Cherry soup with ginger, lime and vanillaUn…deux…trois…Whenever I start eating cherries, I cannot stop.
I am really fond of the fruit.
I love to keep a few cherry pits in my mouth while I go on with my daily activities, and I even forget about them until I decide I need to eat or drink more.
For my entire French family, cherries are really special too.
My grandparents and parents have always owned cherry trees at the back of their houses. Each spring, we enjoyed conversations to guess how good the season would turn, awaiting when the fruit would become ripe.
“Ton père est dans l’arbre entrain de cueillir des cerises,” (Your father is picking cherries in the tree) my mum said a few days ago when I called to ask how they were.
“Je ne sais plus quoi en faire tellement il y en a cette année,” (There are so many this year that I don’t know what to do with them anymore) my father later added.
This year, everyone back home says it happened very early.
With us, cherries would go in jams and tarts; clafoutis and cakes; ice creams and preserves.
My grandmother always liked to poach cherries in syrup. She’d add the fruit to tall glass containers that she’d sterilize attentively. They were what she’d decide to take out of the pantry and serve for dessert with crème fouettée (whipped cream), should unexpected guests stay for dinner. Then, she always gave my mother a few of the preserved fruit, and I remember that we loved to have them when cherry season was over. When we were lucky, they’d last until the next season started.
Even if to me, the best way to enjoy cherries is to gulp them down one after the other while continuing with my day, I also enjoy to use them in sweet or savory dishes.
Do you remember? In the past years, I’ve used them in clafoutis, with or without chocolate; in amandines and crumbles; salads with shaved fennel and radish; and summery soups.
This recipe is another summery soup, refreshing and light, that highlights the beauty of the fruit.
With accents of vanilla, ginger and lime, I know it’s certainly not the kind my grand-mother would have made since ginger would have been a foreign ingredient to her.
I kept thinking about how recipes evolve. With time, and generations.
I keep thinking how special it is to initiate Lulu to the taste of the soup (there’s some work ahead…) And about how much I wished I could have prepared it for my grandmother if she were still alive.
Maybe she would have liked the taste of Rainier cherries too.
Les radis multicoloresWhen we woke up early on Friday with Lulu cuddled between us, the sun was already filtering through the bedroom blinds. A few robins were chirruping in the trees near our window and instantly, we knew that the day would be gorgeous. P. had the day off so we decided to go to the beach. And have a picnic.
Since our plan was rather spontaneous, I was thankful for my visit to the first farmer’s market the afternoon before.
I had come home with pretty colorful radishes, strawberries, purple spring onions and beautiful mesclun salad in my market basket. Enough to imagine a radish salad that would accompany a dish of warm black quinoa with asparagus sauce that takes only minutes to prepare.
“On va à la plage,” we told Lulu while we were having a plate of vanilla-flavored millet waffles at the breakfast table. Her face immediately lit with a large smile.
“Vacances !” she shouted out loud.
We laughed. Of course. Our small excursion sounded like a vacation indeed.
And so with the help from my Lulu, I prepared our picnic lunch.
It was a beautiful and easy day.
The bushes lining the sand dunes displayed pretty flowers that looked like colorful pieces of candy. I could smell the vibes of summer without the crowds and the August heat.
As expected, Lulu had a lot of fun. Seeing her run and skip on the beach, laughing heartily, was the best gift we could have hoped for that day.
“Tu as faim ?” (Are you hungry?) I asked her shortly after her first dip in the water.
“Oui,” she replied instantly.
The three of us sat on the edge of the blanket with our feet dug into the sand. And we started to eat. Quietly. Undisturbed by the seagulls curious about our food.
The way Lulu was letting me feed her quinoa showed that indeed, she must have been hungry.
P. and I enjoyed the balance of texture and spicy taste the radish salad brought to our meal. I had also packed a strawberry salad and apricots, and was glad to find rhubarb muffins in the freezer that I wrapped and tossed in our picnic bag too.
By three o’clock, we decided to leave because, on the way back, we wanted to make a stop at a farm nearby to pick strawberries.
“We start tomorrow,” the tall solidly-built young girl standing at the cashier said when I asked her whether we could pick the fruit.
“But you can buy strawberries we’ve already picked, if you want. And you can go and see the animals at the back of the farm.”
So I bought two large containers of strawberries. One for us to enjoy. The other to go inside a dessert I was planning to make and bring to a friends’ garden party the next day.
Les fraises de la fermeAnd then we walked outside to see chicken and geese; ducks and goats; sheep and ponys.
“On reviendra la semaine prochaine,” (We will come back next week) I told Lulu as we were walking back to the car. She was holding her papa by one hand, with a warm doughnut I bought for her at the farm stand in the other.
“These are good!” P. exclaimed after biting into one too. “So nice that I think I want a second one!”
I looked at them and smiled. Munching each on a doughnut, they really made a happy-looking pair.
“I am sure she is going to sleep in the car after all of this, ” I laughed.
It didn’t fail. Back inside the car, within minutes on the road, Lulu was fast asleep, assuring us that she liked the beach, when we asked her if she had had fun.