Very soon, we’ll slowly begin to transcend from autumn to winter, but if ever a season illuminates images and ideas, it’s autumn. The change of season and my instagram feed overnight, is turned into hues of red and golden brown leaves and wellies wading through them, pumpkins everywhere, and thick knitted mustard yellow scarfs. Yes, this season has a strong identity.
Offline, this is my slow season. As I type this now, there is a raging gale going on outside and the rain is streaming down. Basically put, when there’s an actual weather situation going on, there is nothing making me step outside. Instead, I’ll think about dinner (I’ve not long had breakfast), wonder if it’s too early to open the wine (probably), and spend the afternoon curled up watching a movie with masala popcorn. Granted this sounds cliche, but just like the guaranteed autumnal Instagram posts, this is always my autumn. And, this will be the first time in several months since the pandemic, that staying in feels normal. So, I write this to you (as well as a note to myself), take this time to absolutely find time to do nothing. And that’s an order.
In-between the heating on or off arguments, I get an overwhelming urge for slow, warming food and thick soups, as our psyche craves comfort food at this time of the year. So without further ado, I present one of my favourite soups, Parsnip & Pear that’s full of sweetness and spice.
Parsnip & Pear Soup with Pear Crisps
1 pear thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled & diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1cm piece ginger, chopped
Splash of white wine
3 medium/large parsnips, peeled & chopped into equal size chunks
700ml vegetable stock
1 ripe pear, peeled and chopped
Small handful chopped coriander
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Arrange the pear slices on a baking tray, lined with non-stick paper. Sprinkle a little ground ginger on them. Bake for around 25 minutes or until browned nicely (they may need longer if a little thicker). Take out and leave to cool, so they crisp up.
- To make the soup, heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, cook for a further 5 minutes until soft.
- Stir in the spices for 1 minute, then add the wine and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add parsnips and mix through. Then pour in the vegetable stock, cover and simmer for around 30 minutes or until the parsnips are tender and you can cut through them easily.
- Add the pear chunks into the saucepan, and blend with a handheld blender until smooth. Add a little more hot water if you’d like a thinner soup.
- Drizzle a little single cream to serve, along with the pear crisps, and a scatter of coriander.