Winter is back.
Apparently, only for a moment and will not be staying longer, but she came back like a bad queen of the too well known fairy tale. With a shouting storms, with blinding blizzards, in the howling wind concealing her sinister laugh.
And the next day Evil Queen turns into a Good Princess and the sun floods world with light, and the snow sparkles and shines.
I dress in successive layers. Jacket, sweater, sweatshirt, warm socks and underpants, charmingly known today as leggings. Nobody wears underpants now… „Nobody wears gloves on a string”, I think with a slight sigh, embarrassed when remembering the colorful knitted gloves, which, with persistence worthy of a better cause, I always tried to lose.
I roll over the park, because I don’t want to waste dressing effort for a quick trip to the store. I roll over the empty lanes, with delight counting sparrows, larch cones, footprints in the snow. Inez Herbiness told us to look at the pine trees. So I am looking for cones.
And or the snow is blinding me or winter life deceive my eyes. Because all I can see is oak instead of pine. Larch. Beech. Chestnuts and rowan. Hawthorn. „More than 160 species of trees and shrubs in my park, and I know how to name a few”, I think with the embarrassment.
I reach for the camera to capture winter picture: orange-red belly bullfinch against a blue sky. However, before I take off the gloves, before I un-entangle myself from pockets and straps, bullfinch departs frightened by dog barking. Or by my clumsiness?
With corner of my eye I see the movement and turn around just in time to see the winter reddish tail disappearing among the branches. Spoiled with human kindness squirrels check if a man, lost in the park, brings gifts. I have nothing, so offended gingers refuse to pose for pictures.
Ducks on the river. Gulls on the river. Gulls in the Zaglebie… So much life in an empty park.
On a century-old willow lands green woodpecker. Green and yellow feathers contrasts dramatically with gray-brown bark of the sleeping tree. White snow dazzles and delights. Blackbird buries himself in his own feathers to protect against frost. Only its red beak uncovers its identity.
Numbed fingers remind me that I still hold the camera. I pack it in the bag and going in the direction of the store. For too long I wandered. Cold feet, frozen hands, I feel that even my lungs fill with ice.
Quick shopping and go home.
I heat up soup and take chickpeas out of the fridge. Cold… In a flash of genius, I warm up the splash of garlic oil in a frying pan, throw chickpeas in and moment later I got a delicious croutons. And the hot, spicy soup.
I embrace tenderly warm cup, warming my fingers and soul. Outside the window frost flirtatiously winks at me.
Winter is back.
4 medium carrots
1 sweet potato
750 ml vegetable stock
1 can chickpeas (if using dry, soak them the day before and cook the next day)
1 teaspoon garlic oil
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1.5 tsp turmeric
1.5 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp dried peel of a lemon or lime
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp grounded nutmeg
0.5 tsp dried mint
0.5 tsp saffron
- Ingredients of baharat grind.
- Peel the carrots and sweet potato, cut into smaller pieces. Translate into a pot with broth and cook approx. 15 – 20 minutes.
- When the vegetables are soft – mix it in a blender.
- Season with 0.5 – 1 teaspoon of baharat and leave the soup for approx. 1 hour. Do not boil again.
- Warm up the garlic oil in a frying pan.
- Roast chickpeas for a few minutes.
Baharat (بهارات) is a blend of spices, popular in the Middle East. Present in Turkish, Kurdish and Iranian cuisine. Its name is the plural word „bahar”, which means “spice”.
Used primarily for meat dishes, but also for soups.
This spice is so popular that it went through several variations. Tunisian version add the dried rosebuds and cinnamon, Gulf version add Loomia (dried limes) and saffron.