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Put the oil and onions in the biggest saucepan or casserole you have and soften for 10 mins. Stir in the spices and cook for 2 mins, then add the sliced carrots with half the beans and the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 15-20 mins until the carrots are tender.
Whizz the soup to a purée with a hand blender, or purée in batches in a blender or food processor. Tip it back into the pan (pour it through a sieve or a colander if you like), and stir in the remaining beans and grated carrot with 500ml hot water. Bring back to a simmer, then cover and cook gently for 10 mins.
Stir in the milk and season to taste, then keep on a very gentle heat until needed. If you like, snip a few chives over and serve with crusty bread.