Category Archives: Soups

12Dec/14

Leek & lentil soup

Leek & lentil soup

Most of us have had a go at the traditional leek and potato soup and love it.  But have you tried leek & lentil soup….?  no?  then please I urge you to try this – I am sure, once you taste this gorgeous, sweet, nutty and very nutritious soup, it will very quickly become part of your “must haves”.  I have used the usual orange lentils which cook easily and kept this recipe simple, so simple, you need just bung everything in and turn the hob on!  However, we do need to fry the leeks – this brings out the sweetness in the leeks and adds to the overall flavour.  So, while the soup is simmering away, slice the leeks nice and thin and hum a merry tune and fry the leeks -it only takes about 8-10 minutes and is worth the effort.

Tip: Most lentil-based soups are versatile – you can also serve this as dal with rice or quinoa.  Add a little cumin powder if you wish to spice it up a bit.

Leek & lentil soup(3)

Fried leeks

4 small, 2 meal- sized portions

Ingredients

1 cup (about 150 grams) orange lentils, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 medium tomato, quartered
2 medium leeks (about 300 grams), sliced thinly
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash the lentils, add garlic, ginger, turmeric, tomato and 700ml water
  2. Bring to boil, lower heat and cover and cook for about 30 minutes until lentils are cooked. (When cooking lentils don’t put the lid on tight as the lentils will boil over and make an awful mess – place the lid loosely on the pan!)
  3. Add salt and check consistency of the soup at this point –if you prefer it thicker uncover and let it reduce, or add a little more water if you like a thin soup
  4. Fry the leeks in olive oil for about 8-10 minutes until the edges turn golden and the leeks are cooked
  5. Add to the soup and serve

 

05Nov/14

Chickpeas & spinach soup

Chickpea & spinach soup(2)

If you stock tins of beans and chickpeas in your larder as I do, you won’t have any trouble putting this together in a jiffy.  I used frozen whole leaf spinach which I always keep in the freezer as it is so handy just when you need to chuck in a few 100 grams of spinach in your curry, lentils or just steam to go with your meal.

This chickpeas & spinach soup is so yummy, I promise it will become a permanent feature on your menu.  This recipe produces two regular soup helpings and one whopping big helping for yourself on a cold, winter’s evening.  I resisted the temptation to use tomatoes!   I wanted to avoid an overwhelming taste of tomatoes but instead to allow the earthiness of the chickpeas to dominate without hindrance from any other competing flavour and as much as I love tomatoes, they do tend to take over!

 

Chickpea & spinach soup

2 regular, 1 meal size serving

Ingredients

1 tin chickpeas (400 grams), drained
80-100 grams fresh or frozen leaf spinach, chop fresh spinach (don’t be tempted to add more spinach as it will overwhelm the soup!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt to taste
250ml water

Method

  1. Puree one-third of the chickpeas with a little water from the 250ml
  2. Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent but not brown
  3. Take off heat, add spices, oregano, whole and pureed chickpeas and water
  4. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, then add chopped spinach and salt to taste
  5. Cover and simmer for another 15 minutes
  6. Adjust seasoning and check consistency for preference
27Sep/14

Black-eyed bean & parsley soup

Blackeyed bean soup(2)

Soup as first course is fine, but a hearty, filling soup makes a beautiful meal and is a favourite with us.  A chunk of fresh crusty bread to accompany and what more can one wish for.  The beauty of hearty soups is you can bung in almost any vegetable, lentil and bean and come up a winner.  Add a handful of fresh herbs like flat leaf parsley, dill and coriander for a fragrant soup fit for angels.  And if that wasn’t enough to tempt anyone, black-eyed beans are full of goodness and onion and garlic are well-known for their therapeutic properties.  If you are in a desperate rush, you could use tinned black-eyed beans although these beans don’t require soaking and don’t take as long to cook as some other larger beans.

