It’s entirely possible that this is my favourite time of year. Looking out of the window now, the garden is still kissed with early morning frost – but I can see bright green shoots, unfurling leaves, the first golden crocuses, and the hyacinths just starting to show. It always feels like a relief. Spring. We’ve made it!
Like many of you, I have never fasted in warm weather; we’ve been hammering away through snow and sleet and torrential rain, so it will be great to try it with the sun on our backs, on days that have more energy and bounce than the short grey days winter. I’m guessing we’ll naturally want to eat lighter meals as the weather warms – salads, raw veg, grilled fish, the kind of things that hold little appeal when it’s below zero outside and the central heating is on indoors.
We’re not there yet, though. But early spring is full of promise and potential, a time, I think, that calls for a subtle shift in our idea of how a Fast Day might go. We’re unfurling too. This is a moment, perhaps, for a clean, clear veggie soup: still warming, still filling, but fresh and feisty, like the season.
Spring vegetable soup
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- I250ml vegetable stock – homemade will give the best flavour, though a stock cube will do
- 150g peas, fresh or frozen
- 150g broccoli, cut into little florets
- 100g mange tout
- Generous handful of herbs – mint, coriander, parsley
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Squeeze of lemon
- Chilli flakes to taste
Gently sweat celery and chopped onion in a pan with the olive oil. Once translucent, add stock and bay leaf and bring to a gentle simmer. Add vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes until tender. Remove pan from heat and add herbs, spring onion, soy and lemon juice (plus chilli flakes if using). Season and serve. This makes enough for four and has a calorie count of around 100 calories a portion.