I've felt colder during these last few damp days in the 40's than I ever did during the crisp 20-below temperatures we've had over the winter. It must be some cruel trick of the mind, because we are so close to tomato-growing, flip-flop wearing weather I can practically see it, just around the bend, yet spring never felt so far away as it does on this particularly soggy day.
The perfect cure for damp is some form of orange food, being both cheerful and nutritious. Except Cheetos. But then, Cheetos don't really count as food. With the basement still overflowing from a glut of butternut harvested at the end of the summer (I lost count at 46), and some very lovely carrots lurking at the bottom of the fridge, I had a good start, and with the orange trifecta formed by adding tikka curry powder, I knew it would be a big ol' pot full of happy.
Tikka curried butternut carrot soup.
There's no real recipe, just some suggestions for combining. Take seven auspicious-looking carrots and give them a good scrub, then chop into 2-cm sized pieces and add to a pot that has a good glug of olive oil warming in it. Add a healthy pinch of salt, and while the carrots are cooking over medium heat, peel and chop one small butternut into 2-cm sized cubes. I do mean petite squash, mine yielded about 4 cups. Use part of one if you have a monster. Or just make it more butternutty. Now cut up some nice slabs of onion that you happened to have in the fridge because you roasted your chicken on top of them over the weekend, and then add that quart of homemade lamb stock from the week before, bung on the lid, and let it simmer on low for about 45 minutes until everything is tender. Break out the stick blender and go to town. Finish off with 2 tablespoons of tikka curry powder mixed in well, and watch the psychological snow berms melt away, making room for that first crocus of spring.