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Soup is the ultimate in self-care food, a hearty bowl has the ability to sustain you through a busy day or revive you at the end of hectic one.  The bright warming orange colour of this soup evokes the season we find ourselves in and is a treat for all the senses.  Cardamom and its delicate spice adds a smoky citrus note to lift the humble carrot soup to a new level. Quick, easy, delicious and nurturing, this is a recipe to fill your bowl and yourself with.

1 lb carrots  
2 stalks of celery
1 onion
1L of vegetable stock
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Pinch of salt
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns
6 cardamom pods
(Serves 5)

Wash & scrub your carrots, you can leave the peel on the carrots as it contains lots of flavour and vitamins. Roughly chop your carrots, celery & onion into small pieces. Warm your olive oil in a large shallow pan & add your vegetables.  Give a quick stir to ensure the olive oil coats the vegetables and cook on a medium heat for about 12 minutes. Using a mortar & pestle, crack your cardamom pods & grind the seeds until you have a powder like texture.  Now add your ground cardamom seeds, bay leaves, peppercorns & pinch of salt to your vegetables.   Pour in your vegetable stock, give a quick stir & bring to the boil. Place a lid on your pan and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for about 25-30 minutes until your carrots are soft. Using a hand blender or food processor blitz until you have a nice smooth consistency.
    Serve with roasted chickpeas, toasted almond flakes & fresh coriander.

    Preheat your oven to 200C/400F. Drain and pat dry your chickpeas (soak overnight if dry). Toss in olive oil & season with salt & pepper.  Place on a baking tray with parchment paper & bake for about 25-35 minutes until crispy. You can toast your almond flakes at the same time, just place dry on a parchment paper & bake for about 7-10 minutes until golden brown.