Monday, 7 July 2014

Zoo, soup and grilled cheese sandwich Sunday

You may wonder how we can bear going to the zoo so often. To be honest, if you had told me eight years ago that I would be going to the zoo on a weekly basis, I would have thought you were as nutty as a fruit cake. But just yesterday we realised how important our weekly visit to the zoo is for the children. On our way over there we were caught in an incredible downpour which brought on tears of disappointment on the back seat. In the past the rain would have made us change route and drive back home, but these days we tend to take things as they come and believe we'll enjoy ourselves come rain or shine. And lo and behold: by the time we reached the zoo the downpour was over as if it had never happened.

Yesterday M and I also found ourselves surprised at how much we enjoy this outing virtually every Sunday. How it has become an anchor in the week, a bit like going to church. Now before you think I'm being irreverent, let me tell you this: I cannot imagine anyone coming nose to trunk with an elephant and not being awestruck by the beauty of creation. Yesterday we saw a wallaby (not a kangaroo, people) with a tiny baby in its pouch - that experience alone was worth the visit. It quietened the mind, stirred up that fuzzy warm feeling inside and got us commenting on the wonders of nature.

And there are always new adventures and experiences to be had. During our visit yesterday N slipped and fell waist deep into one of the ponds.  It was quite a shock to all of us - that is to say except M, who always remains somewhat stoical in the face of an emergency. After we had fished her out of the water and listened to her shout "You should have looked after me better", there was the issue of dry clothing. Of course we didn't have any. Or, actually, we did. Creative thinking is often at its best in emergency situations; necessity it the mother of invention after all. Thankfully I had taken along a cardigan for both S and N (M thought it was ridiculous considering the temperatures, but hey, mother knows best) and hence I put together an outfit in no time.

N modelling lovely pink top and sarong-like skirt - unwittingly she may be setting a trend

N loved her new look, almost refusing to take it off when we got home

Clothes hanging out to dry whilst we enjoyed a cuppa

That evening we celebrated our new sandwich grill by eating grilled cheese & tomato sandwiches along with a delicious and very healthy broccoli soup. To my delight, the kids loved both - especially the soup would you believe.  This incredibly easy recipe is adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow's It's All Good (I really am a fan of her recipes!) and the funny thing is that this soup is creamy without having to add any cream. It's a very versatile recipe, so you could use any kind of vegetable you like. Here it is:

Broccoli Soup
adapted from It's All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow

2 heads of broccoli
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 litre vegetable stock
olive oil
(sea) salt
yields 4-6 bowls, depending on portion size

  • cut the heads of broccoli into small florets
  • in a heavy-base pan, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil
  • add broccoli - stir for a minute or two, until the broccoli is bright green
  • add the vegetable stock
  • add salt and a few good twists of black pepper
  • boil for 8-10 minutes, until the broccoli is tender
  • turn off the heat and using a hand blender or food processor, puree the mixture (careful, it's hot!)
  • add bit more salt and pepper if desired
  • serve with some toast and garlic butter or, as we did, with some grilled cheese sandwiches 
Please, sir, can we have some more...?


  1. I love your bright green kitchen walls! Your little girl is just so funny: "you should have looked after me better", this had me in stitches! I love going to a nice zoo. My favourites are the smaller creatures, bird, fish, amphibians, and I particularly adore small monkeys. I would happily visit regularly and envy you for this lovely Sunday routine. x

    1. You should see my bright yellow living room walls (in a post coming soon). Yes, my daughter is quite a character - she will tell you if she thinks your parenting skills are falling short! Glad to hear from another zoo lover!

  2. Poor thing falling in. She's so cute and clearly very funny and a very good sport. :) The soup sounds delicious, thank you for sharing the recipe.

    1. Yes, thankfully she has a great sense of humour!

  3. We live close to Chester zoo and went all the time when my daughter was small. I have a lovely memory of a frosty midweek morning before she started school when it was just us and the animals. The giraffes are my favourite. Don't go so much now she's older and it's now so expensive.

    1. The giraffes are my favourite too! I even mentioned it in a post:


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