November 14, 2011


As soon as the hour changes, and the evenings get longer and darker, I feel compelled to make soup. November’s Random Recipe Challenge from Dom at Bellau Kitchen is a joint exercise with another lovely blog called Tinned Tomatoes and happily for me it is for soup !!

spiced root soup1

Before I had even started to explore my own cookbook collection, I popped into the local library to see if they had anything new and found this book. I flipped the pages and turned up a recipe for “spiced root soup with crisp spiced onions”. Perfect.

Random Recipes #10 - November

As usual, when I decided to make the soup I didn’t quite have all the necessary ingredients in the house so I improvised and it worked really well. Instead of cumin seeds and curry paste I used cumin powder and curry powder.

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The recipe followed the basic principles of other soups I have made: fry the onions, add the other vegetables and herbs/spices and the stock and cook until the veg are tender then blend and season to taste. Deliciously simple and one of the most rewarding things you can cook. I adore the glorious aromas drifting out of the kitchen when soup is on the stove.

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When the recipe says to transfer the soup to a liquidiser in batches to purée it, I use my stick blender instead ~ just putting it in the pan and whizzing until the soup is the kind of consistency that we like ~ with a few lumpy bits of vegetables left in it.

I served it with some fresh chopped coriander sprinkled on top, which looked and tasted lovely, and with Nick’s home-made granary bread which had come out of the oven just minutes before. Bless him.

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My version of the soup.

I didn’t have any natural yoghurt in the house to swirl on the top and I didn’t make the crisp spiced onions to add, like croutons, either…….. but the soup was absolutely scrumptious without them !!

Spiced root soup (with optional crisp spiced onions)

1 onion

2 tblsp vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1tsp ground cumin)

2 leeks

3 carrots

2 medium potatoes

2 parsnips

2-3 tsp curry paste (or 1tsp curry powder)

1.2 litres vegetable stock (from granules or powder)

250 g natural yoghurt

chopped coriander or parsley to garnish


Peel and chop the onion. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry until just beginning to colour. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and fry until the onion is browned.

Peel and roughly chop the other vegetables. Add to the pan with the curry powder or paste and stir until well mixed.

Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the veg are tender.

Purée the soup by transferring it in batches to a liquidiser, or blend in the pan using a stick blender. Blend until smooth or slightly lumpy, just as you like. Season and stir in all but a couple of tablespoons of the yoghurt.

If you like the idea of the crisp spiced onions, peel and slice an onion lengthways and fry quickly in a little vegetable oil until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. (The recipe makes no mention of how they should become spiced as well as crisp but you can us your initiative I suppose. I left them out altogether.)

Serve the soup with a swirl of the remaining yoghurt and a sprinkling of coriander or parsley on top. Add the crisp onions if you are using them.

Serves 4-6

As with all the “Good Food 101” recipe series, you can find the recipe on the web here.


  1. Just the sort of soup that we like, yum yum. Diane

  2. this is a perfect soup for me... and those spices really jazz it up eh? And I agree, the stick blender is the thing to use for soups, less hassle and far less washing up!... nice soup and thanks for taking part this month x

  3. Now that's what I call a warming soup. I would use my stick blender more but I can never seem to find it. By the way, I really like your faff factor rating system - although it can't account for me spending a long time looking for my blender, I suppose.

  4. This soup sounds perfect for autumn and winter – lovely and warming. I like the addition of yoghurt rather than cream, which is what most of my recipes call for.