Sometimes I can’t believe I call myself a blogger or that I even once wrote daily for a whole month. Let’s just say the words have been inside my head, and my energy has been going in a different direction than this space. Christmas came and I planned to write about Advent, then there was the New Year and I was going to write about goals and words for the year, but all of a sudden it was February, and then I was going to write about love, and start thinking about Easter because I wanted to blog daily during Lent, then you know. Lent started 14 days ago. Or was it 15 days ago?
The truth is every year Lent rolls around, and I hear person after person talk about what they will give up, the meditations they will read, and the seriousness of it all, and I don’t get it. Year after year Lent grabs me and shakes me into action. I’m a melancholy type who could sit all day long reflecting in my head and with my pen to the lines in my journal, but when I start thinking about Jesus’ last 40 days, I see a man who knew his identity and understood his purpose and let nothing stop him from walking toward it.
I want to know who I am and to walk in purpose, wasting no time for the days are few. I don’t know how long I will live, and neither do you. We have one life to live. What will I think about mine at the end? Will I wonder what could have been if I took more risks? Loved more freely? Lived without thinking about the judgments of others?
Believe me when I say I have no great ambitions for Lent 2014, only that I want to give and give and give some more out of who I am. In 2014 this looks like a lot of cooking, a lot of feeding people I love and people I want to love, a lot of bringing people around the table and connecting people who don’t know each other. This is one of the reasons for my life in Stockholm right now, I’m convinced of it. I want to take my eyes off myself, my dreams, my plans, and instead knowing who I am, take what I have to give and pour it out into the world.
Lent is for giving.
In other unrelated-but-related news, we have a new kitchen machine. It’s a Thermomix, and I use it daily, often several times a day. It’s my favourite thing in the kitchen now, and I’m stunned by the speed at which it chops. Several years ago I came across a recipe for homemade vegetable bouillon at In Jennie’s Kitchen, and wanted to try it immediately but only had a blender. It’s been in my mental filing cabinet waiting for the day when we would have our own kitchen workhorse. So last week I tried it out, and yes, it is amazing. I could happily drink the veggie broth this bouillon makes straight out of a mug, but it’s fabulous as a soup base and also in risottos. It would also make for a lovely gift.
Homemade Vegetable Bouillon
150 g leeks, sliced and well-washed (a bit less than 1 large leek, I used parts of the white and green, trying to get an equal balance)
200g fennel bulb, chopped
200g carrot, chopped
100 g celery
50g sun-dried tomatoes
3 medium garlic cloves
250g fine grain sea salt
40 g flat-leaf parsley
1. The way you make this will vary depending on the power of your machine and the capacity of the bowl. My Thermomix is powerful, but I wasn’t sure how everything would fit. Instead of putting everything in at once, I followed Heidi of 101 Cookbooks‘ instructions and put the first four ingredients in, and then I added the next three followed by the salt and at the very end, I blitzed it all with the herbs.
2. I chopped each set for 10 seconds at speed 9. For a food processor, the 101 Cookbooks instructions indicate to pulse 20 times.
2. I put the herbs in whole without chopping, which means our veggie stock ends up with these lovely pieces of herb leaf in it, and I adore it.
3. You end up with a paste – don’t be scared if you taste it after the salt has been added and wonder what you’ve done. The salt is necessary to preserve it, and also keeps the texture nice and smooth. Keep some in a jar in your refrigerator and the rest in the freezer to use later.
I need a heaped tablespoon for a liter of water, but I like my stock strong and salty.