Warming Leek and Parsnip Soup (makes two-three servings)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 leeks, rinsed and sliced
2 parsnips, peeled (core removed if woody) and chopped
1 thumb sized piece of root ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
slug dry sherry (optional)
freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
1. Warm a good slug of olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, garlic and leek.
2. Once the vegetables have softened, add the parsnips and ginger and stir well.
3. Add enough boiling water (you could use stock if you prefer) to cover the veggies. Add the chilli, curry powder, cumin and coriander. Stir well and bring to the boil, covering the pan.
4. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for approximately 15 minutes or until the parsnips are soft.
5. Liquidise the ingredients either with a hand-held blender or in a liquidiser adding more water/stock as necessary.
6. Add a slug of sherry (I don't know why but it accentuates the flavours), season to taste and serve with a grating of fresh nutmeg.
You could also add a swirl of cream if you're minded to or a spoon of decent mango chutney (omitting the nutmeg if you're tempted by the latter. I know it sounds odd but trust me, it works!).
Sit yourself down with your favourite cookbook for reading material and watch the rain lash against your window whilst you bask in the warmth of your soup.