Last winter, I was sitting with a friend, chatting and drinking spicy chai by the fireplace. I was feeling content but also a bit flat and a little bit quiet and I couldn’t muster the same sparkly enthusiasm she had that day. I apologised to her for feeling slow, and not in a good way I joked. She said don’t be sorry, and she told me a story that has stuck with me and it’s changed the way I think about the seasons we’re in.
She said; “In winter when the tree loses its leaves, when the flowers have fallen away and it doesn’t bear fruit, we don’t shake the tree and say, where’s your fruit? Your flowers? Your leaves? Why do you look so empty and so sad? We accept that the tree is doing exactly what it needs to. It’s turning inwards and grounding itself. The tree is busy planting its roots deep into the soil so that it will be stronger and more stable. We know that the tree needs this time to be bare and raw and we trust that it will be spring again in due time”.
What a powerful thing to give ourselves permission to be quiet, introverted and reflective. Let’s give ourselves time to be raw and sad and bare and not be in a hurry to be bright and cheerful all the time. To use quiet times to contemplate, to reflect, to grow stronger and plant roots and have trust that it will pass just as the winter always passes and turns to spring.
As we move through the last days of autumn here in the southern half of the world, I’m keeping it in mind, to be kinder to myself. To adopt the pace of nature and enjoy slower evenings at home.
Nothing compares to a bowl of homemade soup on a cold winters day. This recipe created by my friend Lise Walsh is nourishing and hearty, you can use frozen peas if you’re short on time and the pepitas add a crunchy texture that makes it so moreish.
For the soup
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic- peeled
1 leek – white part only
750g frozen baby peas
1 litre vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
For the spicy pepitas
1 cup pepitas
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ground chilli powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan-forced.
- To make the spicy pepitas, place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
- Spread seeds onto an oven tray and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Set aside.
- For the soup, roughly chop the onion and leek and sauté in a large saucepan with the oil, over medium heat until the onion and leek have softened and started to turn translucent. Add the finely chopped garlic and cook for a further 1 minute.
- Add the frozen peas to the onion mix and sauté for a further 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the stock and bring to the boil.
- Once soup has started to boil, reduce the heat and simmer until all the vegetables are soft.
- Remove from the heat. Add the coconut milk, mint and season with salt and pepper.
- Using a hand blender, blitz the soup until smooth.
- Serve soup topped with spicy roasted pepitas and toasted sourdough bread.