'Tis the season to be jolly, but I’m sad to report that it has been far from it in our family household. With December being a fine combination of illness, injury, damaged cars and various other misdemeanours, I could be forgiven for being the ultimate Scrooge coming into the week before Christmas.
Thankfully we are all bringing ourselves around. My daughter, the cause of the various ills due to her new favourite pastime since starting nursery, Pass the Germ Parcel, appears to have the cheeky glint back in her eye and the bounce back in her step. My wife ploughs on into the storm with the strength that the female of the species only possess. And I still moan on a daily basis, but I can see the Christmas light at the end of the December tunnel. Man flu - need I say more?
Soups play a big part of any revival in our kitchen, and with cheap roots everywhere at this time of the year it is amazing what kind of super soups you can achieve with a bit of experimentation. Some old carrots, half a squash, a parsnip and a potato were the main ingredients for this winter warmer.
Blended with warming chilli and ginger and flecked with coriander, it makes for a nice alternative to the popular carrot and coriander. A squeeze of lime and a swirl of yoghurt adds sharpness to the heat and completes an otherwise impressive but simple soup, one that just about bent the corners of my mouth into some form of smile. Here's to the build up to Christmas, I can’t wait.
Warming 3 Root and Coriander Soup
1 onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1 fresh of dried chilli, chopped or crumbled
1 thumb size of ginger, peeled and sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced
Half a large or 1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and sliced
1 large potato, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 litre hot vegetable stock
1 large handful of fresh coriander, roots and leaves
100ml natural yoghurt
Juice of 1 lime (optional)
Dried chilli for garnish
1 - Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the vegetables including the chilli, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes until they start to soften.
2 - Pour in the hot stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
3 - Pour into a blender and blend until smooth. Put in the fresh coriander and yoghurt and blend until the coriander has broken up into small pieces rather than completely broken up.
4 - Taste for seasoning then stir in the lime juice. Pour into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of dried chilli and a spoonful of yoghurt.