After the long winter we had this year, Summer seemed to arrive very suddenly - almost overnight. There was no gentle warming up to summer; it was as though she was determined to make up for her lateness with her brilliance. And just as suddenly, she has slipped away, like Cinderella as the clock struck midnight.
Suddenly, it is Autumn.
But what a strange autumn so far. I love autumn, it is the season I feel most at home with, and look forward to every year. Somehow we have missed the early morning misty starts to the day and the cool crisp air, and moved straight to the dull gloomy days, where it looks like it should be cold, but it is too humid still.
Perhaps I am being impatient. After all, the leaves haven't really started turning and falling yet. But I do hope that we still get autumn 'proper'.
On a cool grey Sunday, where it is suddenly autumn, there is really only one thing to make for lunch - soup. This is my staple autumn/winter comforting soup. I am sure I must have posted the recipe here before, but just in case, here it is again.
Throw a walnut of butter into a large saucepan and set to melt and gently bubble. Meanwhile, chop either 1 large or 2 small leeks, then throw into the butter, stir round, and let meld gently together.
While the leeks soften and become fragrant, peel and chop 2 parsnips, 2 carrots, and 1 large or 2 small potatoes. Throw them all into the pan with the leeks.
Add boiling water from the kettle to cover the veg, and stir in either a chicken or vegetable stock pot (those jelly-like alternatives to stock cubes).
Bubble away for 15-20 minutes, then shake in some peas or sweetcorn - or if you are feeling decadent, both!
After a minute or two of bubbling, carefully blend the soup. I do it quite roughly, so there is still some texture to it. You can add some milk at this point if you like, too.
This will make enough for 4, easily. It has a slightly sweet taste from the carrots and parsnips, and feels warm and comforting. If you want to make it more substantial, you can add in some pasta, or shredded cooked chicken, but more often than not, I love it just the way it is.