Thursday 11 February 2010

A winter landscape . . .

The winter is a stillness and a darkness and a sleep
But not a death, for in the earth the roots of life go deep.
A rest . . . then re-creation and a glad new burgeoning.
Every day in Wintertime is one day nearer Spring.

There is nothing more exhilarating than a country walk across the fields on a cold bright afternoon in late January/early February. Todd and I did that just this Saturday past with Jess. The ground was muddy and quite hard to traverse in places . . . but it was a good walk and helped to clear away some of the winter cobwebs in the mind . . .

The eye can travel much farther in winter than summer. Open hedges and naked trees reveal much that will soon be hidden by a canopy of leaves and blossom. It's good to lean over a country gate and look at a field of fallow earth and to contemplate the beautiful bough structure of oaks and beeches.

The air rings . . . with silence and the odd bird call here and there . . . and each breath brings with it a crystal scented awareness of life that is around you, laying dormant and just waiting for the sun's warmth to come back to life.

There is a raw beauty to the landscape . . . there is not much colour, but there are dried seeds pods that have not yet fallen to the ground and dry grasses . . . golden globes of fallen apples rotting beneath the trees in the orchard . . . green moss laying amongst the roots of the trees . . . and as we walk back home beneath the pale gold of the sinking sun, fading into the smokey grey of winter's dusk . . . oh how very good it is to anticpate a hot drink and crumpets by our cottage fire . . . home . . . sweet . . . home.

It seemed all day yesterday that winter was not ready to loosen her grip on us just yet. The day was filled with cold winds and flurries here and there. Not enough to lay on the ground though, so that was good. I got to wear my mittens though. I had ordered a pair through Etsy a month or so back, when we were having our last spot of snowy days and I had thought I would not get the chance to wear them this winter . . . they kept my hands very warm yesterday, as did this tasty soup that we had for our supper. Easy and quick to make and very hearty, it did a great job of warming us up. Delicious!!

*Herby Meatball Risotto Soup*
Servess 4
Printable Recipe

This delicious one pot wonder will warm up your innards on a cold winter's day. It's hearty and full of lovely Italian flavours. Quick to put together it makes a delicious supper with some crusty bread on the side.

For the meatballs:
1 pound very lean ground beef
1 colve of garlic, peeled and minced
1 small onion, peeled and finely grated
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese
1 TBS olive oil

For the soup:
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
250g Arborio rice
1.2 litres of vegetable stock
1 (400g) (about 2 cups) of chopped tomates, undrained
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g of finely grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more to sprinkle on top of the soup for serving

First make the meatballs. Put the meat into a bowl along with the minced garlic, grated onion, parmesan cheese and then season to taste with salt and black pepper. Mix all together well with your hands and then shape the mixture into 12 evenly sized meatballs.

Place a large deep skillet on top of the stove and heat over medium high heat. Add the oil and once it begins to shimmer, add the meatballs and brown them evenly on all sides. Remove to a bowl when browned with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep warm.

Reduce the heat under the pan to medium and add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring over medium heat for about five minutes, until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring it until well coated with the pan juices. Add the stock, tomatoes, basil and oregano. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the meatballs and simmer for another 5 minutes. You may need to add a bit more stock if it isn't soupy enough. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and serve in heated bowls along with some more grated Parmesan for sprinkling on top. Enjoy!

Over on The English Kitchen today, a delicious Cornish Banana Cake.


  1. Thank you, Marie, for stopping by and leaving a sweet note. Your posts are always heartwarming....

    I grounded myself for a week from blogging too much, plus I needed to attend to more important responsibilities, but I'm back!!!

    It's sweet of you to notice my absence.


  2. Marie that walk sounds delightful. I rarely experience severe cold but I find exhileration in being warm and snug while the world is like that. There is also a special feeling when you come indoors and are surrounded by home.

    Take care.

  3. Sweet thoughts for the day, Marie... winter magic! I'm not naturally a winter person, so winter is huge challenge for me--especially as we are still knee-deep in snow and cold!--but I try to see the beauty. ;o) Be keeping warm... Lovely recipes today...mmm... Happy Day, dear friend--LOVE YOU HEAPS ((BIG HUGS))

  4. That delicious soup is a meal in itself for sure and just the thing to warm you up too. Our winter lanscape is developing some bumps...huge hills of snow piled up every where. It is snowing yet again this morning. Glad you got to wear those mittens...he he...I'll probably wear mine out this year.

  5. Am looking for great soups and this looks like a winner!

  6. Winter mittens and warming soups,might do the trick Marie,but still I have had enough of them.There is beauty all around us in every season,I prefer the spring beauty and hope it comes quickly he-He.Lovely post as usual.Have a great Thursday.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  7. Lovely, Marie--just lovely! What perfect musings on a winter day. Love the beautiful photos...and the soup! What a tasty pot of warmth and comfort! Yet another from you that we need to try and fall in love with! Hope you have a wonderful day today--stay warm & cozy! Lots of love sent your way today!

  8. Aahh! I want to take a winter walk! I just need to get out and do it..Margie:)

  9. It does that for me too...gets rid of the cob webs! I love walking, even in winter! Love the pretty images here too! Come say hi :D

  10. I am glad that you shared a winter view with us today. Here in California I don't get to see much of winter. However, I do when I visit my girls in Utah. I enjoy the snow and the cold when I can watch it out of windows while I am staying warm and cozy inside. I am afraid that I have lived in CA too long and have become use to the warm weather. As you found out when we were in Idaho last year I freeze in cold weather....thank goodness for hand warmers...heehee.

    That soup looks great. I wish I had some right now.
    How did your day go? I am anxous to here from you. I must hurry over to my email and check it. I send love. Lura

  11. Yummy looking soup! I love meatballs, so I'll have to give it a try! Winter isn't ready to leave us alone in Kentucky just yet either. I love to watch the snow fall, but I'm ready for warmer weather! Lovely how a good bowl of soup can really warm you up.

  12. Beautiful Marie but I confess, I am ready for winter to leave us. I'm ready for the sun to come out and stay out. There are patches of snow/ice on the ground here and we're scheduled to get a little more tonight and tomorrow. I love staying in on these cold days but I'm ready to take my plants outdoors and pot up the new seedlings! blessings, marlene


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