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.

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