Love, we’re going home now,
Where the vines clamber over the trellis…
– from ‘Love, We’re Going Home Now’, Pablo Neruda
The week that we moved down to Melbourne was chaos. The afternoon we picked up the keys to our new house it was pouring with rain. The kids were going stir-crazy and the removalists tracked black mud all through our brand new place. The next day we settled ourselves in amidst the boxes, only to find that our power had not yet been turned on. We ate dinner outside as the sun went down, read to the kids by the light of our camping lantern, and then unpacked our bed in the strange quiet darkness of this new home.
I’ve always loved the sense of possibility that comes with moving to a new house, but it does take a while before the place feels like home. For the first week or so our belongings were still mostly in boxes, things were missing, the kids would trip over corners and run into edges, their little bodies unused to the contours of this new space. But with each day, each new exploration of the garden and the kitchen and the street, it came to feel more and more like home for our little family.
One of the reasons we chose this house is that it is in the heart of the neighbourhood, a stone’s throw from the shops and cafes and the park. In one of our first forays around the new ‘hood we happily discovered an organic fruit ‘n’ veg shop around the corner. On a whim, we picked up a big 2kg bag of bright orange carrots. We ate the carrots raw dipped in hummus, roasted, grated into salad. And yet we still had heaps left over. And so one quiet afternoon the week that S started his new job, I whipped up this Carrot, Ginger & Miso Soup.
This soup is a purist; it is what it is what it is. If you’re not that into carrots, ginger or miso, then it isn’t for you. If, on the other hand, you are into all of those things, then you will LOVE this soup. It’s a gorgeous deep orange, and packs a hefty umami punch. The toppings, while optional, are really damn good and worth taking the extra few minutes to throw together. They turn the soup from a simple bowl into a perfect autumn meal.
This was the first meal I photographed in our new home, experimenting with different places in the house, enjoying the sunshine spilling in across the room. And then I ate a great big delicious bowlful.
Carrot, Ginger & Miso Soup
This simple soup is comforting and delicious. It serves four to six, but will keep well in the fridge for 2 – 3 days. Feel free to play around with the toppings, and if you’re feeling really hungry thrown in a handful of cooked soba noodles.
12 large/1 kg carrots
4 garlic cloves
6cm piece ginger
1/3 cup red miso
2.5 – 3 litres water or vegetable stock
Firm tofu, thinly sliced and crispy pan-fried
Spring onion, finely chopped
Roasted peanuts, roughly crushed
Dried chilli flakes
Start by peeling and chopping the carrots into large chunks, then set aside.
Peel and dice the shallots. Throw a splash of oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot and saute the onions over a medium-high heat until starting to soften.
Peel both the garlic and the ginger, roughly chop, then add to the softened onion and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes, until starting to smell fragrant.
Add the carrots, and 2.5 litres of the stock/water, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for approx. 25 minutes, or until the carrots are completely cooked through.
Add the miso, taking care to ensure it is all dissolved and mixed through.
Using a stick blender, puree the soup until silky smooth. At this point, have a taste and season slightly if you feel it needs it (personally, I found that the miso had enough salt and flavour in it). Likewise if it is too thick, add the extra half litre of water.
Serve hot, with the toppings at the table so that everyone can customise their own bowl.