It has become a familiar pattern. At least once a week I reach for the deep stock pot and begin my pantry foraging. Often it starts with homemade chicken stock or bone broth* brought to a simmer with perhaps little shreds of leftover chicken, a carrot and maybe a zucchini cut into tiny cubes. And then angel hair spaghetti snapped into small shards and cooked in the broth until tender. Other times a motley crew of root vegetables are roughly chopped, laced with olive oil, smashed cloves of garlic and perhaps cumin or garam masala if the mood takes me. When they've succumbed to the heat of the oven I scoop their oozy goodness into the stock and blend it all together with a generous lashing of cream.
The table is laid with mismatched silver soup spoons; round as a the moon and tarnished here and there. Small plates to the left of each setting for salad. Generous slices of tangy sourdough are hewn from a bronzed loaf and the babies take turns to butter it. A thrifted platter is chosen and a salad of sorts is concocted. It may become an elaborate still life of many of nature's colours or just one or two robust plants plucked straight from the vegie patch. Even in its most basic form there is always some sort of leaf, nuts or seeds and a classic French vinaigrette *. A simple dinner of soup an salad.
It is a meal inspired by the many Sparkle Stories we have listened to. Gentle audio stories of Martin and his little sister Sylvia have been played at quiet rest times, on long car journeys or on rainy afternoons and they infuse our world with a certain calm. These characters lead a simple life much like our own and after a busy day of play, learning and exploring they often gather at the table to share wholesome soups, salads and fresh bread. It is certainly becoming a tradition in this home too.
* I freeze my stock in wide mouthed glass jars in one or two cup portions. As long as you leave some room at the top for swelling when it freezes, your jars won't crack. A quick run under a warm tap loosens the edges enough for the stock to slide out into the pot to defrost.
* sometimes I have the gumption to cut up a shallot but more often than not I don't. All the ingredients go into a jar and one of the babies shakes it up until it's all combined.