I have used black-eyed beans for this one and teamed it with flat leaf parsley – dill would do fine too or both! If you plan to freeze some just double the ingredients except for the oil – 3 tablespoons should be enough to fry 2 medium onions.

2 servings

Ingredients

½ cup black-eyed beans (black-eyed beans don’t require soaking)
1 medium or large onion, sliced (I used a large onion)
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large stick celery, chopped
1 full cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon turmeric
2 small sticks of cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2½ cups water – 450 ml
Salt & black pepper

Method

1.    Put the beans in a saucepan, rinse and add 2 cups of water. Bring to boil, lower heat to lowest, cover with lid and simmer gently for about 40-45 minutes until cooked – don’t strain
2.    While the beans are cooking, fry onion and cinnamon sticks in olive oil until golden
3.    Add celery, parsley and turmeric and fry for 3-4 minutes to release flavours

Blackeyed bean soup

4.    Add cooked beans with the liquid and 2½ cups (450ml) water, salt and black pepper
5.    Bring to boil, cover and lower heat to lowest and simmer for about 20-25 minutes
6.    Check how thick you would like the soup – if too thick, add some more water and simmer for further 7-10 minutes. The soup in the picture is what mine looked like using 450mls of water

I serve mine with a slice of lemon or a dollop of natural yogurt like Sojade available at As Nature Intended, Planet Organic and Wholefoods or online

 

22Jul/14

Tomato soup with cashew cream

Tomato soup with cashew cream

Summer is here and luscious tomatoes on the vine are freely available at a reasonable price  and once again I found myself eyeballing a very alluring ripe bunch glowing in the wicker basket on my kitchen table.  Brought back memories of my Mum buying kilos of plum tomatoes in season and announcing she was going to cook Ash-e-Tamate the next day!  Everyone in our house loves this Ash – it’s a Persian thick tomato soup dominated by a couple of kilos of ripe, juicy tomatoes, thickened with rice and lentils and flavoured with dried mint and a few fresh leaves torn into it last minute, if available.  We ate it with nan flat bread and a dollop of yoghurt and spring onions, cucumber and lettuce and any other green we could dig out from the salad drawer in the fridge.   Some of us would forego breakfast in an attempt to be really hungry for the treat awaiting us lunch time – a step too far but no-one wanted to be less than ravenous when the clock struck one! 

I’ve adapted it a little by using red/orange lentil which cooks quicker – my mother used chana dal.  I have also added a red pepper and find it works really well.  My mother would have approved and perhaps used red pepper herself but I am sure at the time there weren’t any available in that part of the world.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do and did – doesn’t take long and ingredients and preparation are very quick and simple.

Ingredients

1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large tomatoes, chopped (approximately 650-700 grams)
1 small red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 tablespoon white rice
1 tablespoon red/orange lentil
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried mint
Salt and ground black pepper
3 cups water, about 500ml

Method

  1. Gently saute the onions in oil for 4 minutes until translucent
  2. Add all other ingredients except mint
  3. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer covered for about 40 minutes until lentils and rice are cooked
  4. Blend until smooth in blender
  5. Add dried mint

Tip: if you prefer a thicker soup add a little less water

Cashew cream

Ingredients

½ cup unsalted cashews soaked in boiling water for 1 hour or 4-6 hours in cold water
4 tablespoons natural unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (I use Sojade available from As Nature Intended and Wholefoods)
Pinch of salt

Method

Blend to a smooth cream and add a dollop to the soup before serving

Tip: If you prefer a sour cream, add a little lemon juice

06Jul/14

Spicy carrot soup

Spicy carrot soup(1)

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love carrot soup, even those who don’t like carrots!  I’ve had a go at spicing it up a bit and thickening it with orange lentils. I like using lentils or beans wherever I can as it not only adds to the flavour, it boosts the nutrition value of the dish which is important.  I think it works; the gentle fragrance of carrots wafts through the earthy layer of lentils in sweet harmony.  It is not overly spiced – just a little cumin and coriander.  I had that bowl in the picture for lunch and John gobbled the rest in a large large bowl (just like Daddy Bear) with some herb fougasse I also managed to fit in yesterday.  The herbs in the fougasse sat very comfortably with the spices in the soup and I think I will repeat this duo very soon as I’ve frozen half of the fougasse and all I need to do is put the soup on and voila, a meal fit for a king (and queen of course). 

