Tuesday, 9 December 2014

How to make soup when you're sick

I am a snotfest.  This is not enjoyable.  Yesterday I slept all morning and surfaced requiring sustenance.  We have been struggling yet again with using all of our vegetables, so I decided that some Nourishing Soup was in order.  And at least some chilli was required for its decongestant properties.

Here are the things I put in it, in roughly the order and quantities I used:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 small onions, chopped into strips
8 inches of celery, chopped into strips
2 roasted red peppers from a jar, chopped into strips
half a head of cabbage, chopped into ribbons
4 heaping teaspoons of thai green curry paste
1 chicken stock cube, made up in 1.5 litres of boiling water
a third of a tin of coconut milk

And here's how I did it:
Sickness-specific preparations 1:  Haul a chair into the kitchen
Sickness-specific preparations 2:  Stuff nose with tissue
Step 1:  Chop  onions and celery, cook on a low heat with the oil
Feebleness-specific interlude 1:  Fail to open large jar of red peppers
Feebleness-specific interlude 2:  Boil kettle
Feebleness-specific interlude 3:  Pour boiling water over lid of jar
Feebleness-specific interlude 4:  Wrestle with jar and teatowel until openness is achieved
Step 2:  Fish two peppers out of jar and chop
Optional prequel to step 2:  Rinse some of the vinegar off the peppers.  I didn't bother as the mild tang works nicely enough in this soup
Step 3:  Add the peppers to the pan
Step 4: Chop the cabbage
Step 5:  Add cabbage to pan and let everything cook until fairly tender
Interlude of forgetfulness:  Realise that cabbage goes better in soup if it's not in really long ribbons and attempt to bash it with your spatula so that some of the long ones break up.  Fail
Step 6:  Use the remaining hot water from the Feebleness episode to make up a chicken stock cube.  Add stock to pan, pop the lid on and leave for 10 minutes to really soften the cabbage
Step 7:  Stir through coconut milk, faff about fetching a bowl and serve
Step 8:  Feel accomplished and like your efforts are doing you good.  Have another little sleep.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Advent post III


We only thrive in the light (which makes me think of this song, yes, I was that cheesy Christian teenager).  At this time of year it can be so dark.  We get up in the dark, like the Wife of Noble Character (when I much prefer the attitude of the psalmist), we leave work in the dark.  Darkness seems to  fill the time that is our own.


I abide in an abode.  This tickles me.  As does the picture above, whereby I am cheating and using a photograph someone else has taken.  I helped build the house though.  But to abide?  To abide is to stay, to endure.  Also to rest, to remain alongside.  There's a heavy peacefulness to it.



The things we notice.  The height of the water.  The stillness of the reflection.  The traffic in the background.  We once went to this park to find a thing and failed to notice it, even though it was in plain sight.  What are the things we don't notice?  Who are the people I don't notice?


I watched a number of things on Saturday.  I watched country music videos at the gym, I watched the clock in order to get out on time (and managed it), I watched (and joined in with) dancing and singing.  I took photographs, which takes quite a lot of watching.


Show up
These wee guys showed up in ourhouse this weekend.  They are on their way to show up too.  To show up for a saviour.  Who in turn is on his way.  To show up for us.  And we should show up.  Show up for those who ask.  Show up for those who don't.  For those who can't.  Show up just to be there.  Show up to do the thing that needs to be done.  Show up when it hurts.  Show up when it's easy and fun.  Show up when no-one believes you will.  Show up when someone believes no-one will.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Advent post II



Imagine what's over the horizon.  That's part of the hope of advent, isn't it?  Looking forward to something.  To the world being changed.  What might Mary and Joseph have been imagining would happen following the birth of their baby?  And did the events of his birth and the flight to Egypt blow their wildest imaginings right out of the water?

Monday, 1 December 2014

Advent with monks

This year I am trying a Thing.  A Thing that The Society of Saint John the Evangelist have come up with.  Like an advent calendar, only with fewer doors and markedly less chocolate.  Contemplative, like.  We'll see how this goes.


I do all my looking through glasses these days.  Makes for awkward photography, looking through droplets when I go out in the rain and nose scrinching to keep them up there.  But it keeps things from being fuzzy.  And getting your lenses right, so that things aren't fuzzy is important at this time of year.  Keeping things in focus and with the correct perspective, that sort of thing.


I think Christmas is a time when a lot of people remember loved ones.  The first Christmas without someone is one of those significant firsts that you can't really avoid.  So I remember my grandma as she prepares for her first Christmas in 60 years without this man.  And remember that I am fortunate to have known all of my grandparents and privileged to have enjoyed their company for three decades, even though I'm just down to the one now.