Wednesday 10 February 2010

No botox for vegetables

I've actually still got a lovely blue pumpkin left over from Halloween. I couldn't resist the colour when I saw it on the pumpkin stand at Peachcroft Farm in October. 

I still had to buy an orange one too, Halloween just wouldn't be Halloween without an orange pumpkin. In fact it wouldn't be Halloween without candles, orange serviettes. Orange is the colour of Halloween. The orange pumpkin is long gone and I've kept meaning to do something with the blue one but it just seemed to be too pretty to use.

I was determined that today was going to be the day to make blue pumpkin soup. That sounds like something out of Bridgette Jones Diary doesn't it?

But as I reached for it in the vegetable basket this morning I noticed that the parsnips I bought on Saturday were all shriveled and wrinkly. No botox for vegetables. So the pumpkin has survived for another day...

Thus I made up this lovely spicy creamy parsnip, carrot and coriander soup recipe...that doesn't have a hint of cream in it.


  • Half a leek, shredded.
  • A couple of sticks of celery, sliced quite thinly.
  • A couple of dark cabbage leaves, with the thick stem cut out, cut into small strips. I find kitchen scissors really useful for this.
  • Two sun dried tomatoes, snipped up with scissors.
  • These four ingredients are just to add a nice deep base flavour and avoid the use of a stock cube, but you could use one instead.
  • Four parsnips, peeled and cubed.
  • Four carrots, peeled and cubed ( I used the grated pulp from this mornings carrot juice.)
That's the main body of the soup.

Now to add the spices:

  • One birds eye chilly. I like soup hot so I added the whole one with seeds. You could use a little chilly flakes or powder if you like or leave it out altogeter. I think that a little grated fresh ginger would work really well too, but not garlic.
  • A little turmeric which apparently is an anti-inflammatory and amazingly good for you. It adds a beautiful yellow colour and deep earthy flavour to your cooking.
  • Ground coriander another lovely deep earthy spice.

The herbs:
  • I used rosemary, thyme and a couple of bay leaves.
  • Not forgetting sea salt and ground black pepper and olive oil.

  1. Put some olive oil in a heavy based pan and add the celery, leeks and cabbage. cook for five or ten minutes until they are softened.
  2.  Then add the root vegetables and the spices and give them a good stir and then cook them out for a couple of minutes so that the ground spices don't taste all powdery and raw.
  3. Put in all the other ingredients and give a another good old stir round and then pour boiling water over everything. Don't forget to season.
  4. Cook till the root vegetables are very soft.
  5. Remove bay leaves and any stalks from the other herbs and then liquidize. Or you could use a hand held blender or if you haven't got one a potato masher to make the soup nice and creamy. Add more hot water if necessary to get the right consistency. You could serve it with a swirl of yoghurt or cream if you like, but I don't think it needs it.

This is a really comforting, warming winter soup, it's yummy with the homemade malted walnut bread that 'A' baked on Sunday...mmmm...

I don't usually describe any food that doesn't have chocolate in it as orgasmic, but in this case I'm prepared to make an exception. Especially when it's served up in my Berber bowl that we brought back from a holiday in Turkey. Even more so as it was the only one that survived the journey and every time I eat from it, it conjures up memories of walking ancient paths to historical ruins, blurred by rippled mirage heat and wondering who had walked before us and what tales they could tell...

That was good's just begun to snow again....

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