Courgette and Garlic Soup + Cheese Biscuits

Courgette and Garlic SoupGrowing up in Maine, I was very familiar with the knowing smiles that accompany zucchini season. The story in my memory goes like this:

Every year, zucchinis start arriving from the garden in July, and the counter tops begin filling up. There is a wonderful month in which zucchini either plays the star role – in savory fritters, frittatas, summer pasta dishes – gets sliced, diced or grated into pickles, relishes or chutneys for later months, or is tucked into less obvious dishes – pancakes, chocolate cake, breads, you name it (oddly, for a child who disliked vegetables so much, I loved baked goods that included sizable amounts of the green stuff. Parents of fussy eaters take note, great recipes don’t stick around for generations for no reason.).

Around mid-August, the story goes, grocery bags of zucchini start showing up on porches. Maybe your neighbor came over with genuine intentions of catching up, or maybe she made an excuse to come by and happened to be carrying with her a large bag of zucchini (it’s plausible – you’ve seen the counter tops). With a smile, you kindly refuse, saying you’ve also been lucky with your harvest this year, but thank you very much. She smiles as well, nodding knowingly, but the bag remains on your porch. It’s the same every year. Continue reading “Courgette and Garlic Soup + Cheese Biscuits”

Elderflower cordial

flowersWe caught what seems to be the tail end of elderflower season in Edinburgh this weekend. I have been looking out at the tree in our shared back garden for the past few weeks, scheming how to get the flower heads that remained at on the top branches. When we came upon a tree nearly full with remaining elderflowers on a walk in the Pentlands, I knew it might be our last chance this season.

Every year since I learned about elderflower cordial, I have been trying to make a good batch. Spring and early summer on these islands are almost defined by the site of elderflowers cloaking the trees and the sweetness that hovers in the air along every path. Continue reading “Elderflower cordial”

Saffron Yellow Pepper Soup

Saffron yellow (and red) pepper soupWe’re off and running here with Friday night meals, and our first week featured Heidi Swanson‘s Saffron and Yellow Pepper Soup. We were looking for something simple but worthy of a first Friday night meal, and this was it.

Among the many things there are to love about Heidi’s recipes is that she always challenges me to consider what a large effect small additions can make. I tend to prefer meals that can be brought together quickly, and I don’t tend to give myself the time to pull the recipe forward with additional flourishes at the end. Heidi’s recipes work so closely with each flavor, however, that the inclusion of a crumble of cheese or handful of nuts or sprinkling of fresh herbs bring an ordinary dish into a memorable one. What drew me to this soup was that the recipe itself was so simple that there was plenty of time to gather together and prep the toppings, and I knew it would be worth the effort. Continue reading “Saffron Yellow Pepper Soup”