It’s the most beautiful late summer evening here. That soft light that sort of bathes everything in gentle yellow, and warm too. Everything seems to sigh with a soft summer contentment. It’s been the sort of day where you don’t really know whether it’s still summer or whether the slow descent into chill autumn has begun: I left the house in drizzle, clutching a coat and I returned to bask by the river in the warm evening sunshine having lugged the coat around with me all day.

Anyway, much to report.

Today I went to my first trade fair. A trade fair is where designers/makers/ people who have the product exhibit their goods for buyers from the trade who might stock or otherwise sell their product. It was a recce to investigate how I should go about selling/marketing my own greetings cards. And rather shamefully, it involved pretending to be a buyer from a shop.

The fair in question was Top Drawer at Kensington Olympia and I am here to tell you that there are some seriously talented people out there. The stuff on show was lovely. It made me wonder why on earth any shops stock horrible stuff. From stall to stall, like kids in a sweet shop, we wandered, exclaiming over the softness of a lambswool blanket, the glitter of a string of leaf shaped fairy lights, the sheer innovation of product after product.

I have returned full of ideas and information from the laying out of the stall to the design of a catalogue and how to price my cards for trade buyers. All very exciting.

Anyway, after trawling the show and schlepping back on the train, despite the warmth of the evening and the imminent arrival of gin-and-tonic-o-clock, something warming and restorative was needed pronto upon our return. Really, at times like this, an apple just doesn’t suffice, does it?

Instead my Very Quick and Easy Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup was a creamy, lemony treat. All silken and peppery on the tongue and warm in the stomach. And the prettiest, softest green.

It’s a cinch to make and was ingredients-laid-out-on-counter to tummy in around 20 minutes.

 Very Quick and Easy Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 hungry people.

  •  1 medium broccoli head
  • 1 fat onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 pint of veg stock
  • Good squeeze of lemon (1/8 of a lemon?)
  • 50g of blue cheese (I used an ancient piece of Gorgonzola that I found at the back of the fridge, but any would do and you can alter the quantity to taste)
  • Lots of salt and pepper

 Chop the onion roughly and fry until soft and browning slightly at the edges.

Chop the broccoli and add to the pan along with the finely sliced garlic clove. Add a good pinch of salt and a good grinding of black pepper.

Fry for a minute or two, just to ensure that the garlic isn’t raw.

Pour the stock over and boil until the broccoli is soft (about 5 mins?).

Put the whole lot in the blender with the cheese (broken into little pieces), blend until really smooth.

Add a squeeze of lemon and another grind of pepper and blend again. You can adjust the pepper, salt and lemon to your own taste.

Serve.

Right.

Here we are then.

Nice to meet you.

I suppose I should offer you a drink or something. Would you like sit down?

I should confess straight away that this feels terribly self-indulgent.

Well, I’ll start off with an introductory mission statement, so we all know where we stand:

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this year, what with the crumbling of my four year marriage and the subsequent resignation from my newly promoted job and the removal of myself and all my belongings from the city where I’ve been living for the past six years. This sort of upheaval does rather provoke a lot of thinking.

So far, the thinking has lead me to move into my mother’s idyllic riverside cottage, largely on the premise that I need some time and space to do some more thinking. Or, at least, some thinking without the distraction of work.

‘Time to heal’, as one of my ex-colleagues put it.

Time to write and paint and read and run and generally get a grip on life. To wrest control of my existence.

Anyway. The plan:

1. Launch assault on greetings card industry with my Little People cards (pictures to follow when I’ve deciphered that section of the WordPress website).

2. Finish writing ludicrously ambitious TV script that I am currently churning out. (And stop day dreaming about BAFTA wins, for this, surely, will curse any prospect of success..)

3. Find Proper Job with Good Income until said greetings cards and TV scripts come to fruitition.

4. Bake my way through the coming months and report on the delicious discoveries I make along the way (the sticky orange and almond honey cake I invented on Friday night should be mentioned here). For what is life without cake?

If you would care to join me on this voyage of recovery and creative, culinary experimentation, step this way….

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