Generally, food holds a very special place within my heart, winning more of my affection than most humans ever could. Whether it’s steamed mussels on a day where I’m feeling like something delectably fiddly or a slab of the dirtiest, filthiest chocolate cake when I need a hit for my sweet tooth, there’s a lot filed away in the depths of my greed ready to sate my various types of hunger.
However, there are some edible joys that hog more than the usual share of my attention – which as standard is pretty sizeable. Some foods, meals or drinks do more than appease a rumbling belly, and somehow trigger a strangely powerful sense of nostalgia for a taste once enjoyed, and my mother’s carrot and thyme soup is an example of precisely this. This soup was my all-time favourite meal when I was little, and I would eat it with one of those starchy white bread rolls that serve no nutritional purpose whatsoever, but are surprisingly comforting when slathered in butter. It takes me back to a simpler time when life wasn’t riddled with hangovers or deadlines, and bread snobbery wasn’t running amok.
It’s not difficult to make, so the reason I write about it is largely unrelated to the recipe itself; it’s almost a side note should you wish to fully understand what I am speaking so passionately of. Forget that classically overrated combination of carrot and coriander: this is infinitely better. Apart from anything, dried thyme comes into its element here, meaning you don’t have to fork out on a bunch of fresh herbs. Overall it’s very, very cheap, making me wonder why anyone would ever opt for its tinned slimy equivalent.
This is my remedy, which I impart to you.
2 onions (chopped)
1 lb carrots (grated or very finely chopped – they cook much quicker if cut as small as possible)
1 ½ tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper
1 pint vegetable stock
1 pint milk
Fry the onions in a knob of butter over a gentle heat. Once soft, add the carrots and cook for 10-15 minutes with the lid on. Be sure to heat the mix until the carrots are completely cooked – if underdone the soup won’t be sweet enough.
Once the carrots are cooked, stir in the flour thoroughly. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaf and seasonings and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf, take the pan off the heat and liquidise using a hand blender.
Add the milk, stir and then bring to the boil.
Follow me on Twitter: @Jess_Hardiman