With autumn setting in and winter (almost) on the horizon, my thoughts start to turn to soup. There’s something very soothing about a warming bowl of soupy loveliness.
It’s almost worth going for a bracing walk in autumnal woods, kicking leaves about, just to come back home for soup. Actually I don’t really need an excuse to walk in the woods; it’s one of my favourite things to do at this time of the year as the colours of the leaves start to change. One of the many benefits of living where I do is that I have this right on my doorstep. But getting back to soup…
I often work from home, so I like to make a big batch of soup that I can have for lunch during the week. It’s straightforward to make, tasty and good for you. Soup is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to get your quotient of daily vegetables.
Soup is particularly good if you have a sensitive tummy. If my stomach is feeling a bit uncomfortable or bloated, I add calming spices, like cumin, plus lots and lots of ginger.
The other thing that’s great about soup is that it’s pretty hard to go wrong if you’re making it fresh. With some stock, onions or leeks (stick with the green bits if you’re on a low FODMAP diet), a few spices and vegetables of your choice, you can create something delicious. It’s fun to experiment and see how things turn out.
Not quite sure where to start? Below is a simple soup I’ve been eating quite a lot of over the last couple of weeks. I like the creaminess and little hint of sweetness the coconut adds. However you can leave this out if you don’t have any in the cupboard and you’ll still have a very nice soup. If you like things spicy, up the ante with the chilli and add few more flakes. Soup-er duper!
Comforting Carrot Soup
Serves 2 hungry people (I normally get 3 lunches out of this if I have a little salad on the side)
300g carrots (approx. 4-5 medium carrots)
1 small to medium-sized leek
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled & chopped (be generous with the amount)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp asafoetida
A few good grinds of black pepper
600ml vegetable stock or 1 good quality vegetable stock cube dissolved in 600ml water
30ml coconut milk or 30g of creamed coconut (the block type)
1 dessert spoon natural yoghurt (I used sheep’s milk yoghurt)
Pumpkin seeds & extra yoghurt for topping, optional
1. Roughly chop the carrots (leave the skin on if you want to) and slice the leeks. Gently heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté gently for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add the ginger and sauté for another few minutes.
2. Add the cumin, chilli flakes, asafoetida and pepper. Gently fry for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots to the pan and pour over the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes until all carrots are soft. Stir through the coconut milk or creamed coconut.
3. Put the contents of the saucepan into a blender and blend until smooth. I like mine a little chunky so tend to only blend it for a minute or so. You can also use a stick blender if you prefer. Put the saucepan back over a low heat and pour the soup into it. Stir through the yoghurt and heat for a couple of minutes. If you want to make the soup vegan, leave out the yoghurt or use coconut yoghurt.
4. To serve, scoop a few ladles of soup into a nice big bowl. Add a swirl of yoghurt, a few drops of olive oil and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. Sit back and enjoy.