The days are starting to get a little shorter, the mornings a little cooler and daylight-saving is this weekend, a sign if ever there was one that Summer is officially over. Though March has proved to be a little bit of an Indian Summer, glorious sunshiny days and I think when we get them at this time of year we appreciate them so much more than at the high of Summer when our expectations are so much higher. Each sunny day now is a bonus to be savoured before Autumn and Winter set in.
One thing about the cooler climes is soup. I am a fan of soup, all sorts of soup. One of life's simple pleasures and so simple to throw together. Vegetables, water and just a little seasoning can be transformed in to a bowl of nourishing comfort that can satisfy, rejuvenate, hearten and even fight off colds and flu.
Mum always has a freezer full of all sorts of soup; lentil, broth,celery (seriously good), broccoli perhaps spiked with a little cheese. My favourite remains her lentil soup which no matter how hard I try I just can't quite replicate. A good, even great, lentil soup I can make but is just not quite the same. So every time Mum visits form the mother country top of the list of to do is to fill my freezer with a batch of her lentil soup to tide me over until her next visit.
My Gran would also always have a batch of soup on the stove and her piece de resistance was her potato soup. On visits home there would always be a bowl of potato soup. Sadly we have no recipe but Mum has been faithfully trying to replicate it and we now have a recipe cobbled together so watch this space as it will most definitely feature this Winter. The key ingredient for Gran's potato soup....good lamb stock and by that I mean lamb stock made with leg of lamb!!! I kid you not, it is not surprising that it tasted so wonderful.
The first soup of the season came about due to a few parsnips loitering in the fridge and I recalled an old Delia Smith recipe; curried parsnip soup. Bright and fragrant it is warm and satisfying.
Curried Parsnip Soup, inspired by a recipe from Delia Smith
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
8 cardamom pods, seeds only
3 tbsp olive oil
2 small or 1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 large parsnips, approx 500g, roughly chopped
1 Lt / 4 cups chicken stock
1 apple, peeled and cored
Salt and pepper
Sour cream and chaat masala
For the parsnip crisps
1/2 parsnip finely sliced
Heat a small skillet over a a medium heat and add the coriander, cumin and cardamom seeds. Toast them gently for a moment or 2 until they release their aromas. Keep a close eye on then as you don't want them to catch and burn. Once toasted grind them in a pestle and mortar and set aside.
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the onion. Season with a pinch of salt and saute for a few minutes until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add the ground spices, turmeric and Dijon and give it all a good stir. Cook gently for a couple more minutes and then add the parsnips and stir again. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on the lowest possible heat for 1 hour uncovered.
After an hour liquidise the soup in a blender or with a stick mixer. Taste and adjust seasoning if need be. Just before serving heat up the soup and then grate in the apple and let it simmer just for a moment or 2. Ladle the soup in to bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream, a few parsnip crisp and a sprinkle of chaat masala*.
*Chaat masala, a totally addictive Indian spice mix that can be sprinkled over just about anything. It is usually a mixture of dried mango powder, cumin, black salt, coriander, ginger, salt, black pepper and chilli powder. It is sweet and sour and delicious.
The turmeric gives the soup a wonderful vibrant yellow hue and the apple adds just the right amount of sweetness to complement the sweetness of the parsnips. All the spices add a depth and warmth that make this soup so comforting, topped with a little sour cream, crunchy parsnip chips and a dusting of chaat masala make it a whole meal in a bowl.
If you like this might like this Spiced Roast Carrot and Lentil Soup with Toasted Dukkah Flat Breads
One year ago Lemon Lime Meringue Pie