I just walked up the big hill to get some fresh fruit and vegetables. It is COLD OUTSIDE. A t-shirt, a hoody, a pair of gloves, and a scarf, kind of cold! I took this photo in Hawaii last November...and I am soooo ready for 'fruity drink' season to hit the West Coast of Canada! I have been reading Nigel Slater's ' The Kitchen Diaries '. It is a day by day, month by month account of the food he ate, and the meals he made in a single year. I am finished the first three chapters, January,February, and March. He lives in the UK so the weather is similar to ours. What I find surprising, is the accounts he has of dashing off to the local shop ( Brits seem to speak like that!) to get some fruit and veg, and how he seems to come home with all this lovely fresh produce. He has also been mentioning , how he is going to the local farmers market on the weekend! Now THAT is a big difference from here. Our local farmers market doesn't even start until the end of May, and usually, the selection is pitiful! It is really almost like a craft fair until the middle of June, when the local berries start to appear. I purchased my little bag of fruit and veg from The White Rock Bread Box. It is my produce place of choice. The owner, Mary, is a tad quirky...and today, she was playing a CHER DVD to entertain her customers. There is usually a HUGE lineup, so I like to go on a day when I have time to stand in line. I got a couple of green bananas, a couple of Spartan apples from the Okanagan, a bunch of asparagus, and some flat leaf parsley from Mexico, some green beans from who knows where, and a BC Hothouse tomato that looked good...but probably tastes like sawdust. Maybe there is better selection in Vancouver? I decide to make a pot of soup to warm myself up.
Cathy's Ham and Barley Soup
Boil a ham hock, not smoked, for approx 1 hour. When the meat is falling off the bone, remove from the liquid and throw in some vegetables, chopped as you like. I used carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. I then added about a half cup of pearl barley, some salt, pepper, dried oregano and thyme, and 2 bay leaves. I boiled everything until the barley was tender, and added a cup of frozen green peas, some chopped flat leaf parsley, and the chopped ham that I removed from the boiled bone I turned off the heat, and checked for seasoning. It tastes really good. Nice and brothy,and hammy, and the vegetables are a welcome hint of spring things to come.