4-5 servings

Ingredients

3 tablespoons orange lentils
3 large carrots, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
3 large cloves garlic, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1½ teaspoons whole cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Few fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Lemon

Method

  1. Gently fry onion, garlic and cumin seeds in oil for about 3-4 minutes – don’t brown the onion
  2. Take off heat and add turmeric, coriander powder and carrots – fry on low for 2 minutes
  3. Add washed lentils, tomatoes, soy sauce and water
  4. Bring to boil, lower heat, cover the pan and simmer gently for about 35-40 minutes until lentils are cooked. The soup should now be thickish – if not, reduce by boiling for a few more minutes
  5. Check for salt and add if required.
  6. Put in blender and blitz until smooth
  7. Grind a little black pepper and add coriander leaves and serve with a slice of lemon
  8. Serve with my herb fougasse
11Jun/14

Potato, squash & sweetcorn soup

This soup simply “happened” – a small piece of squash was very rapidly getting close to its sell by date and I can’t bear waste – something had to be done and done in a hurry!  A potato and tin of sweetcorn came to the rescue and the result was this delicious soup, its flavour enhanced when luckily dainty tarragon volunteered to join in to save the day at the very last minute, phew!  Do let me have your comments – enjoy!

Potato, squash, sweetcorn chowder(2)

2 good servings

Ingredients

2 medium potatoes (about 200 grams peeled) peeled and diced
Butternut squash (about 200 grams peeled) – use about the same quantity as potatoes
Sweetcorn (80 grams – about half a small tin)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cumin powder
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups water
1 teaspoon dried tarragon

Method

  1. Gently sauté onions in the oil until edges beginning to turn golden
  2. Add garlic, potatoes, squash, turmeric and cumin powder and fry gently for a further 3-4 minutes to bring out the flavour of the veggies and spices
  3. Add sweetcorn, salt & pepper and 3 cups of water. Bring to boil and turn down heat and simmer for about 35-40 minutes until vegetables are cooked
  4. Sprinkle tarragon, stir and serve
07Jun/14

Avocado & pistachio soup

Avocado, pistachio & dill soup

I posted an avocado soup recipe a short while ago and used cashews to thicken and watercress for flavour… it turned out okay although perhaps in retrospect I should have used more watercress.  This is a variation using avocado & pistachio with dill for flavour and for me this is a better marriage –  fresh dill perfectly complementing the delicate, creamy taste of avocado – let me know what you think.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 large ripe avocado
4 tablespoons unsalted pistachios
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1½ cup coconut or almond milk (unsweetened)
Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Put all ingredients in blender and blitz until smooth
  2. Add more milk if soup is too thick

 

30May/14

Avocado & cashew soup

 

Avocado, cashew & watercress soup(2)

2 servings

Ingredients

2 ripe avocados
18-20 unsalted cashews
Half small punnet watercress
2 cups coconut milk (start with 1½ cups, check consistency & adjust)
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon Worcester sauce (Biona)
Pinch of salt

Method

Blitz all the ingredients in blender.
Serve chilled

Note: I did another combination later with pistachios and dill which you may wish to try!

 

27May/14

Tomato, carrot & celery soup

Tomato, carrot & celery soup(3)

2 helpings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon orange lentils
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 stick celery, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon turmeric
3 cups water
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos (optional)
Salt & black pepper to taste (you will need very little salt if you use Bragg)
1 teaspoon dried parsley to garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Rinse lentils and put all the ingredients in a deep pot
  2. Bring to boil, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour – check for consistency, if too thick add some more water!
  3. Sprinkle dried parsley and serve (fresh parsley if you have it to hand is good too!)