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 lentil stew

Lentil_Stew_Tile

I made a large batch of this, which provided:

  • 1 portion with added kale (cooked for 3 minutes in the stew);
  • 2 portions of pancakes (with 4 large pancakes, bechamel sauce, and grated parmesan; baked for about 25 minutes at 180C (Gas Mark 4);
  • 2 portions of ‘shepherds’ pie (with mashed potato); baked for about 25 minutes at 180C (Gas Mark 4).

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 large carrot (chopped)
  • 2 sticks celery (chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (cored, deseeded and chopped)
  • 150g mushrooms (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • A large pinch of dried oregano
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 120g green lentils
  • 400ml vegi-stock
  • Black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Stir in the onion, carrot, celery and red pepper, and cook gently for 10 minutes. Turn up the heat, and stir in the mushrooms and garlic, and stir-cook for two minutes.

Stir in the oregano, tomatoes, lentils and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are cooked. Season with black pepper to taste.

If not all used immediately, allow to cool and store in the fridge (using within the next few days).

Barley risotto with pistachios and raisins

Why do we call barley, cooked with vegetables, meat etc, ‘risotto’, when clearly ‘risotto’ refers to rice in Italian? Maybe it’s because ‘barley’ translates as ‘orzo’ in Italian, which the English speaking foodie world expects to be a very small version of pasta (made from durum wheat), which I have always seen described as ‘rice-like’. I think that probably answers the question!

This recipe is an adaptation of one appearing in the Guardian Cook Supplement on 31 January 2015. Enough for 3 people:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)Barley_pistachio&raisin_risotto
  • 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds (toasted)
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds (toasted)
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds (toasted)
  • 200g pot barley
  • 1000ml vegi stock
  • Juice and zest of 1 small unwaxed lemon
  • Small bunch mint and parsley (chopped)
  • 3 tbsp pistachios (toasted and roughly chopped)
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • Black pepper to taste

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp tahini (mixed with 1 tbsp water until smooth)
  • 60g yogurt
  • A pinch of sumac
  • ½ tsp harissa

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the seeds and cook for 1 minute. Turn down the heat and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the barley. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 50 minutes until the barley is ‘al dente’ (add more water during the cooking, if necessary). Add the rest of the ingredients and season to taste.

Meanwhile, mix together the dressing ingredients.

Serve with roasted vegetables (I used some previously roasted butternut squash (reheated in the microwave)).

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.

Cajun rice and beans

I had half a can of red kidney beans, and most of the other ingredients, so this seemed like a good winter supper. This is another recipe adapted from Waitrose’s ‘Harvest 2015′ booklet. Enough for 4 people:

  • 1 tbsp oilCajun_rice&beans
  • 1 leek (chopped)
  • 3 tsp ‘cajun’ seasoning
  • 1 chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 courgette (roughly chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (cored, deseeded and roughly chopped)
  • 200g parsnips (peeled and diced)
  • 60g brown rice
  • 60g Camargue and wild rice
  • 160g can of sweetcorn (drained)
  • 1/2 a 400g can red kidney beans
  • 1/2 a 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml vegi stock
  • Black pepper (to taste)

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the leeks and gently cook for 5 minutes. Add the Cajun seasoning and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the courgette, red pepper, parsnip and the rice, and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Stir in the sweetcorn, the beans, the tomatoes and the stock. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for about 35 minutes until the rice is cooked (add more stock if necessary). Season with black pepper to taste.

I served mine with avocado (mashed with a little lemon juice) and grated cheddar.

Lentil and coconut dhal

This is good to eat on a cold winter’s day! Adapted from a recipe in Waitrose’s ‘Harvest 2015’ booklet. Enough for 4 people:

  • 1 tbsp oilLentil&Coconut_Dhal (2)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 3cm cube of ginger (finely chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 2 large carrots (diced)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 250g red split lentils
  • 160ml can of coconut cream
  • 550ml vegetable stock
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 50g chopped almonds
  • 2 large tomatoes (skinned, deseeded and chopped)
  • Torn fresh coriander
  • Lemon juice (to taste)
  • Flat breads (heated in accordance with the instructions on the packet)

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger and chilli, and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Stir in the carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the curry powder, lentils, coconut cream and the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for about 20 minutes (until the carrots and the lentils are soft). Take off the heat and roughly mash the mixture with a potato masher.

Add the peas and the chopped almonds, and gently cook for a further 5 minutes. Then stir in the tomatoes and add lemon juice to taste.

Sprinkle with coriander and serve with warm flat breads.

 

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.