My my, it has been a while. What with the revelry of Christmas and the misery of revision I’m afraid I’ve been a bit off the cooking scene recently. I’ve still been making the standard student nosh – kidney bean chilli, sausage & tomato pasta, but nothing really worth putting finger-to-key over. However I am now over halfway through my exams and I can just about see the light at the end of the tunnel! So I had some friends over and we rustled up some tummy-warming spicy soup – the perfect antidote to the snow outside. The almonds really top this soup off nicely.
Initial inspiration, as seems to be customary, from HFW and his excellent Veg Everyday book.
2 large parsnips, peeled & cut into 1-2cm cubes
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large cooking apple, chopped into 1-2cm cubes
5cm piece fresh ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
a few chillies/1 tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
handful almonds, crushed in a bag with a rolling pin
plenty of salt and pepper
1 litre veg stock
Find a big ol’ saucepan, heat some oil over a medium heat and add the onions, cook for 10 minutes. In the meantime make up the stock.
Add the ground spices, garlic and chillies and grate in the ginger. I’ve found you really need not bother peeling ginger if you grate it as you never notice the “skin” when it’s so fine. Plus it’s apparently very good for you! Cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the parsnips and apple. Stir to ensure everything is coated with spices then add the stock and simmer, lid on, for 15-20 minutes until the parsnips are really soft. Check every so often and add water if you’re finding parsnips poking out high and dry.
When the parsnips are soft, remove from the heat. Zhuzhh with a hand-blender, the longer you do this the smoother the soup will get (up to a point). Add the milk, seasons generously and put back onto a low heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile toast the broken up almond pieces in a frying pan – keep an eye on them and toss every so often as they’re liable to burn.
When ready, serve topped with the almonds and a couple of twists of black pepper, with some freshly made bread*.
*or more realistically one of those amazing bake-in-the-oven baguettes