Being lucky enough to be able to land an enormous veggie box from yonder French countryside on a weekend leaves one with a looming question once the heady rush of green leaves and the smell of fresh air wears off. What to do with the veggie box on a Sunday afternoon when you know you may not be in to eat again for a week? The only possible answer is to make soup. Spicy soup. With parsnips. And all of the other vegetables. Yes, even the water cress. I know. Watercress. Surprisingly peppery and tough for what I had always seen as a wimpy little sandwich filler for rich people. Who knew that cresson from the veggie box would be so good?

Spicy Parsnip and watercress soup.


2 cloves garlic
2 or 3 shallots or onions
half a fresh green chilli, chopped, no seeds
1 inch fresh root ginger chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds crushed but not powdered
half teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons butter for cooking

3 or 4 parsnips chopped
3 potatoes chopped
2 handfuls fresh watercress
2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves
handful mushrooms (optional)

3 litres water
2 small natural yogurts

salt and pepper to taste

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan until fragrant. Season a little with the white pepper.

Add butter and a little oil then add and slowly cook the onions in butter at a low heat until soft.

Add half of the chopped garlic, chilli and ginger, still at a low heat…slowly soften and stir well.

Add the mushrooms and toss until soft. add the parsnips and potatoes. toss and cook for about ten minutes until well coated in the garlic and spices and soft.

Add the water and bring to the boil.

Toss in the ripped up leaves of both spinach and watercress, add the yogurt and bring back to the boil.

Simmer for about 30-40 minutes at a low heat covered.

Keep aside a little of the veg before pureeing in a blender. Puree most of the soup then add to the reserve of still solid veg back in your pot.

Stir well, add salt and pepper and some fresh pouring cream to taste.

Serve hot. Obviously.

The coriander seeds leave a flowery spicy aftertaste to the soup which is yum…