May 12, 2014 by Dewi
Being ill is not fun, but unfortunately everyone catches a cold at some time or another. Some people are rather good at being ill – they can shrug their poorly symptoms to one side, using sheer mental brawn to put a halt to their coughing, sneezing and sniffling in an heroic display of perseverance.
I am not one of these people.
Quite the opposite, in fact. I must admit that at the first sign of a sore throat or stuffy sinus, I raid my wardrobe to pull on every wooly jumper I’ve ever owned and retreat to my bed to curl up and feel infinitely sorry for myself in what is a rather pathetic display of defeatism.
I was faced with such adversity just the other week when I woke up one morning and began noticing those familiar signs… The scratchy throat, the aching neck, the fuzzy head. I had caught a cold. So commenced the process: Panic. Wardrobe. Jumpers. Bed. Despair.
I surprised myself shortly after this moment of anguish, however, when I made a conscious (or Lemsip-laden, semi-conscious) decision to fight this cold and to not be beaten into submission. I chose to wage war on my symptoms using the most effective tools in my armoury: an oven, a hob and a saucepan.
Soup was to be my saviour. Roasted garlic and red pepper soup, to be precise. Garlic has long been hailed for its immunity boosting qualities, whilst red peppers remain the Goliaths of the fruit and vegetable world in terms of their impressive vitamin C content.
I roasted the bulbs of garlic whole, along with the halved peppers. When garlic is roasted in its skin like this, the flesh becomes soft, super-sweet and can be simply squeezed from the cloves to form a purée. It’s SO good. Along with sweet roasted peppers, some stock and a dash of dried chilli flakes the end result is a delicious soup with bona fide magical healing powers.*
*Extent of magical healing powers may vary (or may not actually exist at all).Serves 4
- 2 whole medium bulbs of garlic, with the outer skin removed (see photos below)
- 4 pointed sweet red peppers, halved and deseeded
- 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- Handful of parsley, stalks finely chopped and separate from the leaves
- 800ml vegetable stock
- Double cream for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180℃
Rub the peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper then place them, cut side down, on a baking tray.
Cut the very top from each garlic bulb, drizzle with oil and place, cut side down, on the baking tray with the peppers.
Roast the vegetables for around 35-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, gently fry the onion and carrots in a little oil over a medium heat for around 10-12 minutes until the onion is soft.
Add the chopped parsley stalks and chilli flakes and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Pour in the vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
Now finely chop the parsley leaves and add half to the stock before removing the saucepan from the heat.
Take the garlic and peppers out of the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Squeeze the garlic from its skin and add to the stock along with the peppers.
(Note: If you like you can remove the skin from the peppers after roasting, but I quite like the charred flavour.)
Now pour the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth. You may need to do this in batches.
Return the blended soup to the saucepan and check and adjust the seasoning.
Bring back up to serving temperature and pour into bowls.
Top with a drizzle of cream (if using), a little olive oil and the remaining chopped parsley.