Big fanfare: this is the first recipe I've posted on the blog. Despite sounding a bit mundane, it ticks so many boxes. This is seasonal, warming, healthy, inexpensive and utterly delicious (that's why it's here!). If you read my recent review of Texture, you'll have seen what's possible with dull, worthy sounding winter vegetables. Here we have the humble carrot – read on to see what you can conjure up quickly and easily for a tasty lunch. You could even serve it as a starter for a dinner party as it looks so enticing with its deeply autumnal, yellow/orange colour which is complimented by the nuts (ideally with a glass of aged amontillado sherry). It freezes well, too – I pour a ladle or two into freezer bags for individual servings. I've cooked versions of this for many years, but this recipe is based on one I recently found in Sainsbury's Magazine, but I'm afraid I can't recall the author as the name doesn't appear on my torn-out page. The fresh ginger and lime provide a tangy, aromatic lift to the already complex flavours.
oil for frying
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp peeled and grated ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1kg carrots, sliced (you can leave the skin on if you like, but make sure they've been washed and scrubbed)
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp brown sugar
juice of 1 lime
sea salt to taste
Peel and roughly chop the onions and add to a large pan of warmed vegetable or olive oil (sometimes I'll use chicken or duck fat if I have some handy in the fridge). While they are cooking, add the garlic and, once the onions are translucent, add the spices. Continue cooking, stirring, for a couple of minutes, then add the carrots and stock. Allow to come to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and gently simmer until the carrots are tender (over a low heat you could leave it for 30 minutes to an hour).
Using a hand blender liquidise the soup until smooth. Stir in the sugar, lime juice and season with the sea salt. The soup is now ready to serve or can be allowed to cool and be frozen.
I like serving the soup with a spoon of yoghurt (or crème fraîche) stirred through and sprinkled with toasted cashews or pinenuts. The original recipe suggests seasoning with some of the Moroccan spice, sumac, just before serving which adds even more fragrant tanginess. Gorgeous.