I’m looking out of the half-opened window, watching as the rain patters down finely, softly, covering the city of Buenos Aires in dampness.
The sound of raindrops falling lightly from the sky is strangely calming, and on this mid-week evening, I take in the grey tones in the sky, breathe in the smell of fresh rain, and accept the fact that we are indeed in the last month of autumn, heading straight for winter.
We’re already almost at the end of May right now, quite an astonishing fact given that for me it still feels like the year 2014 has barely started.
While so many things have taken place since I made my New Year resolutions, it still feels like a pretty brand new year; a blank slate on which most parts are still clean and white; a fresh moleskin notebook that’s barely been written in.
I always get pensive at this time of the year, but don’t ask me why.
I’m not sure if it’s due to the darker shades and tones that winter’s soon-to-be arrival brings, or the fact that the first half of the year is screeching to an end. Whatever the reason, it makes me sit up a little straighter, collect my thoughts together and reflect on the last few months that have made up my 2014.
I’ve got a big jumble of thoughts in my head right now, but there is one thing that I’m proud of – I know I’ve held true to my promise to chase my dreams and reach for my goals, and for that I’m thankful. There’s still a long way to go, but at least I’ve taken the first step, which most people say is the hardest.
“I write to discover what I know.” – Flannery O’Conner.
I’ve been writing, and learning photography, and in the process, I’m learning that whether it be writing through words or telling a story through light and photos, I’m discovering what I know.
And in this moment of life, when what I know is merely a drop in the ocean of what I don’t know, of what is uncertain and not concrete, I am aware of a desperate need to write, and an urgency to pour forth what is deep inside, not just what I think I mean, but what I’m honestly trying to say. But I’ll leave my thoughts for another day.
Wet, rainy and chilly days like today make me want to retreat into the warmth of my apartment.
Did I tell you that the central heating in our apartment building has officially been turned on this week? This means we’re headed for the harsh cold days that warrants much more than just a mere pullover and thin tights. It means it’s time for thick woolen sweaters, soft comfortable scarves and warm winter boots. And of course, a satisfied and full stomach to keep the nearing winter chills away.
Our desire for food and cooking, is not unlike our desire to express ourselves.
In the days of cold, I reach for food that is familiar, and warm and bright, a reflection of the need to combat that which is foreign, and cold and dark. That I know.
On days like this, I need something simple yet substantial, brimming with flavor and color.
Something like a thick, rich butternut squash garlic soup – one whose fragrance is paralleled by its aromatic taste, rivaled only by its vibrant orange color.
A creamy soup which starts out with cubed butternut squash and onions and garlic, sauteed in a wok until tender, then left to simmer with vegetable stock until completely soft.
Once cooled, and pureed for a few seconds in the blender, we get bowls of delicious, rich soup, that’s so good, just so good.
This is what’s keeping me warm today, while I try to wrap my head around thoughts that are going in all directions.
And as I’m typing this down, I’m wishing all of you warmth this winter, and good thoughts and peace.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH GARLIC SOUP
(Serves 2 as a light meal, 4 as a side)
1) 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2) 2 medium onions, peeled and diced
3) 2 garlic cloves, minced
4) 1 liter of stock (either vegetable stock, chicken stock or beef stock)
5) Salt & pepper to taste
6) Heavy cream or milk (for garnish, optional)
7) Chopped fresh parsley (for garnish, optional)
1) In a large pan or wok, heat a little oil and then start by sauteing the diced onions over medium heat
2) When onions have softened, add in minced garlic and stir for one minute
3) Add in all the cubed butternut squash, and saute for about 15 minutes, stirring every once in a while until vegetables have softened
4) Add in the stock, and bring heat down to low, allowing to simmer for 15 minutes
5) After 15 minutes, switch off heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes
6) Puree vegetables and stock together in a mixer/juicer until soup achieves the consistency you desire
7) Return pureed soup back to the wok, and add salt and pepper to taste, while re-heating over low heat for 5 minutes
8) Serve piping hot with a splash of cream or milk and sprinkle on chopped fresh parsley for garnish, and if you like, with this grain-free oregano garlic focaccia (pictured)
* Note: If you don’t like such a strong taste of garlic, you can reduce the amount of garlic or remove garlic from the recipe completely