Week two of our holiday has just passed, and we're now at the halfway mark. How is it that your first week away always goes so slowly, then the rest of the time you're trying not to count down the days before you have to head home!
After an action packed eight days in St Petersburg, we've now just finished up six nights in Helsinki, at a much more relaxed pace. I'm not sure if it's me getting older or us having a baby in tow now, but I find myself less drawn by the touristy sites and more to the individual experiences. A delicious meal at a gorgeous little restaurant that only the locals seem to know about, a helpful tip from a walking tour guide on where the best hidden spots are to eat out, a glimpse back in time listening to someone's recollection of the Soviet communist past, or simply a beautiful blue sky with the sun's rays reflecting on the multi-coloured pastel facades of a town square. Not things I can truly capture on camera in all their amazingness, and so as a result (or perhaps because we think Mila's so cute), I'm finding almost all our photos are of her! (exhibit A below).
The way we're travelling now seems to have changed too. We used to spend only one or two nights in each town, hit the sites, Lonely Planet permanently glued in front of us as I read descriptions and we stumbled through cobbled back alley streets. Back then, a four day stay was reserved only for big cities (Budapest, Paris, Rome). Now on this trip, our shortest stay has been five nights, and even that now seems rushed! Perhaps that's just me slowing down, experiencing more of the small moments in between. I hope so.
So while we're basking here in the lovely temperate Baltic summer (highs in the low 20's, or ~70°F), I know many of you are still mid-winter, doing your best to keep rugged up and warm. So here's one of my all time favourite winter cosies - this 4C Soup. If you haven't yet tried this recipe, please put it on your make list. I promise, you never will have tasted plain old carrots turned into something this lip-smackingly good!
The C's stand for carrot, coriander, coconut and cashew, and it was inspired by a salad I had years ago at a vegetarian cafe called Revive back in NZ. I made it again at a retreat cooking workshop I ran recently, and by all accounts everyone absolutely loved it. As well as being absolutely delicious, it's also super healthy, easily made in that 30-minute-pre-dinner window you've got, and the ingredients are all really affordable (carrots! onions!).
The whole recipe make a generous batch, and only uses a mere half cup of cashews to make the whole pot deliciously creamy - the rest of the natural silkiness and sweetness comes from the slow cooked carrots and onions. I highly recommend opting for a double batch, and saving some up for lunches or freezing for the coming weeks' evening meals. This is one of the recipes I batched up just before we had Mila, and needless to say it kept our bellies full and bodies nourished in those first few weeks when you don't quite know what to do with yourself! I still love batch cooking now, so that come mid-week when you arrive home starving and could virtually devour the couch, there's a healthy ready-made meal sitting conveniently in your fridge or freezer.
By the way - thanks to everyone who's sent me snaps or tagged me on Instagram in your remakes of my Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars - they've all been amazing! It's always so nice to create something that so many of you decide to make in your own home, and that end up becoming a favourite for you too. I hope this 4C Soup will end up the same - and it's light enough that you'll definitely have room for one of those delicious bars for dessert! As always, if you try it out, share your creation with me on Insta with the tags @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics, or post your pics on my Facebook page.
That's it from me, we're off to explore the gorgeous medieval town of Tallinn in Estonia. Til next week, stay happy and well.
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Always use certified organic ingredients where possible
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp coconut oil
6 large carrots
4 tbsp desiccated coconut
4 c water
3 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp coconut nectar/agave syrup/
1/2 c raw cashews (soaked and rinsed) + 1/2c water
Saute chopped garlic, onion and coconut oil for 2 mins. Add chopped carrots (don't peel if they're organic, just wash), water, coconut, and all spices and flavourings except the salt. Pop the lid on and bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 mins until the carrots are soft.
Leave the mixture to cool slightly (for safety reasons), then transfer to a blender and blend until super smooth, and return to pan. Blend cashews and water in the same blender until they form a smooth cream, then add to the pan as well. Add salt to taste, reheat slightly, then serve drizzled with a drizzle of my Creamy Cashew Aioli or olive oil and some cracked black pepper.
Photos by Bronwyn Kan