This morning I awoke to a dark, grey and quite grim, cloud filled sky, with no sight of the sun or my beloved summer time heat. Hmm, what on earth has happened to summer I immediately thought? She’s completely gone, nowhere in sight. I reached for my favourite white knitted cardigan and made my way to the coffee machine. Sipping my morning espresso I looked out at the cloud filled grey sky and suddenly felt grateful for a day filled with drizzly rain, cool breezes and an overcast, sombre, almost autumnal mood. I immediately opened all of the windows to let the breeze send cool chills through the house and cheerfully embraced the rainy, cloudy weather with an open heart and empty stomach. My mind then instantly thought of soup.
Once again, thanks to my overzealous nature at the fruit shop, I was met with an abundant supply of fresh, bright orange carrots in my refrigerator. I gathered a few more staples, an onion, garlic and some fresh thyme and knew I had the makings for an uplifting carrot soup, perfect!
Carrot soup is one of my favourites. I love its orange hue and sweet flavour and for me roasting the carrots, onion and garlic intensifies the flavours that much more. I adore the smell of vegetables roasting in the oven and knowing a nourishing, rejuvenating soup will be the end result, makes the minimal effort oh so worth it. Not that this soup requires much work, on the contrary, it’s actually very simple. To a preheated oven I add an oven tray filled generously with chopped carrots, onion and garlic all of which is smothered in olive oil, honey, salt and pepper and adorned with fresh thyme. Meanwhile I gently fry a sliced leek in a little olive oil and butter to which after thirty minutes of roasting I add the carrots, onion and garlic too. I then add chicken stock to the carrot and leek mixture and let simmer for ten minutes.
With smells of sweet roasted carrot, onion and garlic wafting through the house I return to the stove top to blitz my now tender carrot stock mixture into a warming, thick and luscious soup. With a final flourish of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a little coconut milk my warming and soul soothing soup is ready to be enjoyed.
I am thrilled to be supplying biscotti to a few of my local cafes so as the afternoon rolled on I drew my attention to a biscotti recipe I have been testing and retesting in order to get just right, strawberry and almond thumbprints. I made several tweaks and alterations to my almost perfect recipe and was pleasantly pleased and excited with the results. The biscotti were delicious, sweet, filled with delicious nuts and utterly gorgeous. Jack pot!
However, after a little too much taste testing and with the smell of sugar, roasted almonds and caramelised strawberry jam in the air I knew it was time for me to step away from the baked goodies and head out for a long, sweaty run. As I made my way up the river I couldn’t help but examine the ever growing grey clouds in the sky and silently pray for them to hold off imparting their ever impending rain until I was home safe and dry. I instantly increased speed not only to avoid the awaiting rain drops but also to hurry home to my awaiting carrot soup, yes carrot soup and a run will most definitely make up for my biscotti bender I thought.
Roasted Carrot, Thyme & Honey Soup
4 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, sliced into thin wedges
4 cloves garlic
10 sprigs of thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon honey
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, finely sliced
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup coconut milk
Yoghurt and freshly ground pepper, to serve
Preheat oven to180°C. Place carrots, onion, garlic and thyme on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with olive oil and honey and mix to combine. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast for 30 minutes or until the carrots and onion are tender and slightly golden. Meanwhile, place butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat, add leek and cook until softened. Add the roasted carrot, onion and garlic (squeezed from the skin) and stir to combine. Add the chicken stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the carrot is soft. Allow to cool slightly then blitz with a hand processor. Return to carrot soup to the heat, stir in coconut milk and taste for seasoning, adjust accordingly. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and freshly ground black pepper.