On an early morning cycle ride it was beautiful to see the countryside cloaked in white frost, as if a huge white silk tablecloth had been dropped from the sky.
On these winter rides, I find myself thinking about something delicious to eat on my return: a steaming bowl of soup, a casserole or a thick toasted cheese sandwich to take away the chill from my bones and stop the gurgling of an empty belly.
The frost not only made for a memorable ride, but has also helped with the flavour of our local parsnips. The lower temperature turns some of the starch into sugar, which makes them taste sweeter.
Parsnips are full of vitamins and minerals as well as containing antioxidants, which are said to reduce muscle inflammation.
6 parsnips peeled and chopped
1 onion finely chopped
1 leek finely chopped
2 sticks celery chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
Small knob of ginger peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seed
Half teaspoon fennel seed
1 dried bird’ s eye chilli
500ml vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, leek, celery and garlic. Cook for four minutes without colouring.
2. Add the parsnips,ginger, cumin, fennel and chilli and cook for another three minutes.
3. Add the stock, milk and saffron and bring to the boil.
4. Simmer for 15 minutes and check the parsnips are soft.
5. Add the cream and season to taste.
6. Liquidise and check the seasoning. If you like a fine-textured soup, pass through a fine sieve.
• Lawrence Murphy’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth fatolives.co.uk. Call 01243 377914