Chestnut Miso Soup with Chickpea Croutons

 

Do you ever feel like things are getting on top of you? So much so that it's affecting your ability to savour the moment, even for a second? Your over-active brain is rendering your physical body completely inert, and you quite literally can't see the wood for the trees? Welcome to my my current state of play where everything seems disproportionally out of control - no rhyme, no reason, just is. Okay, so I can partially attribute my mental state to being semi-trapped in a village that I truly adore but which also leaves me feeling totally out on a limb with no connection to the 'real-world' ... whatever that may be.

 

It's a catch 22. We have a super house (mid-century mews with south-facing courtyard and balcony and great open-plan living space) and are privileged enough to call one of the prettiest villages in Cornwall our home - and yet, this somehow is not enough. I don't (yet) drive and the bus into town is stupidly expensive so unless I walk (which I do when the weather is good) I'm here all alone for the most of the week. Yes, people (friends/family/work colleagues) come to me and I've made a concerted effort to get out and about more frequently but that doesn't mean I don't crave access to all those town-based amenities ... call me crazy (or just a Londoner trying to find out how and where she fits in) but I need to be around people - perhaps it's a safety in numbers thing but crowds weirdly make me feel safe.

 

Anyway, suffice to say it's come to a bit of a 'elephant-in-the-room' head and we are now making serious moves to find a new abode. And, as sorry as I'll be to leave our early 70's haven, I can't say I'm not eager to embrace town-life once again - we're talking Penzance here, not, I hasten to add, the big smoke. In hindsight, it was probably a bit of leap coming directly from London and expecting to settle into a sleepy village right off the bat. Truthfully, I don't think I even knew how much of a city girl I was until I made the move down here to the depths of Cornwall ... plus, I'm inherently a people person and am/was used to dealing with various demanding situations on a daily basis. These days I rarely get to flex my 'problem-solving' muscles - and we all know that if ya don't use it, ya lose it, am I right?

 

Don't feel too sorry for me though because I have lots of exciting things planned for the New Year(hurrah!) - both personally and professionally, and one maybe, might, as in definitely will involve a wittle doggler that is in desperate need of a loving home. In the meantime, I have you blessed people to keep me company (holiday hugs all round!) and a big bowl of festive Chestnut Soup to warm me cockles- don't forget the 'chickpea croutons' either. Okay, I concede...  it ain't all bad.

 

p.s. click here for my latest vlog where I make this deliciously festive soup - please do 'like', 'subscribe' & 'share'.

 

what you'll need

serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 red onion

1 carrot

1 garlic clove

220g cooked chestnuts

1 heaped tsp miso

salt and pepper

 

for the chickpeas

juice 1/2 satsuma/tangerine

2 tbsp olive oil

glug (1/2 tbsp maple syrup)

2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped

good pinch of pink himalayan salt or sea salt

 

to serve

soya cream

chopped curly parsley

 

what you'll do

 

pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.

 

heat the olive oil in a saucepan. finely chop the red onion and carrot and add to pan. sweat for several minutes until it begins to soften.

 

crumble in the chestnuts and stir through the miso. cover the mixture with water (approx 350ml) and bring to a gentle simmer for around 20 minutes.

 

drain and rinse the chickpeas and add to oven-proof pan. vigorously whisk the satsuma juice, oil and maple syrup together. pour over the chickpeas, sprinkle over the chopped rosemary and generously season with salt. toss to combine and roast for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

 

transfer the soup to a blender and blitz until smooth. return to pan and heat through - you can thin it out further with a little more water if you so desire at this stage.

 

ladle into warmed bowls or mugs, drizzle over some soya cream, spoon in the crunchy chickpea croutons and finish with a smattering of parsley.

 

Christmas Day starter sorted!