This year it was last Thursday, the 20th of March. Everyone was working, so we waited until the weekend to celebrate, meeting up in London. Nowruz literally translates as 'the new day.' As we ate chello kabab ba morgh (minced lamb or chicken kabab and saffron rice) with salad, fresh herbs and cucumber yoghurt, it really did feel like we were celebrating the cusp of new beginnings.
Recently any spare moment ( I know...what are they?) has been spent sorting out cupboards and packing things that we can't bear to part with. Giving things away, recycling, painting and tweaking. Friday evening the estate agent came to have a look at the house, and amazingly, he loved it. He genuinely kept whooping with delight as he turned a corner, opened a door or bowed his head to walk under a low tree branch. How lucky are we to find someone who could appreciate our taste...He didn't suggest we change a thing...He said our house has soul, is homely and warm and assured us that as soon as it goes on the market the offers will come pouring in...I won't hold my breath, but feel quietly confident. (Famous last words...) We now have some idea of the budget for our new home and the search can begin with a vengeance...
So we happily tootled down to London Saturday lunch time, driving the long way through little villages first. The weekend was so good. I haven't laughed as much in ages. Too many people were crammed around a Monopoly board until 3am Saturday night...it's the best way to play. Some of us managed to sneak out to a restaurant to enquire about a secret surprise gathering that I'm planning for A in a couple of weeks. It's going to be hard to get everyone to London on the same evening...but I can't wait to try.
Meanwhile I've got lots of half-written posts that I'll hopefully write up soon, and tons of recipes, ideas and projects to share...I'll try and catch up if I can.
To start with here's the recipe for my current favourite seasonal two day pasta recipe.
- olive oil
- one red onion, peeled and finely sliced
- one or two cloves of garlic
- a little turmeric
- Assorted salad leaves...watercress, rocket and spinach
- Spinach (frozen will do if you don't have any fresh)
- one small potato, peeled and cubed finely
- one parsnip, peeled and cubed finely
- one and a half pints of vegetable stock...there's a good recipe here
- dried pasta of choice
- sea salt
- Pour a little olive oil into a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook until caramelised. (EDIT, whoops I should have said that you add the onions and cook until caramelised.)
- Add the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes.
- Add the turmeric and cook out for a second or two.
- Add the root vegetables and hot stock, mix with the ingredients in the pan, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat.
- Add the frozen spinach and cover with a lid.
- Leave the soup to cook until the vegetables are tender. Check the seasoning adding the pasta according to the time required on the packet.
- You may not need to add any salt if the vegetable stock has already been highly seasoned.
This is very tasty and inexpensive bowl food perfect for busy times. It's my current favourite hearty soup and the best thing is that any left over makes amazing pasta bake:
For the pasta bake you will need:
For the pasta bake you will need:
- enough of the soup to fill a small oven proof dish per person
- topping eg. any or all of the following:
- grated parmesan cheese or any other cheese of choice, breadcrumbs, an egg
- crushed black pepper and sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 200c.
- Place the dishes onto a baking tray and carefully spoon some of the pasta soup into each dish. If the soup contains a lot of liquid don't add too much of the juice.
- Make a well in the centre of the pasta and crack an egg into it.
- Grate over with a little cheese and then season with black pepper and salt if required, remembering that some cheeses like parmesan can be very highly seasoned
- Place the tray in the oven and bake the pasta for fifteen minutes until piping hot and the eggs bakes.
Alternatively if you don't like eggs you could use a crumb and cheese topping or just the cheese. For a vegan alternative chopped walnuts and crumb topping would work well.