Thursday, February 4, 2010
There are days when I come home and I'm bone tired. I can't imagine walking the dog or vacuuming or being any sort of company for Almost Husband. I can't imagine what I'll make for dinner, so I end up opening a tin of Zoodles and watching bad television in my bathrobe and calling it a night.
Days like these make me feel like I've swallowed a bit of winter; a touch of gloominess settles in my stomach. I open the door, wade through the needs of my dog and cat and ignore the tumbleweeds of pet fur that roll on by. Almost Husband understands my need for solitude when he sees me heading for the kitchen with that sort of weary, purposeful look on my face.
Cooking is something of a salvation when I feel like this. My cookbooks offer me a means to a fresh start, even at the end of a punishing day; concentrating on a task that involves creativity and my senses' hearty participation. My fridge reveals vegetables from my CSA box that require attention sooner rather than later. Parsnips. I've never had a parsnip before and now I have a whole bagful. I rely heavily on roasting vegetables, but today, I need to try something new; tastes I've never put together before. A quick scan of Jamie Oliver's Ministry Of Food, and I've found what I'm looking for: Parsnip And Ginger Soup.
The chopping of the vegetables, with all the gorgeous gradations of green in the celery and the lovely cream colour of the parsnips instantly soothes me. The smells of the ginger and garlic and onion intermingle and fill the kitchen with spicy warmth. As I wait for the broth to boil, I start imagining my weekend; perhaps we'll go see a movie, and I'll finally sit down and solder that jewellery I started before we moved. And then it hits me...Mood? What mood? Was I in a bad mood?
The soup is heavenly; a marriage of unusual flavours that renders me comforted and satisfied. I feel like a bit of the winter in me has melted. Cooking. It's a bit of magic, isn't it?
Jamie Oliver's Parsnip and Ginger Soup:
2 stalks of celery
2 medium sized onions
1 3/4 g parsnips (I only had a 1lb bag, so that's what I used. Still delicious)
a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root
2 cloves of garlic
1.8 L chicken stock, preferably organic
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
4 sprigs of fresh coriander (I skipped this)
1. Peel and roughly chop the carrots, parsnips, celery, onion, garlic and ginger.
2. In medium saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil.
3. In large stock pot, add two lashings of olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped veggies and allow to cook for about 10-15 minutes, till onions are translucent.
4. Add boiling stock to cooked veggies and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until veggies are easily pierced with a fork.
5. Using an immersion blender, or whatever system of pureeing works for you, pulse the soup till smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with the coriander leaves if you like.