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Carrot, Cardamom and Orange Soup

1 pound carrots
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cardamom pods
Pinch of saffron strands
Pinch of sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
6 dried apricots, roughly chopped
Juice of 4 large oranges
5 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Scrub carrots well and chop roughly. Put them in a large saucepan with the butter, cardamom, saffron, pepper, sugar, garlic and ginger. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring regularly until the spices have released their fragrance and the carrots are lightly browned. Add the apricots and orange juice, together with a generous shake of salt. Keep heating and, as soon at the orange juice comes to a boil, add the water. Bring back to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Then puree thoroughly. Check seasoning and reheat gently before serving.