Chef’s Special: Curried Parsnip Soup with
Confit Garlic Oil

Freshly picked parsnips, especially when harvested after a frost, have an intense sweetness that makes them far superior to shop-bought alternatives, so warm up over winter with this spicy seasonal soup from Woodruff’s Organic Café…

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To make the curry powder:
70g coriander seeds
50g cumin seeds
40g mustard seeds
32 cardamom pods, seeds only
32 cloves
15g fennel seeds
20g black peppercorns
70g fenugreek

  • Toast all the above spices on a baking tray until fragrant; about 10-15 minutes at 180°C.

Then add:
55g turmeric
18g ginger
1tsp nutmeg
1tsp cayenne

  • Toast for a further 2 minutes – watch carefully so not to burn.
  • Cool the spices and grind in a spice grinder or coffee grinder – this will make a large amount that can be kept in an airtight container and used in curries, dhals etc…

To make the soup:
2 medium sized onions
3 cloves garlic
1 kilo peeled chopped parsnips
1 litre vegetable stock
1 tin coconut milk

  • Pre heat the oven to 200°C and roast the parsnips until they start to brown. Do not allow too much colour as this will become bitter.
  • Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic and gently fry on a low heat until soft and they are starting to take on a little colour (golden brown).
  • Add the parsnips to the sautéed onion and garlic, add 2 tablespoons of the homemade curry powder (or substitute with shop-bought curry powder if you don’t have time to make your own). Cook all the ingredients, stirring regularly for 2 minutes.
  • Add the stock and cook all the ingredients for 5-10 minutes on a high heat ensuring the parsnips are soft. Add coconut milk at the end.
  • Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth or alternatively use a hand blender. Extra stock might need to be added to gain required consistency


To make the confit garlic (can be made in advance):

  • Place 4 whole bulbs of garlic in a small pan covered in vegetable oil.
  • Cook on a low heat for 30 minutes and put aside to cool.
  • When cool, carefully peel the garlic cloves, returning the garlic to the oil.
  • The oil can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 weeks and is excellent to roast potatoes in!

Serve with a warm crusty roll from La Parisienne or Hobbs House and top the soup with some confit garlic oil.

Fresh, seasonal vegetables are available all year round from Hotch Potch Farm, Duncan Paget & Co, Over Farm Market, Newark Farm, Croft Farm, Coleshill Organic, Overton Organic eggs and Days Cottage

Woodruff’s Organic Café was Britain’s first totally organic café and is renowned for its healthy whole food menus. For details, visit

Chef’s Specials Archive:

Chef’s Specials – Curried Split Peas with Courgette

Chef’s Specials – Roasted Squash

Chef’s Specials – Root Vegetable Hotpot

Chef’s Specials: Minted Broad Bean