Recently I read a lot of posts welcoming the long awaited spring in other countries and started to feel blue for the gloomy and mostly cloudy weather surrounding the Istanbul sky. Regardless of where we live, we all had a difficult winter passed with financial recessions, personal depressions, work environment pressures, relationship complications, you name it. All we need is to feel the sunshine on our tired shoulders carrying more than we could handle nowadays.
Eventually, last weekend we enjoyed a pleasant weather outside with the sun up on the sky, “what a joy!” I said to myself. At the end grumpy, old winter with white-grey hair packed all its stuff -cold weather, early darkening days, faded colors- and walked out the door, leaving the place for the new tenant, a teenager with a colorful outfit.
While this replacement was taking place, we discovered a beautiful arboretum in a few miles away from our place and to my surprise Japanese community living in Turkey was preparing to celebrate the cherry blossom festival there.
Cherry blossom –originally called Sakura in Japanese- is the representative of spring besides being a symbol of good fortune and affection. They have been prominent in Japanese art, anime, film, music, painting, poem and all sorts of goods ranging from kimono to dinnerware.
Cherry blossoms also symbolize the transience of life because of their extreme beauty and quick death. Falling blossoms are considered to be metaphors for fallen warriors who died bravely in a battle.
Considering all these references, it is easy to understand the importance of “Hanami” –Cherry blossom viewing- festival in Japanese culture.
It has been a custom since the 7th century when the aristocrats enjoyed the view of beautiful Sakura and wrote poems. In the early spring time Japanese people gather with their family and friends under cherry trees to relax and to enjoy home cooked foods. That’s why I love Japanese culture which accentuates living in a perfect harmony with nature.
After a long stroll in the park and doing some “Hanami” to feed our souls, I was at home brimmed with the joy of spring. A tasty soup with fresh green vegetables would carry the fresh spring air on our table, so I decided to prepare a green soup inspired from a Gordon Ramsay recipe.
The original recipe was a simple yet delicious broccoli soup. My green things soup was enriched with green soy beans, fresh green peas and onion to add more flavors. Also serving with goat cheese and walnut made its way to the top of my favorite soup chart.
Just look outside your window today and if there is sun up on the sky, take a long walk to discover the awakening nature. Viewing trees and various flowers will ease your senses in a way you may never expect, however writing a poem is still optional if you do not have the talent! On the way back home don’t forget to stop by the greengrocer’s for ingredients of the green things soup recipe. Have a nice spring!
Ingredients (makes 6 servings)
- 300g (12.4 oz) broccoli
- 100g (3.4 oz) fresh green peas
- 100g (3.4 oz) green soy beans
- 1 midsized onion (roughly chopped)
- Sliced goat cheese (depending on the number of servings)
- Extra virgin olive oil (to drizzle)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sea salt
|1.||Boil broccoli branches and chopped onion in a saucepan until they are tender but still keep their live green color (be careful not to overcook, it won’t take more than 10 minutes)|
|2.||In another saucepan boil fresh green peas and green soy beans in a small amount of water and turn off the heat when their outer skin starts peeling off when you stir.|
|3.||Make sure green peas or soy beans do not have any skins left on them since they will prevent having a smooth texture. You can easily peel their outer skin when you gently squeeze each bead between your thumb and index finger. This may take some time but you won’t regret that.|
|4.||Put broccoli branches, onion, green peas and soy beans in a blender and add boiling water of broccolis from the saucepan. Blend well until you end up with a smooth texture. Do not add to much water, otherwise the texture will be too runny.|
|5.||Season the mixture with salt and pepper.|
|6.||Pour some soup in a bowl and place a piece of soft goat cheese in the middle and a walnut on its top. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.|