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This is the heart of the long Canadian winter. Everything is frozen.

There are days when the wind howls outside like a crazy beast and blows the snow around in a tantrum. The world gets shrouded in an almost opaque, white curtain and everything’s a blur. It is difficult to see beyond a few feet and it is a comfort to be indoors with the fury of the season only visible through a window.

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There are days when it feels as if the fattest, fluffiest feather pillow you can imagine, the most gigantic one possible, tore open in the sky above. There’s not a breath of wind and fat, perfectly formed snow-flakes gently drift to the ground. They cover every surface with a pristine shawl and the world is in a hush. Sounds from a near-by road, which seem immediate on clear days, are far-away and muffled. Most of the world seems to pause to take in the peace and the rest the world tip-toes about, as if to keep the serenity intact.

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Then there are days that are over-cast and dreary. Everything is a washed-out, dull grey. Everyone looks tired and worn-out. People walk quickly, huddled in their heavy coats. They look weary as if a weight sits on their chests. Sometimes a wind tugs at their scarves and hats, and they walk faster, heads bowed, resolutely holding on to their hats. The sun doesn’t show up for days and all the heart desires is a bit of sunshine.

Icicles

And then on some days, the sun does show up, bright and clear. Some of the snow begins to melt and drip down, only to freeze again almost immediately into icicles. The world sparkles and glints as the sun rays bounce off the snow and ice to blind you. The sun seems glorious, and you want to bask in its warmth. But the light is deceptive – the clearest days are the coldest and the chill cuts through your clothes and goes to your very bones. I still like these days, because the cold and the light make me feel so awake and alive.

Peas & Coriander Soup

Winter has many faces in Canada. Every day brings something different. Only, my nose and my toes are always frozen. And I am always looking for ways to thaw them, because I do like to know I’m still possession of both, my nose and my toes. For the warmth to stay, it is important that it come from within and this simple, quickly thrown together soup does the trick perfectly. It doesn’t need anything special, almost all ingredients are pantry staples. My mom gave me this recipe and though she insists on using freshly shelled peas, I’ve always made this with frozen peas and I like it just fine. I have no doubt that it will be even better with fresh peas, but right now, speed is the need of the day. Just make sure to use fresh coriander.

Prep time: 30 mins
Serves: 4

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 large Onion, chopped
1 cup Green Peas
1 cup Coriander, chopped
1 tbsp Butter
1/2 tsp Ginger paste
1/2 tsp Garlic paste
3 cups Water
Salt and Pepper to taste

WHAT YOU DO:
  1. Heat butter in a deep saucepan. Saute the chopped onion until translucent. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and mix.
  2. Add the peas, stir and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the coriander and water. Season with salt and pepper, stir, and bring the soup to a rolling boil. Lower the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes, turn off the heat and let cool.
  4. Using a blender, puree the soup, in batches if necessary.
  5. Return the soup to the pan and simmer on medium heat for 7-8 minutes until hot.
  6. Serve hot garnished with a swirl of cream.

MY NOTES:

I skipped the cream even for garnishing, but a quarter cup of cream or milk can be added to the soup when it is returned to the pan after blending for added creaminess.

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