The first week of January is fucking wretched. I personally find Christmas and New Year fairly depressing but then I don’t live the kind of life where an enforced break and jollity are a welcome relief. I generally work to whatever schedule I choose, see plenty of my family throughout the year and am surrounded by fun people, so Christmas for me is a time when everyone else vanishes, everything closes and there’s sod all to do. That sounds miserable, doesn’t it? I’m fine! I caught up on all the DVDs I’d stockpiled, got a lot of work done and got some good sofa time in.
Anyway.. first week of January. I personally rather like it – stuff starts up again and after an enforced break I’m always fresh and chipper and ready to get stuff done. But everyone else seems so damn miserable. The weight of a new year on their shoulders, aware of all of their flaws and cast back into the drudgery. Poor things. I feel for you. I love winter, though. I like the run between Christmas and March where it gets super cold and grey. I think that’s how this country was designed to look. Skeletal trees in the fog. Love it.
I think one of the great things about winter is the food. Cold weather gives one licence to soup. I love to soup. I love to cook in general but to soup is like… alchemy. It’s dead simple but it’s all about the little tweaks and fine details that turns pureed veg into a bowl of happy. So, to help cure your winter blues, here is my greatest soup recipe:
2 1/2 Big sweet potatoes.
3 medium parsnips (if you’re a twat and hate parsnips, use carrots)
1 large onion
mild curry powder
Marigold swiss vegetable boullion
OK. Chop up the onion and fry it in a splat of butter and a glug of olive oil (stops the butter from burning) in the bottom of a big saucepan. Fry it on a really low heat, nice and slow, don’t let it burn, let it go soft and golden. Once it’s soft, add two generous teaspoons of mild curry powder and stir it in. If it starts to burn, bin it. You’ll know you’re doing it right because it will smell gorgeous.
Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and parsnips into equal size chunks. stir it into the saucepan and get the veg all coated in the curry and onion mix. The veg should fill the pan to the top. If it doesn’t, add more. This is a damn thick soup, it needs a lot of veg. Once the pan is full to the top, pour in enough boiling water to fill to the top and stir in 5 or 6 good teaspoons of the Marigold boullion (you can get it in most supermarkets in the stock/gravy section – a light green pot with a bright orange plastic lid – it’s worth it!) and leave it slowly simmering. It will bubble over and stuff but that’s OK.
Go and do something else for a bit, 25 minutes or so, if the veg is nice and soft, it’s ready. Turn the heat off, blend it. It should be so thick the blender only just copes. If it’s TOO thick, you can add a bit more water but in my eyes that makes you a wimp.
Salt and pepper to how you like it, add a hefty glug of double cream and you’re good to go. Fresh warm bread to dunk.
Happy New Year!