Thai style lentil soup

Thai_LentiL_Soup

I made this soup out of  the normal ‘base’ vegetables and what I had available. Hence no fresh coriander, which I would have added at the end, if I had had some. This quantity will feed 2-3 people:

  • 2 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 1 medium carrot (sliced)
  • 1 celery stick (sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (sliced/roughly chopped)
  • 1 large chilli (green or red: cored, deseeded and chopped)
  • 2 pieces of dried lemongrass (chopped)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (crumbled)
  • 2 generous teaspoons of Thai curry paste (green or red)
  • 50g creamed coconut (the hard block sort, crumbled)
  • 200g good quality tinned of chopped tomatoes (ie 1/2 a tin)
  • 800 ml water
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (or stock cube equivalent)
  • 120g red split lentils (washed under the cold tap in a sieve)
  • 1 bundle of fine rice noodles (c. 60g)
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lime

Heat the cooking oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chilli, lemon grass and the kaffir lime leaves. Mix the ingredients well, turn down the heat and stir frequently over a lowish heat for about five minutes.

Add the curry paste, creamed coconut (crumble in), chopped tomatoes, water, stock powder and the lentils. Stir well, bring to the boil and simmer for about thirty minutes.

Blend the soup – in a liquidiser, food processor, or use a hand blender (my preference because it is so much easier to clean than a liquidiser or food processor) in the saucepan.

Break up the noodles and stir into the soup. Heat the soup until it just starts to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lime juice and grated zest. At this point the soup is very thick. You can add some cold water which will reduce the overall temperature so that it can be eaten immediately (if you are freezing it, the thick soup saves space).

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Green pea soup

This is looks good (it’s a lovely green colour) and is quick to make. Serves 2:

  • 1 tbsp oilPea_soup
  • 1/2 onion (finely sliced)
  • 2 rashers of bacon (thinly sliced – preferably unsmoked)
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • Leaves from 4 sprigs of mint (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • Lemon juice and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a largish saucepan. Add the bacon and cook (over a medium heat) for 2 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook very gently for 10 minutes.

Add the peas and the stock. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Purée the soup using a hand blender, liquidiser or a food processor. Then add the cream and heat gently to just below boiling point, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the mint, lemon juice and pepper, and serve.

Cabbage and bean soup

Another soup made from beans, root vegetables and cabbage:

  • 1 tbsp olive oilCanellini&cabbage_soup
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (chopped)
  • 3 bacon rashers (thinly sliced)
  • 1 largish potato (diced)
  • Piece of swede (same size as the potato – diced)
  • 550mls vegi stock
  • 1/2 400g tin of cannellini beans (drained)
  • 100g cavolo nero or savoy cabbage (roughly chopped, with thick stalks removed)
  • 1 tbsp basil pesto
  • Seasoning (black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice)

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the bacon and stir-fry until it just begins to brown. Turn down the heat and gently cook the onions for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, potato and swede, and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Then add the stock. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Turn up the heat and stir in the beans and cabbage, add more water (if necessary), and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the pesto and season to taste. Serve.

Spiced parsnip soup

This is a great ‘winter warmer’. I had quite a few parsnips left over from Christmas and this seemed like a good way to use them up – adapted from a Thomasina Miers recipe – enough for 2 or 3 people:

  • 3 medium parsnips (about 300g)Parsnip_Soup
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped/crushed)
  • About 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 clove
  • 1.5 tsp coriander seeds
  • A generous grating of nutmeg
  • 650ml of vegetable stock (or equivalent using cube/powder)
  • Lemon juice
  • Torn coriander leaves

Peel the parsnips and slice thinly. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, add the onions and cook gently for 6 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely grind the peppercorns, clove and coriander seeds. Stir the spice mix into the onions, and grate over the nutmeg. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the parsnips, and then add the stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for about half an hour, until the parsnips are completely soft.

Prior to serving, blend, add lemon juice to taste, and stir in the coriander leaves.

Red pepper and butternut squash soup

Redpepper&Butternut_SoupI made this with butternut squash which had previously been roasted and a red pepper which had been ‘charred’ (see below). Both processes greatly enhance the flavour of the soup.

Enough for 3:

  • 1 large red pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1/2 of a large butternut squash (previously roasted (as one piece)) and cut into small chunks
  • 150ml passata
  • 500ml water
  • 1 tsp vegi stock powder
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • Season with black pepper and lemon juice

Char the red pepper by blackening the skin all over using a gas ring (on high) or a blowtorch.  Rub off the skin in a bowl of cold water, and slice.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for five minutes. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the red pepper, the butternut squash, the passata and the water, and stir in the vegi stock powder. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes.

Take off the heat and blend (using an electric blender or a liquidiser). Stir in the double cream and heat until just boiling.

Season and serve.

Leek, potato and carrot soup

Potage_Flamande

I had some of the green ends of leeks so I made this soup which is based on an Elizabeth David recipe for Potage Flamande. Enough for 3:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 leeks (washed and sliced) – I used the equivalent in ‘green leek tops’
  • 1 carrot (sliced)
  • 1 large potato (peeled and sliced)
  • 750ml boiling water
  • 1 heaped tsp vegi-stock
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • Lemon juice and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the leek slices and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the potato and carrot slices and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Add the boiling water, and stir in the stock powder. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the cream and blend using a hand blender. Reheat until just boiling. Remove from the heat and season with lemon juice and black pepper to taste.

Serve with croutons (see final paragraph sweet potato and red pepper soup).

Tomato and celery soup

Tomato&Celery_Soup

I had some chicken stock which I’d made after boning and skinning some chicken thighs, and the end of a head of celery, so I made this soup. Enough for 3:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • About 1/3rd of a head celery (washed and sliced)
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 750ml chicken stock (the real thing, or a cube etc)
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • Lemon juice and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the celery and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the cream and blend using a hand blender. Reheat until just boiling. Remove from the heat and season with lemon juice and black pepper to taste.

Serve with croutons (see final paragraph sweet potato and red pepper soup).