It’s getting very wet here. Until last Friday, October had been cold and very grey, but not very wet – but Saturday bought an end to that!
I feel like I haven’t seen the sun in weeks. Every day as I sit and look at the small square of sky I can see from my office window, I see a thick, grey cloud cover which never seems to let up. It’s been chilly, but not so cold you need to bring out your winter jacket and has mercifully, up until now, not been raining very much.
This was the first weekend this month that S wasn’t here, so to spend the time I signed up to go to the gym. On Saturday morning I was signed up for 90 minutes of yoga in the city, and thought I could hang around in town after and browse the mid-season sales or so. (Side note: since when are there so many sales all the time?) As I was leaving I was running a bit late, and just grabbed the first jacket in the wardrobe without checking the weather, so when I came out and it was 3 degrees Celsius instead of the 7-ish it had been all week, as well as raining, I got a bit of a shock. No time to go back up and change though, so I ran down to the tube, but as I was walking around town after the class I was so cold. Luckily I had an umbrella in my handbag (if my time in London has taught me anything it’s to always carry a small umbrella in your bag), but the scarf I had on is a loop one that has been too stretched, so it leaves a gap around your throat – thus defeating the purpose of a scarf. Before long though, my mum WhatsApped me and said did I want to come hang out with her.
Anyway, what I was going to say was that on Saturday it started raining and it hasn’t stopped since. The weather websites are claiming that it will be dry tomorrow, and even bright sunshine and 7-9 degrees on Friday and Saturday, but I’m not getting my hopes up. I don’t mind the cold, I don’t (really) mind the fact that the sun is soon going to set before I leave work, and I don’t even mind (that much) if it’s grey out. I just don’t want it to rain. November is a bleak enough month as it is, and with climate change or whatever it is making the winters hotter, there’s not even the promise of a white December to get you through it. All you can do is hope.
Because of this bleak weather I’ve been in a real soup mood. I have a faint memory of writing somewhere in here – possibly in the blueberry post – that when I was little I didn’t like soup. Any soup. But having discovered that soup could be something other than the dreary, often lumpy, things we got in school, I’ve now come to expect these soup cravings this time of year.
My first soup of the season was a roasted red pepper and tomato soup which I unfortunately was quite disappointed with. It was too liquid and didn’t have the depth of flavour I was expecting, so I won’t put that recipe in this post.
Next up, however, was something much better. I was browsing soup recipes online and came across a carrot and sweet potato soup on BBC Good Food. I really like sweet potatoes, but the thought of putting them in a soup had never hit me. I immediately thought it was a good idea and decided to try it out.
This recipe is so easy, and takes very little effort. It’s a thick, earthy, autumnal soup – in other words everything I wanted it to be.
500g sweet potatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1 litre vegetable stock
100 ml crème fraîche
Start by peeling your sweet potatoes and carrots and chopping them up into smaller pieces. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Then roast for 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. You want the pieces to be ever so slightly darkened (read burnt) around the edges.
While your sweet potatoes and carrots are in the oven, chop up the onions and some garlic. I used 4 cloves, because I love garlic. Fry the onions on medium heat until they start to look translucent. Then add the garlic and fry for a minute or two, before adding the stock. Bring to boil and leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Add the carrots and sweet potatoes to the stock and blitz with a hand blender (or, if you don’t have one, add the carrots and potatoes and then the stock mix to a normal blender). After I had blended to soup so it was smooth, I also added about 2 tbsp paprika. The original recipe didn’t call for this, but I think it complemented the flavours well.
Add the crème fraîche and stir until it’s completely blended in with the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy with some additional crème fraîche on top, if you want, and a nice bread roll.
This was exactly the kind of feeling I was looking for when I was making the roasted red pepper and tomato soup, which is why I was disappointed when I didn’t get it. I ended up with three servings from this – but my servings are probably around 500ml each, so they’re quite large.
Next up is a parsnip soup I amended to turn it into a honey roasted parsnip soup. See you then!