Its already been two and a bit years since we moved to Canada, and during this time, I have changed in many ways. Be it that ubiquitous 'eh' at the end of every sentence, or getting 'oot and aboot', life changed in more ways than I assumed it would. However, one of the few habits that I retained from my UK life, a banal one, but still... is the way in which I do my grocery shopping. When living in England, we never really did a massive weekly/ monthly shop. Instead we'd go out every other day, and stock up on fresh produce and staples. Occasionally we did a big Tesco shop, but the convenience of delivery meant that I never really had to carry massive bags of groceries home.
I do miss grocery delivery here in Canada, particularly when its cold and miserable out :)
That said, being car less, means that we do have to do our shopping 'European style' so to say, because I am kind of limited in what I can carry back with me. Which means, everything stays in small packages, and fruit and vegetables are bought in smaller quantities. I also do a Saturday shop at the farmer's markets after Aditi's swimming lessons, where I stock up on produce and sometimes, meat.
However, on the occasional weekend, we hire a car. This gives up the opportunity to do a bigger shop for pantry staples, as well as go to ethnic stores, which are a pain to get to using transit. One such shopping expedition resulted in a giant bag of carrots :)
So this bag of carrots is sitting in the fridge, looking back at me accusingly every time I open the crisper. 'You bought us' they seems to be saying. 'You have to use us up... remember you don't like waste' (OK, I am losing it, aren't I? Carrots talking to me and all that...) But all that guilt finally got to me, so on a beautiful warm Sunday, I grumble and moan about wanting to make salads, but get out my soup pot and make this soup instead, knowing that I am probably going to get a quizzical 'soup?' from Kay and Aditi.
It did all turn out brilliantly in the end though, thanks to a misadventure involving a kid, canoe and a very cold lake :) Kay took Aditi out to Elk Island Park to go canoeing with a friend, and they tipped the canoe. Apparently, Aditi was brilliant, didn't panic, kept her head and stayed afloat until Kay could get to her (proud mommy emoticon here) But that tip did mean that I had two cold and miserable looking people back at the house... and guess what was for dinner... yay, soup! The perfect remedy for accidental cold lake baths!
Kay (who's been getting a little blasé about my cooking recently) loved this soup. It was light and fluffy (an odd word to use about soup, but I really can't think of any other way to describe it!) delicately sweet, with a savoury hint of spice that enhanced, rather than overwhelmed the distinctive flavour of carrots. I made this soup using my homemade spice mixes (the madras curry powder, and the garam masala) and homemade vegetable stock which I think really gave the whole soup a lift in flavour and fragrance. The spicy-sweet aroma of this soup cooking was just beautiful, and the ginger just brought the whole dish together and added the final layer of complexity to this relatively simple soup.
Just what the doctor ordered for little (and big) mites that take an unexpected dip in a cold lake, right?
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
¾ teaspoon homemade madras curry powder
¾ teaspoon homemade garam masala
1 kilo carrots, washed, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
½ cup cooked red lentils (optional)
3 cups (750 ml) hot vegetable stock + an extra cup if required
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander/ cilantro
Dollop of plain yoghurt
Heat the oil in a heavy based pot, and add the onion and celery. On a medium heat, saute the for about 5 minutes, until softened.
Add the ginger, madras curry powder and garam masala and cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
Add the chopped carrots to the pan. Stir together and cook for another 4 - 5 minutes.
Add the 3 cups of hot stock to the pot, and stir together. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered for between 20 - 30 minutes, until the carrots are soft and tender. Leave to cool down.
(Optional: add the cooked lentils to the pot at this point and stir together)
Transfer to a blender, and blend until very smooth, using the remaining 1 cup of stock to thin down the soup to your desired consistency.
Season to taste with salt. Reheat over a gentle heat, and serve hot garnished with a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and a dollop of plain yoghurt.
Linked to Deb's The Soup Kitchen event!