Today it's officially the first day of Spring in the Netherlands but the thermometer tells me otherwise. It's cold ( 6 degrees Celsius) and a bit windy, not at all what we would normally associate with a genuine spring day.
We gardeners are all looking forward to Spring, to work outside and enjoy our gardens, to warm our hearts and souls with the colours, the smells, the sounds, the taste, the touch and feel of our gardens. Not so today, at least not here. So to warm those of you up who need it, I have the following weird and wonderful recipe which was inspired by the fact that so many of my fellow garden bloggers worldwide had bought this lovely flower in vast quantities :
Vegetable soup with violets! If that doesn't get you warm and comfy, then you're a very difficult person to please. :-)
Ingredients to make the stock:
- 3 carrots
- the white bit of 1 leek
- 1 clove of garlic
- half an onion
- 1 shallot
- 20 cl white wine
- 1 small bouquet garni (= a sprig of thyme, a bay leaf and parsley stalks all wrapped in a leek leaf and tied with a bit of string)
- 1,5 liter water
- some olive oil
The stock is made 1 day in advance. Cut the vegetables into small pieces and fry them with the clove of garlic and the bouquet garni in olive oil for a minute or 2. Add 1,5 liter water plus the white wine, bring to the boil and let it simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the fire and let it cool down.
The next day we add the following ingredients to the stock:
- 4 cubes of vegetable stock
- 100 gr of violets (the flowers, not the stems)
- a little bouquet of violets for decoration
- black pepper
- sea salt
- 4 slices of bread
- some butter
Pour the vegetable stock though a sieve and bring it to the boil again. Crumble the cubes into the stock and let it boil a bit longer. Add some freshly milled black pepper and sea salt. Lower the heat to its lowest point and add the 100 grams of violets. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. Pour the soup through a sieve and serve immediately, together with some toasted or grilled bread, some sea salt and butter. Decorate the soup plates with the rest of the violets. Enjoy!
Now fades the long last streak of snow,
Now burgeons every maze of quick
About the flowering squares, and thick
By ashen roots the violets grow.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809-1892