January weather-wise and work-wise is bleak at the best of times. And all this is further exacerbated by the intense pressure to lose weight through fad diets which ultimately only promotes anxiety and ultimately lowers our self-esteem.
But leading a healthy lifestyle needn’t mean depriving yourself or punishing yourself. And, as so many professionals will advise – it’s always all about balance. As Oscar Wilde wisely said:
‘Self-denial is simply a method by which man arrests his progress.’
Therefore don’t deny yourself this January – instead of convincing yourself to diet, why not learn how to make healthier meals and snacks exploring seasonal vegetables such as carrots, kale and parsnips which are all bursting with goodness.
Parsnips are a particular favourite of mine: crammed with vitamin C and folic acid, they have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant proprieties too, and make a wonderfully rich, wholesome and creamy soup.
This is fragrant comfort food is fragranced with fresh ginger, garam masala, cinnamon and chili, and made even creamier and more nutritious with coconut milk. The spices and ginger give it an extra immune-boosting kick – I like to make a large batch and store it in the freezer for cold windy nights or when I am feeling slightly under the weather.
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1 large onion (roughly chopped)
- 2 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)
- 6 medium-sized parsnips (peeled and roughly chopped)
- 1 piece fresh ginger (peeled and roughly chopped)
- 1 tablespoon of garam masala powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 500 ml coconut milk
- 1 litre hot water + 1 cube of good-quality vegetable stock
- 1 fresh red chili (deseeded and finely sliced)
- 1 handful fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place a large saucepan on a high heat and add the tbsp of olive oil. Then add the onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and garam masala, and cook, constantly stirring, until the onions are tender.
- Next add the chopped parsnips and stir until well combined and the chunks have been coated in the spices.
- Then add the coconut milk and stock, and bring the mixture to the boil.
- Once bubbling, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, and leave with a lid on for about 20 minutes, until the parsnips have completely softened.
- Once the parsnip chunks are soft, remove the saucepan from the heat and leave for at least 5 minutes to cool slightly before whizzing the mixture with a hand blender. Add chili flakes, salt and/or pepper as needed.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of chili, pepper and the chopped coriander.
NB. This will freeze for up to 3 months, or keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 4 days.
By Amelia Stewart of Cook First. For more of Amelia’s delightful recipes, please visit www.cookfirst.co.uk/samplerecipes.
*Cover image courtesy of https://www.deliaonline.com/ingredient/parsnips