Lemony Fennel, Baby Pink Turnip and Watercress Soup and Watching Penny Live

Sometimes it is easy for me to get sucked into the little details of my everyday life. Getting kids ready in the morning, making sure everyone is fed… Then I start working.

It is taking much energy for me to work on this book. Believe me, it is my passion. I cannot stop thinking about it. What I will make, how I will find the freshest ingredients, what their characteristics are so I can style them organically, or how to perfect my tart crust recipe. But I feel this intense focus has also been limiting me in some ways.

“Has it been closing me to possibilities?” Forgetting about the world around you is not such a good thing when you are a stylist and a photographer, you see.

This weekend all of that took a new light.

I tuned in to Penny’s workshop streaming live from Seattle. I had been anxiously waiting all week. Although I still had kids with me and not everything could stop, I set time during the day for it, and then caught up with the rest of the recorded workshop at night.

When I hear Penny speak about making a connection or something as simple as patience, it resonates. Never underestimate the power of patience. Or the quote everyone kept tweeting: “If you are not doing what you love, why not?”.

Yes, why not?!

It was refreshing and inspiring. Taking a step back and looking at my body of work. Paying closer attention to details and observing. Patience, patience, patience.

All of this comes right before I will be speaking at BlogHer Food on a panel discussing “Finding your visual voice”. I hope I can inspire others as I was inspired this weekend.

I also want to thank all of you for your support and interest in my upcoming workshop in France. It literally sold out in the first minute after we opened registration. I was blown away with the response. If you have not made it into this first group, please be patient. There might be others in the works.

Thank you again.

Oh yes, and let’s not forget about the recipe in hand.

I cooked this lemon scented fennel, baby turnip and watercress soup as I was watching Penny’s workshop. Super simple, spring-inspired soup. I hope you like it.

Lemony Fennel, Baby Pink Turnip and Watercress Soup

Serves 3 to 4

2 Tbs olive oil
1 baby leek or 1/2 leek, white part only, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium fennel bulb, diced
3 baby pink or white turnips
1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup packed watercress leaves (tough stems removed)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp lemon zest
Grated pink turnips, garnish
Yogurt, garnish
Amaranth sprouts (or any other green), garnish
Extra virgin olive oil, garnish

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced leek, garlic, and fennel. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 3 minutes or until soft and translucent. Do not brown them.

Add the turnips, potato, and chicken stock. Bring to a light simmer, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the watercress and cook for 1 more minute.

Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon zest. Puree the soup in a blender. You can strain it if you like or leave it a bit chunky.

Garnish with grated pink turnips, yogurt, sprouts and olive oil.

you may also like…

55 Responses to “Lemony Fennel, Baby Pink Turnip and Watercress Soup and Watching Penny Live”

  1. Beautiful colors and detail in the photos! — I also had tuned in to Penny’s workshop, it made me look at food photography with more aware eyes, she was inspiring.

    Can you also stream your workshop live or do a 1 day streaming workshop on food styling ? ;-)

  2. Beautiful post! I’m honored to have you has a friend in my life, you inspire me!!!

  3. Actually, you are already inspiring us, everyday, with every new post.
    Thank you for the freshness you manage to preserve every time!

  4. Gorgeous post, as always! Penny’s workshop was one of those rare moments in time where everything just seems to fall into place. Such a gift. I agree with Skinny Jeans Food — any chance you can stream your food styling workshop? That would be amazing!

  5. Nice post,I was ready to tune in Penny’s workshop when my internet connection fail!! I am still mad about it.

  6. Praline says:

    I’m in love with the plate, theese wonderful droplets of olive, and all things here.. As usually :) I’m creatively inspired. :)

  7. I love that your posts are always packed with fresh ingredients that truly celebrate life. This soup is creative and sound delicious.

  8. Mmmhhh, that soup is so original, refined and wonderful! A delightful post.



  9. sweet road says:

    that looks like a delicious soup, not to mention the choice of garnish accentuates the soup so well. It’s very subtle, just as i imagine the combination of fennel, watercress, turnip and potato would be!

  10. Looks delicious, beautiful photography, please have a look at my blog: http://loveuktravel.blogspot.com/

  11. Your images, as well as your sentiment, are beautiful. I was lucky to be one of the students at Penny’s workshop and it was a magical weekend. I’m sure that you will be a huge inspiration to all of the people at BlogHer Food this weekend.

  12. Sue says:

    I’ll try this next weekend. Congrats, I don’t know how you do it , I’ve got two children (1 and 3) and I have time for nothing.
    Saludos desde Logroño, me encanta tu blog, las recetas y las fotos.

  13. I tuned into Pennys workshop as well and it was amazing. I loved it. I couldn’t watch all of it and I would have loved to, but really can’t afford to buy it. But I think I’ve learned quite a bit just from the little amount I did watch. Your workshop in France sounds wonderful, I think you should stream in live as well :D Beautiful soup! I can’t wait for local leeks and fennel. Yummy!

