After ten weeks of insane madness, the Lent Term is finally over and classes are done. I can breathe and enjoy five uninterrupted weeks of blissful Easter break until the Summer Term begins in late April. However, there is one small thing in between me and boundless enjoyment of the great outdoors this spring vacation: frosts. And snow. And persistent 0ºC weather. Ever since Saturday it has snowed. And snowed. And snowed. Thankfully it’s the fussy kind that doesn’t stick. But still. This is no way to end the month of March! I want to be soaking in the sun in Hampstead Heath and rummaging through trinket bins in streetside bazaars, not spending nights in bed wrapped around my hot water bottle and shivering in the mornings as I wait to catch the bus to work. I suppose that’s my silver lining- since I have the time now to work extra hours, my paycheck at the end of next month will be nice and thick. I’m not traveling much at all this break, mainly spending the time that I do have in London working, preparing my dissertation, and sending out job applications.
This evening as I walked back home, suffocating as I struggled against the icy wind, all I wanted to do was get back in my warm room and drink a piping hot cup of tea and eat something hot and delicious.
I found this easy carrot soup recipe on 101 Cookbooks, I altered it to my tastes, and I made the beauty that you see below:
I realize that this looks like nondescript yellow liquid in a bowl that you’ve seen in countless photos (I only own one bowl lol). But trust me when I say that this recipe yields a soup with a full-bodied, creamy carrot base with a fragrant, subtly piquant bite. It. is. delicious!
You will need:
a few slices of butter
2-3 cloves of garlic
a slice of ginger
3 cups of water
half a lemon
a dollop of mascarpone
sea salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
a sprinkling of turmeric (optional)
Here’s what you do:
1. Put a large soup pot on the stove over medium heat. When the pot gets warm, add two hearty slices of butter, enough to coat the pan.
2. Chop up your onion. It doesn’t have to be in perfect slices, you’re going to blend it up in the end. Dice the garlic. Add them to the pot, and sauté. Cook until the onions are translucent.
3. While the onions and garlic are cooking on the stove, peel and chop your carrots into 1/2 inch rounds. You can do this step first, but I prefer to do it as the onions cook as I feel it makes me work faster. As you finish chopping each carrot stick, add the rounds to the pot.
4. After you’ve added all the carrots, stir and let them sauté for a few minutes. You may want to add just the littlest bit of salt, pepper, and turmeric. (I do this to gently bring out the flavor of the carrots before I add the water; but I don’t add too much, otherwise it could overpower them.)
5. Dice the ginger. This is how much I used:
Add it to the pot. Stir everything up and let cook for about 5-7 minutes. You really want the ginger to become fragrant and cook. You’d be surprised at how little ginger you need to spice up this soup.
8. Turn off the heat, and take your pot off the stove! Now comes the fun part. Let the contents of the pot cool for about 5 minutes, then dump it all in a blender. (If you have a hand blender, you can use that instead.) I puréed it until it was the consistency that I wanted- not too lumpy, not too runny. Blend it however you like!
9. Now, dump it all back in the pot, and put back on the stove. Stir in the lemon juice and add your spices! Heidi Swanson on 101 Cookbooks explains the art of adding sea salt best: ‘Keep adding a few pinches at a time until the carrot flavor really pops. If it tastes flat or dull, keep adding.’ I decided to add pepper as well, because I wanted it to be slightly picante. And I added a light dusting of turmeric, for its aroma and because it seemed as though it would go well.
You’re done! Pour yourself a bowl. As a deliciously decadent addition, add an ample spoonful of mascarpone and stir until the cream softens into the thick folds of orange. You won’t be disappointed. It is so good.
Gingery carrot soup. My new cold weather staple!