Girraween, Place of Flowers and a Zucchini Soup

In the soft blue light of a half moon night, disturbing her as little as possible, I run my hands over Bhumi’s soft round cheeks and forehead, cursing the calluses on my palms and fingers that seem to catch on her skin, almost as if they would  on a piece of fine silk. Sleeping, as beautiful as an angel, she doesn’t stir. In the recent weeks since she’s stopped breast-feeding herself to sleep it has become something to mark the end of each day. It only takes a moment, but it means a million different things to me and can tell me a million messages. From the palms of my hands I can feel if she is running a temperature, if she’s too hot, or cold, if she’s clammy or comfortable. I can feel if she is sleeping soundly or is restless. Sometimes I can almost feel her dreams. In that moment of touch I apologise to her for all my misgivings of the day. For my intolerances and impatience, and I pray that tomorrow I might be able to be a better mother, and a better person, than I was today.

Tonight she is sleeping soundly, her skin is cool as a cucumber. So with all my worries tucked into bed, I know that now I too can go to sleep.

But I can’t.

Im restless.

“I feel like going somewhere”. I said to Stefan, while snuggling in between the sheets trying to find a comfortable spot to rest my head between his chest and shoulder.

“Where?” He said. I could tell by his tonation that it was a statement he had heard from me a few times too many.

“I dont know…Bethlehem? Turkey? Bhutan? Costa Rica…?”

“Why don’t we go camping for a few days in a National Park?”. He said.

My beautiful boy. So wonderfully simple. If he could have his way he would never leave our land. With each and every fruit tree he plants he sends his root system deeper and deeper into our shaley clay soil. One day I’ll never be able to uproot him. But despite my own restlessness I know thats a good thing.

“There’s one we’ve never seen just a few hours west from here. And it’s late spring…all the native flowers will be in bloom”. Said Stefan.

“Ok. Let’s go”. I said.

So pushing thoughts of far away deserts and desserts, camel rides, exotic fruits and fabrics, monkey’s and marketplaces I settled myself with dreams of Australian wildflowers (cause it really was a great idea after all).

Two days later we set off for fours days in Girraween National Park or ‘Place of Flowers’. It was pure magic. 

Girraween was a place so entirely soft and welcoming. I felt as though mother earth had opened her arms to me and taken me to her breast. Never before had I seen so many varieties of native plants and flowers. So many of the Kangaroo’s were either pregnant, or carrying young babies, as were the possums. Colourful birds like Rosella’s and Gallah’s darted through the trees and we chanced upon the blue-decorated nest of a satin bower bird. The marble stones flowed like the waves of the ocean across the earth and were warm and soft beneath our bare feet. The waters that sprang from the rock were so soft our dreadlocks literally began to unravel and our skin started to glow.

But my favourite of all…the rock formations. No words can describe.

We ran and swam and climbed and walked and had nothing to do other than be together, and be in nature. We ate only vegetables and fruits in the four days we were there (and maybe one block of organic chocolate) and I practiced gentle yoga and walked a mountain of marble each day with my Japa beads in hand. After only a day or two my restlessness eased into a quiet thankfulness.

When we arrived home we were amazed at how things can grow in only a few days. Stefan’s new vegetable garden that he planted behind a strenuously hand-built rock wall had completely flourished with leafy basil and firm but juicy zucchini’s.

A new ingredient that I have very much enjoyed using is the garlic flower. Its flavour is a little like garlic but much sweeter and milder. Its delightful as a garnish on salads, sandwiches, soups or just about anything. The whole flower and stem can also be chopped and used as a more refreshing substitute for the garlic clove. I have added silken tofu to the recipe for added creaminess and protien, but its completely optional. Perhaps you could use a drizzle of fresh cream instead if you prefer.

Zucchini Soup

Ingredients:

  • Oil or ghee for frying
  • One large white onion, chopped
  • Two large garlic flowers and/or one large clove of garlic
  • Four medium zucchini’s, roughly chopped
  • Two or three medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • Vegetable stock (enough to cover the vegetables) or two vegetable stock cubes with enough water to cover
  • One block of silken tofu
  • A big handful of fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and lightly fry the garlic and onions. Add the zucchini’s and potatoes and sauté with the onions and garlic. Add the stock (or water and stock cubes) and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cover, cooking until the vegetables are soft and squishy. Remove from the heat and add the silken tofu (or fresh cream), basil, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil leaves, fresh garlic flowers, salt and pepper.
This soup was light, refreshing and wholesome…the perfect way to bring us back to our four walls and regular routine.

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