I am leaving for Oslo, Norway tomorrow. I decided to put up an old post before I leave which I had on Africantapestry two years ago. A little story. A sketch.

To accompany the  ongoing saga of the soon-in-bloom-tulip,  as well as the gardening folie that has me firmly in its hystyerical grip, I made a strawberry soup with the very first strawberries of the season. Not yet tasting of summer and sun though…! But who cares…! Using them in a summer/spring soup with added balsamic vinegar and handsfull of mint and pepper and rose water, is a great way to satisfy that ferocious desire for summer fruits.

Flinging soil and seedlings around in the garden (here  in the northern hemisphere!) and serving early strawberries on our plates and sometimes even catching a warm glimpse of the sun…what more can we wish for?


  • Add red berries like raspberries, blackberries,  blueberries…
  • Serve with a sprinkling of freshly milled black pepper.
  • Use a handmixer instead of fork to break up the strawberries.
  • Use Maroccan mint if you can find, which have a stronger flavour than ordinary garden mint.
  • Or use some lemon verbena instead in high summer.
  • Serve chilled on hot summer days, but at room temperature early in the season.
  • Serve along with a slice of lemon poppyseed cake as accompaniment, or a herbed shortbread.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a lot of mint!
  • Use stevia, which is a herb sweetener, instead of sugar or honey.

…the red tulip…

“Like last year, this single red tulip once again made its appearance in my all white and blue  garden. And like last year, I accept it and welcome it. It has become quite a game and I’m amused by the tulip’s proudness and dedication to defeat me. It reminds me of a guy I once knew at university who wouldn’t give up either.

He was madly in love with me, completely, head over heels..and yes, he was sort of cute too, I thought at that stage. I was staying in a hostel for girls on campus, fourth floor out of six, overlooking beautifully tended campus gardens. And he was staying in a hostel for boys, way off, on the other side of the campus. That’s how it was those days. No men allowed in the girls’ hostels and vice versa, which made for very exciting experiences! Except of course, for visiting hours in the lounge downstairs.

Very regularly, he would show up at my hostel, long after visiting hours, on nights when the moon was showing off in the sky and the stars were sparkling impatiently with anticipation. With his guitar and a red rose and his best friend, I would be charmed with unashamedly beautiful love songs from the garden under my window. Their strong, deep melodious voices, trained from years of singing, had every girl hanging out their windows along with me, losing ourselves in the charm and romance of “old world courting” from down below.  Beautiful beautiful brown eyes, would always be on the list of songs and their voices would fade away in the distance with Goodnight ladies. My red rose, always stolen from an overflowing garden somewhere, would be left on the windowsill downstairs at the front door, for the hostel had already firmly been locked up for the night.

And so it happened that he got caught one night while stealing my red rose. He unfortunately chose the garden of the Professor of engineering, with whom he was very well acquainted…! He was allowed the rose, but had to work the Professor’s compost heap for two weekends. For a while, it was slow on the rose-serenading-scene and we all missed it..all the ladies, that is. Then one night there he was again, with a stolen red rose and guitar and his best friend. The cute guy I once knew. And who I still know. He is my husband.


25 thoughts on “Strawberry soup with balsamic and the red tulip.

  1. Your soup looks bright and lovely! I’m starting to get my spring garden in order but probably should have started sooner. I’m definitely ready for warm weather!


  2. Your soup is so pretty! Give me spring fever. 🙂

    I remember reading your tulip story on AfricanTapestry. Thanks for reposting it as I loved reading it again.

    Have a great trip!

    xo ~ Dana


  3. Ronell…the strawberry soup looks delicious! I love your photogrpahs..! Oh,…..and did I enjoy your story about the ‘”red tulip”……on this Monday morning…thanks for sharing! I am now ready for this new week! Enjoy Oslo!


  4. I thought it was about you and Monsieur H~ Then as I reda I thought surely a Fairy tale?

    No ..c’est ton mari!♥
    That is quite a story~ I love the aquarelle you did of the stubborn yet happily accepted red rose.
    Have a great trip and thanks for the Stevia tip..I never think of it..
    I do love balsamic w/ my strawberries..


  5. Strawberries with Balsamic go so well togeher! I know!

    A tasty & luscious soup!!

    Have a safe trip !!! Have fun too!


  6. What an absolutely beautiful story, Ronelle! I missed it the first time around as I had not yet discovered you. Thanks for re-posting it. You made my day!

    Oh, and the soup looks beautiful as well…;-)


  7. What a lovely story…and I just love strawberries. My last name is fraser and the coat of arms has strawberries on it…so it’s in the family……….keep enjoying your travels


  8. I am especially loving all of your posts since the new year began…good food, wonderful stories, beautiful images. Bright little jewels. You seem to be at the top of your game, dear Ronell, and you inspire me. I particularly loved your posts about mothers and daughters. I have only one, and we are simpatico but also likely to clash, as all mothers and daughters do. Thank you for all that you bring us.


  9. What a lovely story ! I like red roses too … but my favourite flowers are tulips … Your glasses of strawberry soup look like gorgeous deep red tulips and I love them !
    Have a nice trip in Oslo !


  10. Beautiful soup and enjoy your trip; my aunt who lives in Denmark told me yesterday she would much rather live in Norway; she says it is stunning.


  11. I lost myself in this story. It was wonderful. Are you back from Oslo??? Miss you.

    All joys,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island


  12. What a wonderful story! Most of the guys that would not give up on me at university were guys I was actively trying to run away from (although I do recall well the total segregation of the sexes on campus!!). Gorgeous story – and a wonderful, vibrant recipe!


  13. Oh wow I’ve never heard of a strawberry soup! I’m going to have to try it out sometime, it looks very interesting. Thanks for posting the recipe!


  14. So it’s a cold sweet dessert type soup? it sounds interesting i just might have to try it this summer 🙂


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