  14. Danielle says:

    I could only catch snippets through the day, but that was enough to inspire me. That’s the Penny magic eh? She’s a living example of infectious Passion and I’m pretty sure you are too – your panel is going to ROCK, I know it!

  15. Mireya says:

    ¡Qué maravilla de fotos! And that soup sounds so delicately delicious.

  16. sécia says:

    These photos are AMAZING! Love your blog.

    ♥ sécia

  17. I also got so emotional watching Penny’s workshop. She was so inspiring. Everything I thought she would be. Felt like I had met her in person. Can’t thank her enough.

    Wish you could come up north to Montreal to give a workshop, Aran. I am sure it would sell out the same day as your workshop in France did. :)

  18. Beautiful pictures and delicious looking soup!
    What pink sprouts are those?

  19. Tricia says:

    It’s no easy task balancing life with kids – no matter what you do. But, to be creative, to be demanding of a deeper part of yourself – be that in seeing the world with more attentive eyes, or formulating words into a description that reflects your most soulful sentiments – that is even more difficult.

    Creative work is deeply rewarding, deeply demanding, and almost indescribable in process – some people become physically exhausted by writing, others emotionally exhausted by photographing. To do all those things, to balance that – with life, your self, and your other relationships…that is hard work. Even harder to be patient when it feels a little like your most anticipated gift – something you’ve wanted for longer than you can remember, but that comes bundled with the expectations of all that waiting (including our expectations of ourselves!).

    At the end of the day it can be hard not to feel a little stagnant, let down or like you let others down – when you devote so much energy to creating, mothering, nurturing whatever it is that took your focus you will inevitably feel you let something or someone else down. You haven’t.

    I admire you, Aran. You are really doing this whole process of balancing, writing, and creating with grace, honesty, and openness to the way it all grows and changes. I’m sure you’ll do a wonderful job at BlogHer – I only wish I could be there to see/hear you!

    Congratulations on the workshop success!

  20. Penny- you know your friendship means the world to me! Me, all of us, cannot thank you enough for giving us the gift of your time, experience and expertise. Thank you!

    Tricia- My goodness, that is the most thoughtful and touching comment. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I have the best readers ever. Thanks guys!

  21. nell says:

    i love the colours and the freshness of the photos.. its really inspiring and motivates me to opt for fresh and homecooked meals.. (not that i eat alot)..

    do keep inspiring.. and thanks for the lovely posts..

  22. This looks absolutely delicious! So fresh and beautiful for spring. Love love love the pictures too. They are so inspiring!

  23. Oh yes and I’m sorry for not mentioning the soup much throughout the post. Was just too excited telling you about penny. Anyhow, the purple leaves are amaranth sprouts believe it or not. The first time I had seen them. Beautiful color right?

    Thanks all!

  24. Roberta says:

    Hi Aran!
    thank you for sharing your passion, your emotions, your inner thoughts with such grace and openness!

    I really admire and love your ‘visual voice’ and though I’ll not be at ‘blog her’ panel or in france next fall, I’m trying to learn how to be patient and passionate as you suggest..

    Thank you for the beautiful light that shines through your photos and words…

  25. your post has come at such a perfect time as i have been struggling with similar feelings about raising my children, focusing on my family and trying to find my creative passion…your post, your capture of beauty in your glorious photos+ esp. Tricia’s words have touched my heart to find that special time to create…thank you for inspiring greatness in all of us… jo

  26. mominrome says:

    not only the recipes are great, but the pictures are really poetic !

    Thanks for sharing!

  27. Labour of Love- yes, it definitely is a struggle to manage raising children and the constant evolution of a creative job. What I have found that works for me is that I don’t compartmentalize my life like I used to. I try to mend everything together as much as I can since they are all aspects that I love about my life. It will never be 50/50. Sometimes something will give, but I feel that when children are raised in a creative and passionate environment, that will help them to realize they can one day follow their passions as well. I think they thrive in it. Or so I hope! :)

    Thanks all.

  28. This is what I like best about spring food – the colors. So light and lovely. Makes it a pleasure to eat.

  29. antonia says:

    Hola Aran, nunca te dejo comentarios pero es que cada vez estoy más enganchada a tu blog… de verdad, sí que fue una pena lo del workshop… pero estoy en lista de espera y si no, pues seguro que habrá otra ocasión!

  30. Yo. says:

    So pretty and so yummy. What are those pink leaves? I’m so disapointed I missed the workshop registration : (

  31. Yo- yes, I forgot to mention them in the post. They are amaranth sprouts. Beautiful color right?


  32. very inspiring Aran. All of it. If you are not doing something you love, why not? very very good.

  33. TJG says:

    No that’s interesting! I bet the lemon cuts the richness of that creamy soup… Sounds like a nice concept, plenty of inspiration there! Thanks!

