In a much better mood now, as you can see, but earlier this weekend I was feeling kind of sick, generally under the weather and ... to be honest, in a bit of a rotten mood. I called Charlotte (who lives the oh-so-far 20 minutes in a car away) and babied to her the way I would to my mom. She told me to take a walk and make that good carrot soup I like and 'forget 'bout it'! She said she would make her rosemary oat cakes to go with my soup- in spirit of course!
So enough about my mood lets get to the heart warming soup that is vegan, ultra healthy and high in 'super foods.' Now you all probably know carrots are good for you- you can just hear your mom's voice in your head telling you that eating carrots will improve your eyesight. Mom's know huh? Carrots are rich in antioxidant compounds and the andioxidants in carrots not only help safeguard against cardiovascular disease and cancers, but guess what else, your mom was right, they do promote good vision!
Watercress takes carrots and 'ups one' (as my seventeen-year older brother would say). Watercress is rich in vitamins C, B1, B6, K and E, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. It is also rich in antiozidants that are sourced from high contents of beta-carotene and Vitamin A.
Lastly, the bay leaves which flavor the carrots and the broth are healing in their own right. Since the ancient Greek and Roman times, bay leaves were valued with such high regard that during battle, sports and times of study the top finishers or winners wore a crown of laurel (the Latin term for bay leaf). The term "baccalaureate" originates from this, and now a days when people complete their schooling this term is used- funny no one knows they are being honored with bay leaves?
So cooking 'sicky soup' - as my mom calls it- with bay leaves will surly make you fell better. YUMM. Can you taste all the cleansing goodness going to your body already? This is a very simple and easy recipe, which makes a sicky body feel good as new by the morn'.
Cleansing Carrot and Watercress Soup:
Prep time 10min
Cook time 40-2 hours (the longer you let the carrots marinate the better)
Serves 6-8 people
10 medium size carrots (1000 gm roughly)
3-5 bay leaves (depending on strength)
1 small salad bag of watercress (or 85 gms)
1 white onion
salt and pepper to taste
Sweat the chopped onion in a pot with olive oil and once the onions start to whilt add ALL those chopped carrots. I know that probably took a while. Don't worry about the size or even-ness, we are going to blend they all up anyway.
Then add the bay leaves (dried or fresh, dried are more flavorful though). Fill the pot with water to just above the carrots. Add some salt now so that the carrots absorb the salty flavor as they cook. Put the lid on and let the carrots stew and marinate for as long as you have time to. The longer the better. Make sure they are not on a high boil the whole time, but a nice (intense) simmer.
Once the carrots are soft, remove the bay leaves and blend the carrots with a hand-held blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Here add more hot water if too much of it has boiled or cooked off. I prefer to leave my soups quite thick and then add some hot water or broth after (before serving) so that I can decide the thickness on different days or store it away. Often I make soups in HUGE batches (as you can see) and then freeze them. This is an AMAZING time and money savor (as students both factors are important to me and Char). When you are super hungry with no time grab a frozen soup, but it in the sink with some cold (NOT hot) water, eventually try to crack it out of your tubberware, zip lock bag, etc and reheat it with some boiled water (depending on however thin or thick you like your soup). You can cook most soups down from a frozen state safely -not completely sure about ones with meat though.
Lastly- I almost forgot- turn the stove off and gently fold in the watercress. Folding the watercress in at the last minute means it will only cook in the heat of the already cooked and blended soup. This leaves the watercress closer to its natural raw state, where the watercress is more likely to maintain its optimal level of health and wealth for the body. Note: if you are going to freeze the soup, then I suggest throwing the watercress in and then freezing the soup because if you forget to do that, you may defrost your plain carrot soup one day next week and be disappointed you have no watercress . However, throwing other veggies in the carrot and bay leaf boil would probably taste good too.
(Information on ingredients thanks to www.whfoods.com; www.watercrest.co.uk, www.helpwithcooking.com)