First of all Happy New Year to you all! It’s a huge cliche but I think a lot of us are feeling more than a bit toxic after the grand feasting of the Christmas holidays.
I turn 40 this year *gulp*, so I’ve made some resolutions to kick off my fourth decade with a healthier approach to life. I will go without booze for the whole of January, try to eat a lot more fruit and vegetables and finally succeed at building exercise into my life on a permanent basis.
So my first recipe of 2014 is for a healthy soup with a tasty side. Being on a health kick is all very well, but it has to taste good or i’m going to fall off the wagon quicker than you can say Quality Street.
Soups are ridiculously easy to make and taste way better than shop bought versions. Like most kids, my boys are very stubborn tinned tomato soup scoffers, but I will break them one day, and in the meantime I’ll keep making my own!
Make a double batch of this recipe and keep it in the fridge or freezer for weekday lunches, or take to work if you have a microwave in the kitchen.
Parsnip soup with Parma ham breadsticks
Serves 2 as a lunch, or 4 as a light starter
Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 30 mins
1 tbsp olive oil
1 banana shallot, finely chopped
3 sticks celery, finely chopped
4 parsnips, peeled and diced
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
500ml vegetable stock
creme fraiche/cream cheese to swirl
For the breadsticks
4 slices Parma ham
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook the chopped shallot and celery scattered with a good pinch of sea salt, with the lid on for 5 mins until soft.
2. Add the diced parsnip with the nutmeg, put the lid back on the pan and cook gently for a further 5 mins.
3. Pour over the stock and simmer for 15-20 mins until the parsnip is tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before blitzing with a blender. Check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Wrap each breadstick with a slice of Parma ham and place on a board. Gently reheat the soup, divide into bowls with a little swirl of creme fraiche and serve.
Tips: If you don’t have any Parma Ham or breadsticks handy, other tasty serving suggestions could be crispy bacon crumbled on top, or just some simple croutons made with crusty bread cut into croutons brushed with a little oil, scattered with sea salt and baked in the oven until crisp.
I used the last of the parsnip haul courtesy of my dad’s amazing vegetable garden. I roasted most of them with lashings of maple syrup and olive oil over the holidays, but kept a few back for this delicious winter soup.
Are you making any changes this January? As well as the health kick, I’ve decided to try and cook more grown up food for the firefighter and I, but to also broaden out what I cook for the boys. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of making the same meals week in week out, so a new year is a good chance to shake things up a bit. Watch this space!
I’m delighted that Ren has started running her Simple and in Season blog event over on her blog. So this seasonal soup will be heading over there to join the throng of other recipe ideas.
I’m also entering this vegetable-tastic recipe into Helen and Michelle’s new blog event called Extra Veg. It’s that time of year where everyone’s thinking about giving their diet a bit of a makeover, so adding extra veg to our meals makes a lot of sense. Hop on over and check them out for inspiration.
And finally I’m going to put this recipe in for #recipeoftheweek over on A Mummy Too, a fabulous place to grab inspiration for some kitchen activity.