… in 15 easy steps.
1. Wake up in your perfect Laura Ingalls Wilder attic-nook and immediately dart over to the window. With your hand upon the rocking chair, take a deep breath as you look out over the cascading greengreen mountains.
2. Plunge headlong down the Vertical Staircase of Terror, calling out good morning to all and sundry before making a beeline for the coffeepot.
3. Hug Jeniqua because she is marvellous, then follow her out into the kitchen garden that she’s been carefully creating and tending over recent months.
4. In the borrowed hat that makes you feel like Linnea in Monet’s Garden (do you remember that you even had the doll, oh so many years ago?), pick so much beetroot that your arms can barely hold the weight of the full basket.
5. In the kitchen with Jeniqua, discard the stems, peel, and then roughly chop the beetroot (even the teeny tiny-ones no bigger than your thumbnail), setting aside the leaves for Jeniqua’s ducklings. Think about the zucchini flowers you saw in the garden, but decide to leave those for another day.
6. Throw a great many ingredients into the soup-pot and set it to simmering, agreeing that the soup will henceforth be known as “borscht” purely because beetroot (or beets, if you’re American) is its star.
7. Acquiesce to the spontaneous decision that everyone at Lloyd’s farm should walk up the mountain to watch the sunset.
9. Think about how gorgeous the sunset is.
10. Think about how the sunset reminds you of the final pages of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (the book, clearly, not the movie).
11. Think about how you are actually quite incredibly hungry.
12. Start to feel antsy. Hear that the rest of the group wants to keep walking up the mountain. Look longingly down the sloping road to where the borscht is waiting.
15. Further up the mountain, toast the sunset with Jeniqua, Steve, Anna, and your drink of choice before skipping back down home again to finally, finally serve up magenta bowls of glorious perfect sunset borscht. You’ll find that it’s more delicious than you could ever have imagined.
The Perfect Sunset Borscht
Approximate recipe, to serve an approximate amount of people. Don’t you love it when I’m helpful?
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- olive oil
- a mountain of beets, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2-3 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small apple from the orchard, just because you saw it on the counter, peeled and roughly chopped
- garam masala
- fresh thyme and lemon, to serve
- In a large heavy-based pot, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until softened.
- Throw in the basketful of beets as well as your sweet potato, potato, and the apple. Cover with water, and then stir in cumin and garam masala to taste (you can use any spice that sets your heart on fire, such as fennel, caraway, sprinkles…). Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to the boil then simmer, partly covered, until all the veggies are cooked. Season again to taste, and then puree. (Recipe can be made up to this point and then stored until serving. Tastes even more miraculous the next day.)
- To serve, stir the pureed borscht over medium heat until warmed through. Serve garnished with thyme and wedges of lemon, to taste.
- Perfect, perfect sunset soup.