Carrot ginger and roasted leek soup

Life has been crazy recently.. well, more specifically, work has been crazy recently. If it felt like I have abandoned you all, that was because of the crazy work schedules for the past few weeks. I have even started batch cooking and freezing on Sundays. Always a sign of crazy times ahead. I don't know though, I have still quite not gotten used to the idea of eating defrosted food. I freeze ~4 different portion size dishes for two on Sundays and defrost a new dish everyday morning before leaving for work. The plan goes well for may be till Thursday; somehow by Thursday I always start feeling that I am eating stale food. May be its just a mental block; it is still freshly defrosted food, right! Do you eat frozen foods much? Do you feel the same way? What do you do to liven up defrosted food?

Anyway, so coming back to the point, last Thursday my mental block came back in full-swing and we finally decided to dinner out to this nearby salad & soup place where I had this absolutely awesome carrot, ginger and roasted leek soup. I ate bowls and bowls of it with their house bread and immediately tick-marked it to try at home for the weekend. So this is my take on this soup. It has a hearty sweet component from carrots and sugar; roasting brings out a wonderful slightly sweet smoky flavor of the leeks and the carrots; and ginger-cinnamon just give your throat that much needed warmth with every sip of this soup. Perfect soup for a tired evening! Well, if it would freeze well that is ;) Enjoy, and assuming things do not get over-powering again, I promise to be around more often now. Happy Sunday.

Recipe: Serves 4
4 fresh carrots
1 large leek (can substitute with a red onion if leek is unavailable)
3 unpeeled cloves of garlic
1in piece of ginger
1tsp sugar
1tsp red wine vinegar (balsamic might be better - but i was out of it)
zest of 1 lemon
juice of half a lemon
pinch of crushed red chili flakes
just a dash of cinnamon (optional)
salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven to 450F.

Roughly chop the carrots and leek into finger-length pieces. Run the leek pieces through running water to clean all the dirt that gets trapped inside the leaves. Line a baking sheet with an aluminium foil (super easy to clean up later!). Add the carrot, leek pieces and unpeeled garlic cloves. Add some extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. Mix well.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven. Peel the roasted garlic cloves. Mince the ginger root to get about 1Tbsp minced ginger. Add all the vegetables and 6C water with enough salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to barely simmer. Simmer covered for 30minutes.

Remove from heat. Let cool a bit. Then using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend the soup into batches (be careful to cool the soup before blending and do not overload blender). Bring the blended soup back to the soup pot. Add cinnamon, chili flakes, sugar, pepper, vinegar, lemon juice and zest and stir well.

Taste! Adjust the salt-sweet-heat-sour components per taste. Serve fresh with some chopped herbs (mint/cilantro/parsley) with a dollop of  yogurt if you like or an additional drizzle of olive oil. Serve with a nice toasted whole wheat bread or any crusty toasted bread which will soak up the soup well.