The easy-to-make crunchy sesame stars give a festive touch to this beautiful creamy golden soup that can be made ahead and freezes well. The perfect starter for a Christmas meal.
- 25g (1oz) butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 700g (1½lb) carrots, sliced
- 225g (8oz) potato, diced
- 1.5l (2½ pints) water
- 150ml (5fl oz) single cream
- squeeze of lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- grated nutmeg
- fresh herbs or extra cream, to garnish
For the sesame stars:
- 34 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 6 slices white or wholemeal bread
- 2550g (12 oz) soft butter
First make the sesame stars, which can be done in advance and kept in a tin for several days. Sprinkle about half of the sesame seeds on to a plate. Cut the bread into stars, using a pastry cutter. Spread one side of the stars with butter, put them buttered-side down on the plate of sesame seeds, then spread butter on the other sides and sprinkle with the remaining seeds. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven, 150ºC, 300ºF, Gas Mark 1, for 1 hour, or until completely crisp and golden. Cool.
To make the soup, melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and fry for 5 minutes without browning. Then add the carrots and potato, cover, and cook gently without browning, for 10 minutes. Add the water, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Liquidize the mixture, then pass quickly through a sieve and back into the rinsed-out pan. Add more water to make a nice light consistency, then add the cream, and lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Garnish with fresh herbs dill would be particularly nice and a swirl of cream, if you wish, and serve with the sesame stars.
Taken from Rose Elliot's Vegetarian Christmas, published by Thorsons. Photo by Ant Jones for Cook Vegetarian!