It’s going to be a one way ticket this time. While we’ve flown that direction several times and I’ve even spent my childhood there, this time it’s different. Life plays funny games, takes you up and down paths that are different and exciting. It’s been almost 16 years – 16 grand years here in Germany and now the time has come to say goodbye – for a while at least.
When I left Doha, Qatar almost 16 years ago, never did I think I would return again. My parents moved to Dubai shortly after I came here and although I visited Dubai after that very often, never did I have the opportunity to return to Doha. This time I have a one way ticket – Weimar to Doha and accompanying me is my family.
The region is a buzz and in Tom’s field there is a lot happening. Once in a life time projects and exciting research, so the offer Tom got was quite irresistible and we decided we had to rock with it. Tom leaves in June and Soeren and I will follow end of July.
Till then we have a lot to do – you can imagine – but because a big move like this is not enough of excitement, hectic and emotional, Tom and I decided to take it up a notch and renew our vows! More about that in another post.
I have been going through a funny roller coaster ride of emotions, giddy highs and miserable lows. There are days when I can hardly wait to get out of bed to tackle the next chore on my list. Then there are days when I just want to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed all day – anything but not have the thought of leaving.
There’s no turning back though – Soeren has been accepted to his new school in Doha, we’ve made lists of everything we want to sell. Several of the things have been sold and as each piece leaves the house it leaves not only a visual gap behind. The cleft in my heart grows too. At the same time though my pulse races with excitement at the new venture.
I’ll be leaving behind cherished memories and some of the most fantastic friends. I hate that! Why can’t I take my friends with me? Soeren too, will leave behind so much. He loves his school and is one of the most popular kids at the school. His buddies actually came to me in tears the day Soeren told them. So, the question has been asked – why? Why take a flourishing plant, rip it out and plant it in another place without knowing if it will flourish as well there?
As a family unit this move is a big step forward. For Tom it means working on a challenging and exciting project, for Soeren it means having the opportunity to go to one of the best schools and gather the same experience I did, getting to know different cultures and meeting people from all over the world. For me it means having the opportunity to be closer to my parents again and gathering more international work experience. Not to mention we will be living by the ocean and a step closer to my fantasy world!
In terms of food, Qatar will be quite exciting. Although, there are certain issues that do not fit in my bigger picture, for example organic products are not readily available, almost everything is flown in from everywhere in the world and regionally grown/produced products are minimal, I am still looking forward to things like the plethora of fresh fish and seafood, Alfonso mangoes and the Indian/Arabic cuisine to name just a few. What I am really looking forward to are the colorful and wonderful spice, vegetable and meat markets - I can't wait to share my adventures with you.
This little blog space has become my island, where I can come and be creative and share my thoughts regardless of where I am in the world. For this I am happy because I can take you where ever I go! As the weeks go by I might not be able to come around here as often as I would like to and I might not be able to visit you to leave comments and share my enthusiasm on your creations. Whenever I can steal some time I will be back to update you on the latest.
The recipe today is a gorgeous, hearty Tuscan soup known as Pappa al pomodoro. A mix of deliciously roasted cherry tomatoes and canned Roma tomatoes with a good helping of olive oil and fresh basil give the soup its fresh flavor. It fits in perfectly with the current weather - somewhere between Winter and Spring. I have used organic wholegrain spelt bread in the soup, the spelt grains adding a great bite to it. Traditionally however it is made with stale peasant bread. You can try this with any bread you like just stay away from factory produced white bread. This is a recipe where the quality of products play a large role so try and get your hands on the juiciest tomatoes, best olive oil and the heartiest bread you can find. You won't be sorry.
Pappa Al Pomodoro – Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup
Printable version of recipe here.
500g juicy, ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
800g good quality canned Roma tomatoes
500g good quality wholegrain bread, a day old and cut into small cubes
3-4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 bunch of basil, finely chopped
Lots of extra virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel
Black peppercorns, ground
- Pre-heat the oven to approx. 175-180 degrees C.
- In a large bowl add the cherry tomato halves, 1 sliced garlic clove, a drizzle of the olive oil, a pinch of Fleur de sel and pepper and a quarter of the basil. Toss well then spread out evenly on a baking tray. Gently roast the tomatoes for 20- 25 minutes to bring out the intense flavor of the tomatoes.
- In a large pot, heat up some olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, then pour in the canned Roma tomatoes complete with the juices. Coarsely mash the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Add approx. 350-400 ml of water and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Throw in the bread cubes and the basil leaves, setting some for decoration aside. Season the soup to taste, giving the whole thing a good stir.
- Once the cherry tomatoes are nicely roasted and caramelized add them, along with the roasted garlic and oil, to the soup. Make sure you scrape off all the bits stuck to the tray and add them to the soup too.
- Stir the soup well. The consistency of this soup should be thick with almost a creamy texture. If your bread had bits of grains or seeds in it you should have a more porridge kind of texture. You can adjust the consistency to your liking by adding more water, should you find it too thick.
- Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkling of chopped basil leaves.
Sauté some sliced garlic and chopped chili in olive oil until fragrant. Spoon the perfumed oil over the warm soup and enjoy.
Pappa al pomodore loosely translated means mushy tomato soup .This thick stew-like soup is a staple in the Tuscan region, where the typical Italian housewife usually threw the soup together to use up any leftover bread - it was not something that was served to guests. Nowadays it is very much en vogue and can be found on restaurant menus all over the world. I love the simplicity of this dish and if I do not have any stale bread around and get a craving for the soup I will buy a fresh loaf and allow it to sit for a day - just for the soup. Both Tom and Soeren love the lovely freshness and rich tomato flavor of the soup. It’s just right for a quick dinner and even better with lots of friends and bottles of Chianti!
You might like these soups from WFLH:
|Ginger Carrot Soup with lemon Cream||Spicy Roasted Tomatoes and Red Bell Pepper Soup||Red Bell Pepper Soup|
From around the blogs:
- Spiced parsnip and Tomato Soup – Real Epicurean
- Sweet Potato-Leek Soup – Cupcake Muffin
- Creamy Leek Soup with Baby Spinach and Shrimps – Lucullian Delights
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2009 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First