It’s Sunday, which means it’s time for another Weekly Blog Episode. I hope you enjoyed last week’s Q&A; I’ll do another one sometime soon, but for today it’s back to normal service, that is, looking at yet another week in lockdown and wondering what you may find interesting to read about!
In this episode of my weekly blog I want to share two hugs with you (well it is Valentine’s Day, after all). One of those hugs comes in a box, and the other comes in a bowl. That’s right – let’s talk about the sewing kit I received in my Buddy Box gift, and that mushroom soup recipe I keep mentioning on here.
Blurt Foundation Buddy Box
Towards the end of this week I had a surprise delivery in the form of a Blurt Foundation Buddy Box. A gift from my good friend Sarah, who thought I could do with the hug in a box, it contained tea bags, a shampoo bar, a little craft kit, and a couple of other things to make me smile.
The Blurt Foundation aims to increase awareness and understanding of depression, and provide a space in which those who need it somewhere to talk openly about depression.
The gift boxes are designed to nourish, inspire and encourage self-care. Each one contains five “thoughtful, self-helpful and self-caring, mood-lifting treats” in order to give you “a warm ‘I’ve been cared for’ feeling inside”. You can subscribe to receive a box each month, or send a one-off box as a gift to a friend, which is exactly what Sarah did. And it worked. Thanks Sarah.
I spent Saturday afternoon sat in my Poang chair by the patio doors with my feet up, making this rather cute rainbow felt keyring using The Make Arcade kit included in my Buddy Box. Yes that’s right, me and my wonky eye (which you can read about in Weekly Blog Episode 31) spent the afternoon sewing. I even threaded the needle myself.
It was honestly such a relaxing and wholesome way to spent the afternoon. The kit came complete with the different coloured felts, ribbon, needle and thread, stuffing, and of course the all-important instructions and pattern to help you get a finished product that looks as it is supposed to. With some sharp scissors and a few pins from my rarely-used sewing box, I had everything I need.
This was not a complicated craft project; some cutting, a basic running stitch, and a few knots was all that was required. I liked the simplicity, it meant I had a wonderfully relaxing afternoon, creating my felt rainbow in a little over two hours. I don’t think I’ve sat that still for that length of time in weeks… not since I made my willow basket (read Weekly Blog Episode 52).
I had a browse of The Make Arcade website and there are other similar kits which would provide equally lovely Saturday afternoon crafting opportunities. Maybe I’ll treat myself to one of the mini embroidery kits (stitch by numbers) for a future rainy day.
I’ve avoided the temptation of signing up to any kind of subscription box so far, I’ve always imagined they are a bit wasteful in some ways, including you things you don’t really need (and didn’t really ask for). But this surprise delivery was such a happy surprise, and I will use everything inside it, so maybe they’re not so bad if you find the right one.
My Mushroom Soup Recipe
I’m not often asked for my recipes. I might talk about food an awful lot on here, but I’m no food blogger, and certainly no chef. I have dabbled… I’ve shared a few of my favourite recipes here on Splodz Blogz (try my fish pie recipe, this slow cooker chilli, and this no-churn lemon meringue ice cream is really rather good).
And recently, a few of you (a grand total of three – that’s “a few”, right?!) asked me to share the mushroom soup recipe that I’ve mentioned on occasion, and I thought my weekly blog would be a good place to do that.
The thing I love most about this very simple soup is how creamy it is without adding any actual cream or potato. I tried a few recipes, all including cream, but in all honesty, other than adding decadence, I just don’t think a mushroom soup needs it.
This is a simple, nutritious, comforting soup, ideal for warming the insides after a day outdoors, or for when the rain lashes down outside.
I do start the base with butter, but the mushrooms themselves provide all the comfort here. In short, it’s mushrooms, onion and stock. This is therefore also low calorie; around 100 calories a portion, if you look at that kind of thing.
The soup takes me around 30 minutes to make including all the prep, and can then be stored in the fridge or freezer depending on when you actually want to eat it. The recipe I use makes four decent sized bowls of soup.
- A large knob of butter, about 50-60 grams, don’t be stingy.
- A couple of medium-ish onions, chopped.
- An overfull teaspoon of minced/easy garlic.
- A couple of punnets (around 500g) of your favourite mushrooms, sliced. I normally use chestnut mushrooms as they give a deep earthy mushroom flavour.
- A couple of tablespoons of plain flour.
- One litre chicken stock (I make mine using the Kallo cubes).
- A couple of bay leaves.
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the chopped onions with garlic for about 10 minutes, until soft (but not browned).
Add the cleaned and sliced mushrooms, turn the heat up to high, and cook for 3-4 minutes to get them hot and soft…
Sprinkle over the flour and stir to coat the veggies – this will thicken your soup as there is no potato.
Gently pour in the chicken stock, stirring as you go. Bring it all to a boil, add the bay leaf, and simmer on a low heat (without a lid on) for 10 mins.
Allow the soup to cool before removing bay leaf and blending the soup until smooth. I use a jug blender (hence the cooling period…), but a hand blender will also do the job.
When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently on the hob or in the microwave, and add a bit of chopped fresh parsley if you have it to hand to add some freshness.
I will normally serve my mushroom soup with warm garlic bread or a red onion focaccia (from the supermarket…), because every soup deserves good dipping bread. Honestly, that is it. This really is a super simple, very basic recipe that works every time. It’s one of our current favourites at home, always going down a treat.
I’d love to add some more soup recipes to my repertoire. I’ve got a great carrot one I really should make soon, and a lovely one for pea soup, but that’s about it. What are your favourites? Drop me your recipes in the comments below.
Buy Me a Cuppa?
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If you enjoyed reading this blog, if you think my weekly blog series is a good idea, and especially if you got to the end of this episode, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. And I mustn’t forget the vloggers’ catchphrase – please like and subscribe for more posts like this in the future! Come on by next Sunday evening for the next in the series.