I recently became a grown up which may come as a surprise to some of you, given I turn 33 this month. It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me and witnesses my scattered failures at adulthood on a daily basis. There have been signs though that I’ve come of age. My middle years are now just on the brink of the horizon so it can only be good that I have noticed these things of late:
– I regularly turn over from Radio 1 to Radio 4, whilst narrowing my eyes and shaking my head. There is rarely anyone other than a 2 and a 4 year old about as an audience for my dramatic radio channel switching. Still, I carry on.
– I have cleared my wardrobe out completely of anything below a size 14. Hence there’s a charity shop in Leicestershire currently enjoying a huge stock of size 10 garments from the 90s. I even got rid of my phantom wedding dress, the posh dress I bought to conform to the stereotype that all wedding dresses should be whimsical and bought from a shop called ‘Princess wedding dreams’ or suchlike. I actually got married in a £55 black and white polka dot dress.
– I have started to clean our house regularly. Not because I love cleaning, I am suspicious of anyone who claims cleaning grub as a favourite pastime. More that I finally understand that if you don’t clean all the time you have to clean for days on end as the dust and grime accumulates into something terrifying, and when toddlers are involved, inexplicably covered in jam. I know everyone else got this years ago, I am a late developer.
– I have started to go to bed early. I have always been the person to stay up the latest, the last taxi caller at a party, perpetually in fear of missing something amazing that never quite happens. I spent all of my 20s waiting for this spectacular thing. I have given up waiting. Now I’m sleeping instead and I can report my skin is better for the sleep and I am nicer and less of a grumpy witch in the mornings.
– I have become worried about my vegetable intake, hence my new obsession with eating soup for at least one meal a day. If not two. And yes, I am even taking multi vitamins these days.
Roasted celeriac, carrot and parsnip soup
Makes about 4 HUGE portions, possibly more. Freezes well.
- 2 large carrots
- 4 large parsnips
- Half a celeriac bulb (Bulb? Is that the right word?)
- 2 onions
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil or other good roasting oil
- 2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- Hot stock – homemade or made with a stock cube
- Salt and pepper
Put your oven on to 200C/Gas 6, check a rack is at the top of the oven. Peel your carrots, parsnips and celeriac and cut into pieces about 1 inch squared. Pop them into a roasting tin with 2 tbsp of the oil and place on the top rack of the oven for about 30 minutes or until they are all golden looking and a knife passes through them easily.
Peel and chop the onions into half inch pieces and fry in 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan until starting to brown. Peel the ginger and chop as fine as you can, place in the frying pan with the onions and give it a stir. Then add the cumin seeds and fry for 1 minute, if they start to look like they’re burning before then, remove from the heat immediately.
Transfer the lot to a large saucepan, add the roasted veggies and any oil lying about in the roasting tin. Then top up with stock – start with about 1 litre. Put the pan on to a low heat for 20 minutes to let the roasted veg mingle with the stock. Then blend the soup to see how thick it is, I use a handheld stick blender by the way. (This all depends on the size of your vegetables.) If it’s too much like baby purée add more stock. If you run out of stock, add a little boiling water instead.
When the soup is a thick or as thin as you like it taste it to see how salty your stock was. If it needs more salt, add it. Just add black pepper and serve with crusty bread and cold salted butter.