Every once in a while, everybody has a weekend that should just go back where it came from, and take its crappy Monday friend with it. This last weekend was like that for Sam. For some reason, the last 48 hours have just picked her up in its nasty teeth, and shook her like she’s a plaything of the universe. Sam wasn’t feeling well last week. She thought she had a sinus infection, but those are mostly viral and don’t need antibiotics, so she just rested up, and waited to feel better. By Saturday she didn’t feel better. Sam actually felt a lot worse, and she missed Joe’s birthday party, and felt terrible about it. When Joe and I got home that night, she looked and felt like one of the horsemen of the apocalypse, and we took one look at her and realized that this wasn’t a sinus infection, or at least, not any more, or at least not only a sinus infection. I don’t want to go into the details, because mouth stuff is gross, but on Sunday morning our amazing family dentist was meeting us for an emergency appointment, and Sam’s now on antibiotics, and Tylenol 3 for the pain, and a more pitiful creature you’ve never seen. She’s truly sick, the poor little poppet, and on soft foods and just feeling so terrible.
This is where she was at last night, already a rather sorry figure, when she called down to me from upstairs, almost hysterical. Marty, the little hedghog she loves, was dead in his cage.
He’d been totally fine all day (I remember, because I was annoyed by him running on his wheel at noon) and Sam had noticed him eating and playing just an hour before, and in fact, she’d just opened the cage to give him a little snuggle and adventure time, and there he was. He was an older hedgie, but healthy and active, and had all the love and care in the world. There was no warning at all. It was like a hedgehog heart attack, or stroke or something like that, like he just fell over while jogging. Poor Sam’s just gutted.
There was nothing to do at that point, with a sick kid, a dead hedgehog and a few other things, except to slow down and try to make things nicer. A big pot of soup went on the stove this morning, and I put down Fox Paws. Right now things should be soft, and gentle and easy, and the family should be quiet, and kind and careful, and that really means that the mum in this family shouldn’t be sitting there muttering filthy expletives if anyone dares to speak to her other than at the ends of rows.
I fetched a treat from the stash room. I’ve been wanting to make a sweater out of Greenwood Hill Farm Merino for years. I see their booth every year at Rhinebeck every year, and almost buy it – and finally this trip I (mostly) blew my budget at their booth. This yarn is cushy, bouncy, soft and so warm, and it’s what’s on my needles now.
Together with that and a bowl of warm soup, we’ll make things cozy here. Since I’ve only got one row of knitting, can I interest you in a soup recipe? I like fast, easy, cheap soups, and although Sam isn’t a fan of soup in general, if she must eat it (and she must, her poor mouth) this is the sort she likes. This soup takes a while to cook, but I still think it’s fast because it only needs me for a few minutes here and there, and then I can knit (and discuss “arrangements” for Marty the Hedgehog with the bereaved.)
Roasted Carrot Soup
Peel, slice and cut into chunks, four carrots (I had two freakishly large ones) two potatoes, one sweet potato and one red onion. Toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and add sage. I had fresh sage, so five big leaves went in, but I’ve used a decent sprinkle of dried stuff in a pinch.) All that goes in your roasting pan and into a hot oven. (200C, 400F, Gas Mark 7.)
Leave everything in there for a while – maybe about 20 minutes? Then add at least five cloves of garlic. (Trust me. Roasted garlic is sweet and mild.) Toss and roast again until everything is gorgeously roasted, and tender.
Take the pan from the oven and add a little white wine or water to deglaze the pan. Stir to pick up all the good brown tasty stuff from the bottom of the roaster. Now dump all that into a pot, and add about 2 litres of stock (about 8 cups) and some parsley, if you have it. and bring it all up to a simmer.
Go knit for at least 20 minutes, and then come back and somehow (I have an immersion blender, but there are other ways) puree your soup. The whole thing.
Serve hot in bowls, with a little cream if you like it. (Sam does. I don’t.)
If that won’t make you cozy, I don’t know what will. We’re settling in here, to have a simple day, with lots of rest, a farewell to Marty, and a hope that tomorrow will be better. It usually is.