Honey-roasted parsnips with red onion, panch phoron, chilli, garlic and parsley

Hot, sweet, garlicky and bright with parsley and lemon – the good old parsnip is far more interesting in this company. A real revelation, in fact. The whole winter I’ve been roasting it with honey, red onions and panch phoron. I add the chillies and garlic when the parsnips and onions are nearly done (so that they don’t burn). Sometimes I roast the chillies and garlic only briefly, and sometimes a little longer, depending on how strong I want these flavours to be. I finish off with a sprinkling of parsley, and a squeeze of lemon. Life is always brighter with lemon.

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The best carrot soup ever!

IMG_7751

 Farmers’ market finds

 

Creamy. Gently spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. Cooled with a hint of mint. Fired up with some spicy, garlicky rose harissa. – In short, the best carrot soup ever! 

The basic carrot soup recipes comes from the 1977 edition of ‘Mousewood Cookbook’ via Slashfood. I increased the amount of spices, and added the rose harissa and the cheese. Also, I used a mixture of butter and olive oil to cook the onions, because I really like the flavour of this combination. But it’s the harissa that’s the star of the show. It really does transfer the soup to another dimension and gives it soul! Gutsy, interesting, inviting soul. It makes it hot, garlicky, moreish. Rather funky for a carrot soup! I loved it!

Here is something you could do if you don’t have the harissa (I used the Belazu brand.). It’s basically a simple tarka or bhagar with garlic and chilies. Heat some oil and add dried red chilies. Fry for a 10 – 15 second, but be careful not to burn the chilies. Then add the chopped garlic. Remove from the heat and let sizzle. Stir into the soup. – Although it doesn’t reach the complexity of the flavour of a good quality rose harissa, the chili and garlic really do take the soup to an entirely different level.

I found this great website about British carrots. Check it out for some fantastic carrot recipes and fascinating facts.

This is my entry for Eating with the Seasons: DECEMBER. Join me and send me your seasonal recipes by 15 December!

These days, I have very little time to cook, or to take photographs. Or live for that matter! I miss my blog and reading other blogs… A couple of more weeks and I should be back to normal… Fingers crossed.

UPDATE 15/12/2008: I made it with pumkin tonight (and milk instead of yoghurt). It was lovely and creamy. It worked great, too!

And now the famous soup:  

 

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Creamy carrot soup with rose

 harissa

 

SOURCE: the basic carrot soup recipe is from ‘Mousewood Cookbook’ (1977), via

Slashfood

PREPARATION TIME:10 – 15 min

COOKING TIME: 30 – 40 min

CUISINE: ?

SERVES: 2 (generously)

 

INGREDIENTS:

0.5 kg carrots, peeled and chopped

water

chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tbsp butter

1/2 large yellow onion

3 small cloves of garlic

a small handful of almonds and cashews

1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp dried mint

75 ml single cream (or less, according to taste)*

2 tsp rose harissa

salt and pepper

a handful of grated cheese (I used Double Gloucester)

 

METHOD:

I. Cover the carrots with water and  stock and boil until tender.

II. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a pan, then add the onion and a pinch of  salt. (The salt will draw out the moisture from the onion and make it cook more quickly). Add chopped garlic and nuts and saute until the onion is soft. When the onion is soft, add nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir and cook for 5 – 10 seconds to give time to the spices to release their flavours. Stir in the mint.

III. Put the onion mixture and carrots into the food processor and blend until smooth. (It’s easier to blend if you retain some cooking water and add it to the soup later on as necessary.)

IV. Return the vegetable puree to the pan, add cream and check for salt. Add water to achieve desired consistency. Stir in the rose harissa and the black pepper and heat through.

V. Fold in some cheese into the soup, and sprinkle the rest on top. Add another pinch of freshly ground black pepper and serve. Enjoy! 

Serves two generously for a hearty lunch or dinner.

 

 

Verdict

This is the best soup I’ve ever made, and one of the best ones I’ve ever had. How’s that for a verdict? 🙂

 

NOTES

*You can also use milk instead of cream. The soup is already rather rich because of the addition of nuts and cheese.

The soup lends itself to lots of variations. For example, you can use different types of nuts to add richness. Different dairy products instead of cream. You can also play with different spice combinations.

Also, I really like the idea of adding a tarka to perk up the flavours of soups! 

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Other soups at Maninas:

Dalmatian fish soup

Fragrant and aromatic salmon soup with noodles

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Eating with the Seasons: DECEMBER

Time to celebrate December foods! Go and find out which fruit, veg, meat and fish are in season where you live this December, and share your recipe with us. If you live in the UK, check out the inspiring Eat The Seasons website.

Let’s eat seasonally!

 

Join me!

 

EATING WITH THE SEASONS

 

  • Go and find out what’s in season where you live in NOVEMBER.
  • You can choose: fruit, vegetables, fish, meat.
  • Write a post/text if you are a non-blogger containing a recipe and/or information about your chosen seasonal item. You may post more than one recipe.
  • Post it and email it to me before 15 DECEMBER, and I’ll post a round-up in a few days. The plan is to go from 15th to 15th in the month (eventually), so we have some time to enjoy the recipes for dishes that are in season.

 

To take part:

 

Please send an e-mail to maninas [DOT] wordpress [AT] yahoo [DOT[ co [DOT] uk including the following information:

  • your name and country (and town if you wish)
  • your seasonal item
  • name & link to your blog
  • name of your post & link to your post
  • one photograph
  • with ‘Eating with the season’ in the subject line of your e-mail
  • & please link to this post

Beautiful kale

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Photo updated 13 March 2010

 

A few weeks ago, at a dinner at a local restaurant, I ordered a main of duck accompanied by dauphinoise potatoes and  ‘winter vegetables’. When the food arrived, we realised that, hilariously, ‘the winter vegetables’ consisted of one single small leaf of kale! Hilariously, I say, because we were in a good mood regardless, and in the good company of my brother! I don’t want to even begin saying what and why was wrong with the rest of the food, but that one small leaf of kale did leave an impression. Simply braised and soft, it had a lovely deep flavour, and I was hooked instantly.  

A few days later, I bought some gorgeous purple and green kale at the farmers’ market. I  remembered seeing a recipe for aloo palak (spinach with potatoes) at Vegeyum, and also at Hooked on Heat recently, and thought kale would be a good substitute for spinach. Good? – It was even better! This is my version of this classic dish. Lightly spiced, with cumin seeds and turmeric, with a background of onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies, allowing the flavour of the potatoes and kale to shine through. It’s a fantastic side dish that I’ll be cooking a lot this autumn and winter! 

One word of warning. Normally, if using spinach, I would precook potatoes, but this is not necessary here because the kale takes quite a long time to cook. It is at its best braised gently until soft. 

This is my entry for Eating with the Seasons: November. For details on how to take part in this event that celebrates seasonal food, check out the introductory post!   

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