Saturday, 11 October 2014

Penny Brohn & Parsnips

On Tuesday I visited the Penny Brohn Cancer Care centre in Bristol for the day. What a lovely, tranquil, soothing place. The charity offers a wide range of services, all of which are funded by voluntary donations, such as residential courses, counselling, massage, retreats, creative therapies, cooking demonstrations and all sorts of other things.

I was doing a short (5 hour) introductory course to their holistic Living Well Programme, which helps people with (or recovering from) cancer to support themselves as best they can. The focus is on healthy eating, reducing stress, being active and finding emotional and social support. I met some lovely people with several different types of cancer, at varying stages, and we all shared snippets of our personal stories and aired our concerns with honesty and empathy. It was really interesting and enjoyable and got me thinking ... I plan to go back in the spring and do the full 2-day course.

Today I peered in the fridge and found some lovely big parsnips so I decided to make soup. It was thick and wholesome; you can add more water to make it go further, or add cream to your bowl just before eating if you want to take the taste to a whole new level. To add more carbohydrates and fill yourself up at lunchtime, this soup is divine with Ryvitas or crusty bread and butter to dip in and wipe the bowl with. It's freezable, so I'm keeping a few tubs in the freezer for cold days when I can't be bothered to cook.


Use a large saucepan without a lid.

1 small onion - sliced
1 clove of garlic - crushed
Around half an inch of fresh ginger - sliced
3 large parsnips - peeled and roughly chopped
6 large carrots - peeled and roughly chopped
1 vegetable stock cube - dissolved in a little hot water
2 litres of water
Quarter of a teaspoon of ground turmeric
Plenty of pepper and a little salt

1. Fry the onion gently in olive oil until soft
2. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a minute, stirring constantly
3. Add the water
4. Add everything else
5. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for an hour
6. When cooled, liquidize in a food processor until smooth

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