We spent yesterday at Basildon Park in the sunshine. It's one of those excellent places that has a great woodland walk - so you enjoy the sun but get a bit of shade at the same time. An extra attraction this year is the Great Ball Run, where kids can set tennis balls on a run and run along to catch them. My favourite was the snake made out of willow. I'm sure D ran back and forth at least fifteen times on one of them, egged on by another little girl who was taking turns with him. Lots of fun and an easy way to wear him out!
I also quite liked the offerings in the tea room there - an excellent carrot based soup with the most tasty garlic and herb scones - something to attempt in the summer I think. D and husband wolfed down a rather impressive looking homemade sausage roll. After this, D was rather keen to do some 'laxing' in the sunshine on a deckchair. Sadly, he experienced his first bee sting here. A careful watch to make sure there was no anaphalaxis and we were on to the next adventure.
We've been mulling over National trust membership for the last year or so - this might be the time we actually do it. D is so happy out and about and adventuring.
Saturday night was spent using all of the weekly points on a rather large curry - vegetable dhansak, paneer tikka and poppadoms.
Sunday was another outdoorsy day, spent mostly in the park. D has finally overcome his fear of slides and was off and away a million times or so. On the way home we bought a huge bunch of coriander - our local Indian grocery store is amazing - large handfuls of coriander for a pound. Definitely worth the trip.
Courgette, pea and spinach soup - a variation on the Covent Garden recipe
Four servings - each 2 pro points/points plus
1 finely diced banana shallot
180g potato diced
350ml vegetable stock
2 courgettes diced
40g frozen peas
The juice of half a lime
Teaspoon of chives
A decent handful of coriander
Four teaspoons of Elmlea light
Melt the butter and soften the shallot for around ten minutes. Add the potato and stock and simmer for fifteen minutes.
Add the peas and courgette and simmer for a further five minutes.
Add the chives, coriander and lime juice
Finally, swirly in the Elmlea, a teaspoon per bowl.
There have been quite a few courgette based soups recently and I for one am glad for this - courgette really speaks of spring to me. I feel that I ought to point out that we had a large barbecue today and whilst I have tasted this, I haven't managed a whole bowl yet - I'll save that for tomorrow. I might even have it cold if the weather continues to be as gorgeous as today. The coriander and lime lends the soup a bit of a Mexican kick, with the peas and courgette making it feel more homegrown.
I have a few different courgette based things going on this week, including a recipe for 'mama ghannouj'. A bit like baba ghannouj but with courgette rather than aubergine. I'm also longing for courgette polpette - a River Cottage recipe that speaks of summer and easy quick meals that don't get you too hot under the collar when you prepare. That'll appear quite soon on the meal plan.
Next week's soup is to be a red one.