed uniformly.
Dilute as per your taste and adjust salt and pepper levels. We had this quite thick.. Warm the soup to comfortable serving temperature. Serve with chilly olive oil drizzled on top with crackers or bread. By itself too it is quite a hearty soup.
As she wears the sweater, Jr.H asks, “Is there some contest or what?”
She: “I know you wouldn’t ask me to do all this unnecessarily!”
And she was right. I did this for the Dario’s contest. It apparently did not fit the theme so I sent another hurried picture, but I must accept that the girl really knows me!
For her part, she looked into the mirror, preened a bit, added a matching printed scarf, wore a hat and completed the effect. She knows I only click her hands, but being the indulgent mom that I am, I could not let the effort go waste.
We carry two bowlfuls to the terrace. The children in the other buildings try to have a look. They peer at us. An amused worker on the next terrace comes and picks up a brush as an excuse to see what’s going on. H (who says she is not Jr. anymore) tries out the white bowl of soup with the sweater. “Is it good?” I click and she looks up.
“Not very. Hold the wooden bowl.” It looks good! “Ok! Hold!” I say. A moment later she licks and I click.
She knows she will have to eat that bowlful, but she knows that food with a hand in action will look fingerlickin’ good.