Watercress Potage Meditation

I catch myself silently moving through the many rooms, brushing my sleeve against odd pieces of furniture, carefully stepping over the many boxes containing memories of other people’s lives. Ghostlike. Then I try and tidy up a little, finding treasures and chests without keys and very peculiar things too, getting lost between the pages of a random book someone left open on a side table. Ghostlike, and with not a grain of efficiency. Sieving and sifting. What to keep and what not to keep. Taking in the architecture. The faded colours, anticipating what will stay aged and worn and what shall be rejuvenated. Impatient for the smell of beeswax polish to replace the odour of abandonment. But it takes time, I know, the way I do things it will take a lot of time because over the course of the years, restoring and decorating old buildings, I have learnt to fully trust my gut feeling, to even wait for the gut feeling to agree. If something doesn’t feel right I just don’t do it and wait for another, better solution to pop up because it really will, eventually. This doesn’t mean that decisions mustn’t be made rationally at all, it rather means that decisions must not only make sense logically, but also emotionally. Or so. This is rather difficult to explain.

Cooking is a wonderful method to let thoughts wander with ones heart, I think, especially cooking soup or marmalade are so good for ruminating and pondering because I guess it’s a little like meditating, when one’s attention is with the pot and spoon in the first instance and only cursory with what is on one’s mind, so it’s easier for heart to go with the thoughts and coax them into a direction that not only sounds reasonable, but also feels right.

So here’s one of my favourite soup recipes, a watercress potage, it’s really so simple and doesn’t even take a lot of time to cook, but sure works wonders on bringing mind and heart together.

What you’ll need

  • A bunch of fresh watercress, well rinsed and chopped
  • Sunflower seed oil
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • A teaspoon of flour
  • 1dl of vin jaune
  • 7dl water
  • Sea salt
  • 3dl fresh cream cold from the fridge

How you cook it

Glaze the onion in a drizzle of sunflower seed oil in a pan large enough to hold the potage, medium temperature only for the onion should get translucent, not brown. Sprinkle with the flour and cook for another minute, deglaze with the vin jaune. Add the water and bring to cook, let simmer for perhaps half an hour, let it bubble freely and don’t cover with a lid. Take off the heat but keep in a warm spot. It’s easiest to proceed with a hand blender, if you don’t have one, make sure to really chop the watercress into tiny minuscule bits. Otherwise just add to the soup and blend for a couple of seconds, then, while continuing blending, add the fresh cream, so the potage gets its nice and creamy texture. Season with sea salt and serve.

How to eat it

Watercress potage is a typical winter dish, and I’m sure has many beneficial qualities. Foreboding spring, it’s very nice to decorate it with edible flowers. Crunchy bread and butter along, or a slice of “Flammküche” is an absolute must. Enjoy!

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