  34. Corinne says:

    Sorry, this isn’t related to this post but I just had to say: I’ve just tried the roasted potatoes and beetroot with salmon poached in olive oil from this post. I left out the pesto and had a selection of lettuce instead of the peppergrass but even so, wow!! The taste was mouthwatering and it got a resounding thumbs up from my finace! Thank you for the great recipe, and it was nice and simple to make too. Just the thing for after work. Definitely looking forward to the cookery book.

  35. Deb- thanks lovey! i miss you!!

    Corine- that is also one of my favorite salads. glad you enjoyed it! thanks!

  36. ♡Wuao!!!
    kisses from your follower♡
    With love Little Sable

  37. Your blog is a joy to look at and read. The style of writing is inviting and as fresh as the beautiful colours in your photo’s. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  38. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, Aran. You really shed some thoughtful insights on how to blend together family living + a creative life. I agree with you that a creative environment will definitely help our children strive to reach their passionate potential. That is what I’m hoping to accomplish with my lil’ arrows + also with myself…it’s so nice to see how creative moms (people, like you), become so successful with their passions… It’s truly special hearts like you that make the world go around…;) jo

  39. a. maren says:

    o what a beautiful spring soup! thanks for the recipe, and your lovely, inspiring blog!

  40. Eva says:

    So glad you had such a good time. I am sure you will be a great speaker, you are so experienced with what you do that the words should just come naturally when you’re up there explaining how to find a visual voice. If the crowd makes you nervous, just focus on how much you enjoy what you’re doing, and the fact that they really enjoy what you’re doing, too. Beautiful salad also :)

  41. I am so grateful to you for telling us about Penny’s workshop! You told us with enough time that I was also able to sign up to watch Zack Arias’s class as well (though I missed his Friday class, as I was taking care of my children and family needs).

    Somehow, everyone let me watch most all of Penny’s classes! My 6-year-old son even caught something that I didn’t, since I was making lunch for everyone–he caught where Penny said that she never zooms. I was able to watch with headphones on for most of the rest of the time, and it was fantastic.

    It was so nice to be able to take some classes for free, and still be home, feeding and taking care of my family. As someone who writes about food while she can’t afford to buy any (it’s a strange position to be in, but we have a pantry and a garden that keep us going), my chances to learn photography are certainly limited.

    And yet, we had a party today, using lots and lots of edible flowers from our garden. I shot the table differently, thanks to Penny’s examples.

    Thanks for telling us about this chance to learn, and thank you for always being such an inspiration to me. I read a lot online, and your blog is my absolute favorite.

  42. Brandi- that is wonderful! So glad you tuned in and that it made a difference already. And I lo e that your kids were interested as well!

  43. stepho says:

    Aran, thank you for your lovely post. I was so disappointed to have missed the workshop by minutes and am grateful for your reminder to be patient — in this and all things. I will keep my fingers crossed that you might offer another workshop in the future, I cannot tell you how honored I would be to apply again. Thank you also for telling us about Penny De Los Santos’ workshop! I was not familiar with her work and have been absolutely blown away and inspired catching up on all of the videos I missed. I should probably be working on other things but I can’t stop watching…

    Thank you.

    - Stephanie

  44. Yasemin says:

    It looks really good. Nice photos.

  45. Ilke says:

    You did an outstanding job at the BlogHer panel! I enjoyed every minute of it and learned a lot! One thing that made me feel better was all the panelists sharing their “first” pictures and how “you guys have been there” where some of us are right now! Thanks for being real!

  46. marla says:

    Aran, you were a great inspiration in your panel. Wonderful to meet you and catch up with you this weekend. Your workshop in France sounds awesome, something I would love to partake in…..

  47. Aran,

    Esto resulto espectacular! Lo disfrutamos ayer, en la primera tarde verdadera de verano en esta tierra gelida. Mi familia y yo qeudamos deleitados!

    Muchas gracias!

  48. Soup is one of those overlooked arts of cooking. It takes such finesse and I think people don’t realize how hard it is to create a recipe that is well-balanced.

    But this… this is love, heart, soul in a bowl. Brilliant and beautiful.

  49. Inspiring photography as always, thanks so much for a fantastic blog, keep up the good work!

  50. Coco says:

    oh I so wish I could attend your workshop in France! I hope everything went well at BlogHer last weekend, I heard wonderful things :)

  51. Eka says:

    I love your blog, your photos, your work and your recipes.. I’m simply crazy about them!! if you want you can visit my foodblog too (http://tanadelconiglio.blogspot.com/). Have a nice day ;) Erika from Italy

  52. Beth says:

    What beautiful photos! I love that quote too. Thanks for sharing it with your readers.

  53. […] you still want to make this soup I think you could happily use parsnips instead. Or maybe just try this, or even […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.