I’m not going out until later so there are no pictures of my sociable Saturday yet. Instead, here’s a soup I felt like making.
Sweet and Spicy Carrot Soup
(Probably serves about 4 as a starter)
150g chopped onions
2 tsps cooking oil
150g carrots, fairly finely sliced
35g dried apricots
500ml-ish water, divided
125ml hard cider – I used Weston’s Wyld Wood, which I got 3 litres of on special offer
100g cooked chickpeas
10-15g root ginger (depending on how gingery you like things!)
1 hot red chilli, de-seeded (optional – think this would still be nice without)
2 teaspoons bouillon powder
To garnish: Toasted flaked almonds
Chop onions and start frying them in the oil in a medium-large saucepan which you have a lid for.
Once they’re sizzling reduce the heat and leave while you slice the carrots up into thin rounds. Add those to the pan, turn the heat up and mix them up for a minute or two. Add half the water, and the bouillon powder, and bring to the boil. Turn down heat, cover with lid and simmer for a few minutes until the carrots start to soften, then turn off heat.
Put ginger, chilli, chickpeas, apricots, and cider into a blender, then strain the cooking liquid from the pan of carrots and onions into the blender container. If you like a completely smooth soup add all of the carrots and onions as well, but you might need some extra liquid. I wanted some texture so I only scooped half of the carrot-onion mix into the blender container. Blend until smooth then pour back into the saucepan. Add the other half of the water to the blender container and swoosh it around to get the rest of the blended stuff then add that to the saucepan too. Turn heat back on to gently reheat soup.
While waiting for the soup to re-heat, a quick and delicious crunchy garnish can be made by toasting some flaked almonds with seasoning of choice. I squirted my cast-iron frying pan with some Fry Light 1 cal sunflower spray, added a few drops of the liquid smoke I got from a rare visit to one of the few Whole Foods stores in the UK, and a dash of soya sauce for colour and flavour, then mixed them round on a medium heat for a couple of minutes until they started to brown and crunch up.
I probably don’t need to continue with the instructions, really! Put your soup in a bowl, top with some of the almonds, and enjoy!