Lucy’s Spicy Parsnip Soup Recipe

Bedfordshire in Autumn

Crisp sunny but damp mornings, chunky knits, burnished and crimson leaves fluttering down from the trees. An abundance of apples, sloes, raspberries, potatoes and crunchy salad leaves. That’s what’s going down at The Smallest Smallholding this week. Autumn is also the season of root vegetables, which is partly why I love this time in the growing season.

As I mentioned in my last post, I love soups. I really do. I could eat soup for lunch and dinner at least five days a week (alternating with my three other favourite food groups – curry, chilli and beanburgers). I’ve already previously written about my leek and potato soup recipe, my garden soup recipe (courgette and pea) and my spicy autumn sup recipe. Here’s a new one for you that’s sure to warm the cockles on a chilly Autumn day – spicy parsnip soup.

I’ve never really been a fan of creamy soups, and as a vegan it’s a little bit of a hassle finding a suitable creamy alternative (though absolutely do-able). I’ve always eschewed the likes of cream in soup for creamy veggie alternatives – I find it’s easy easy as just picking the right variety of creamy, floury potato. So here’s my creamless but smooth, spicy and, above all, hearty spicy parsnip soup recipe.

Spicy parsnip soup recipe

Spicy parsnip soup recipe

Quick and Easy Spicy Parsnip Soup recipe (vegan/vegetarian)

Prep: About 10 minutes, less if you’re a fast chopper!

Ingredients (for a fairly large batch)

3 medium onions, diced
Vegetable oil  (rapeseed) or mild blend of cooking olive oil
3 large carrots, chopped roughly
2 medium floury potatoes (such as maris piper, desiree or picasso), diced
3 medium-large parsnips, chopped and diced
Vegetable stock (I use Marigold Vegan stock)

Spices:
Cumin
Garam masala
Ground cayenne pepper

Method
1. Sweat the onions until soft in the vegetable oil and then add the chopped carrots, potatoes and parsnips. Sweat for a further for 5-10 minutes making sure the veg doesn’t stick to the pan (a liberal dash of oil after you’ve added the veg will help prevent this)
2. Add boiling water, making sure to cover the veg by about 3/4 inch, followed by the veg stock powder. Add in a level dessert spoon or so of cumin and garam masala (mixed), and add a dash of cayenne pepper if you like an extra spicy kick. Add more spice to taste if you’re like me and love a heavily seasoned soup.
3. Bring to a rolling boil and then simmer until the veggies are soft and the potatoes are breaking apart easily.
4. Take off the heat, leave to cool for a few minutes and then whizz up with a hand blender. Add more boiling water from the kettle if you need to thin off the soup. I like mine hearty and thick.
5. Serve with crusty bread.

 

Golden Days, Good Life

Pudding and me under the arch

Pudding and me under the arch

There is a certain feeling in September and October that you need to “get square” before the winter settles. This past month I’ve been focusing on not only keeping on top of all the millions of tasks to keep The Smallest Smallholding ticking over before the growing season comes to an end – harvesting, mulching, pulling up perennials, pruning – but also just simply enjoying it, while the sun is still warming the earth. These golden days are getting fewer and far between, so it’s imperative to get out there and experience every last possible second.

Gryffindor scarf

Gryffindor gardener!

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll know what I mean when I say that my garden is a bit like a horcrux for me; it’s a place where I can store a little bit of my soul and when I get overwhelmed or the anxiety builds, there’s a part of me contained within it that’s protected and nurtured. Growing, harvesting, and tending to The Smallest Smallholding is remedial work. No, scrub that, it’s not work. It’s just a part of life that’s shaped me and kept me at times from falling apart at the seams but also brings me a sense of achievement, satisfaction and peace like nothing else can.

I just love Autumn and I could write for hours and hours about all the reasons why. Here are a just a few…

Morning light

Morning light

Spanish flag enveloping the arch

Spanish flag enveloping the arch

Bertha my knucklehead pumpkin

Bertha my knucklehead pumpkin

Polka raspberry bush

Polka raspberry bush

I wish I could have eight days a week to work full-time on my little slice of England, but for now I’ll just have to cram in as much as possible as the daylight hours shorten and the nights draw in.

Growing squashes for Autumn

Knucklehead pumpkin growing in September

Knucklehead pumpkin

This year I was given a selection of squashes to grow by Marshalls Seeds, and whilst I’m still trying to find a way to use up all the courgettes, the other cucurbits are also romping away. The happiest of all is my Knucklehead Pumpkin plant, which has now grown to about 7 or 8 metres long and is producing two large fruits. Well, that’s two fruits that I can see as the vine has scrambled its way across the scrubby area by the compost bins. There could be more lurking.

The knucklehead pumpkin is yet to start going orange or knobbly… but I’m hoping that by mid to late October we’ll have a lovely pumpkin to harvest for pies, soup and all sorts of autumnal foodie treats.

Munchkin pumpkins

Munchkin pumpkins growing up the arch

And on the arch – my biggest, bestest bargain of this year – nestling amongst the flowering Spanish Flag, my munchkin pumpkins from Sarah Raven are also starting to fruit. Although it’s fairly late in the year for the vines to be producing flowers, I’m hopeful that they’ve got a lot of growing left in them and we’ll have more than just a small handful of the impossibly cute and pretty mini pumpkins for harvesting this year. I’ve counted about ten flowers and buds so it’s a game of wait and see… not sure the persistent damp conditions and lack of warm autumn sunshine will help my cause though…

Funnily enough, the sunniest side of the arch has been swamped by the Spanish Flag climbing vines, so the munchkin pumpkin plants have struggled to compete. On the less sunny side that faces to the east, the munchkin pumpkins are thriving. Something to bear in mind next year as I’ll most definitely be going for a Spanish Flag-munchkin pumpkin combo again. It’s been my little crowning glory this year.

Arch with scrambling Spanish Flag (Ipomoea lobata) and climbing Munchkin pumpkins

Arch with scrambling Spanish Flag (Ipomoea lobata) and Munchkin pumpkins