Thursday, 15 August 2013

Spicy Morrocan Carrot Soup

Guess which jars annoy me...
When I first started cooking properly, back when I was a student, three things were the backbones of any dish, in various combinations.  A huge plastic generic container of 'mixed herbs', another of 'curry powder' and a jar of Chili Powder.  Like a Picasso of the palate, I could mix these few flavourings with any other foodstuff - usually Netto tinned casseroles, chicken soup or just some good old tinned tomatoes - to produce erm, well, something that was at least edible enough to be slapped on top of some pasta to give me enough sustenance to soak up the huge quantities of booze that I would invariably drink at the local nasty nightclub (It was called 'Spiders' in Hull, where cocktails came by the pint, dodgy goths lurked in darkened corners and the music ran the whole gamut from bad to awful... ah, good days...)

Fast forward some years and my spice collection has grown a little bit more elaborate.  In fact it seems like I'm getting a little obsessive about them now.  I started buying them in large bags and putting them into old coffee jars, and now it annoys me unless ALL THE JARS ARE THE SAME SIZE, so when we go to the supermarket, I have to buy the exact brand of coffee to get the jars.

And I have also started labelling the jars using a Dymo Brand™ label maker so all the jars ARE LABELLED EXACTLY THE SAME.  If you, like me suffer from borderline OCD, I highly recommend getting a Dymo Brand™label maker.  Not only do they keep a uniform appearance to all your jars of various brown powders (and before I got my Dymo Brand™label maker, you have no idea how many times I got my corianders and cumins mixed up) but they also give your jars a lovely and satisfying retro look, like something from a Victorian scientist's lab, but without the formaldehyde or eyeballs

Just to prove it's not just my spices that are obsessively orgainised, here is (some of) my book collection.  And yes, they are alphabetized by author and then arragnged by publication date. Problem? Me?
The point of all this rhapsodising about my Dymo Brand™ label maker is that, ummm, oh yeah, having a large and properly labelled spice collection enables you to take any old ingredient and turn it into a delicious soup.  Take for example this Moroccan carrot soup, which is nothing more than a few carrots and an onion, plus some spices.  'Simples' as the annoying rat on the telly says.  And it's all thanks to my Dymo Brand™label maker.

[The post was not, by the way, sponsored by Dymo Brand™label makers]


600g Carrots

1 Onion
1.2l Chicken Stock
4 Cloves Garlic
1tbsp Ginger Puree
1tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1tbsp Cumin Seeds
1tsp Caraway Seeds
1tsp Cinnamon
Sprigs of Thyme
Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1.  Heat the oven to 180ºc.  Peel the carrots and cut into chunks.

2.  Put the carrots in an oven proof dish, along with some oil, salt, pepper, thyme and balsamic vinegar, then add the cumin and caraway seeds.  Toss them all together so the carrots get covered in the oil and the seeds.

3.  Put the dish in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, until the carrots are starting to caramelise and brown at the edges.  Once this is happening, take them out of the oven and leave to cool.,

4.  Finely slice the onion and fry in your soup pan for 5 minutes, until they start to soften.  The add the garlic and ginger, fry for another 2 minutes, until they are both cooked and then add the cinnamon, stir and then add the stock.

5.  Put the carrots and seeds into the soup pan and bring to the boil.  Cover and simmer and then cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool

6.  Blend the soup until smooth, then re-heat, adjust seasoning to taste and add the lemon juice.  Serve and enjoy!


  1. Looks good! I love your spices - as you say, the look retro and cool.

  2. I may have to invest in one of the label printers, I am not arty like some of m fellow bloggers and my hand-witten labels, well look terrible. Liking your soup, the weather is beginning to change, so soup may soon be on the menu in my home too. Your soup makes a nice change from simple carrot soup, I am liking the spicy morrocan flavours.

  3. I am so impressed with your spice cupboard, I hang my head in shame for the state of mine - definitely needs a spruce up!
    I also like the sound of the carrot soup too, I am guilty of making the old standby carrot and coriander soup, this sounds like a tasty alternative, will have to give this a try.

  4. We are glad to see, that you are using our DYMO products to arrange your kitchen :) In case you live in Europe, I would like to send you a small present from DYMO - just leave a message to me on

    Kind regards,

    Denitsa Stoyanova
    DYMO Helpdesk

  5. Thanks for sharing your recipe, after looking at this makes me want to try back again my first soup recipe called Acorn Squash Soup