Lentil Soup with Ginger and Spring Onion

The stir-fry that never happened.

Put one red onion, 2 bunches of spring onions (save just one spring onion for the garnish later), 5 peeled carrots, a 3″ piece of peeled ginger and 2 cloves of garlic into the processor.  Skoosh up until small, but not mushed.

Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan, add the vegetables and 100g red lentils and stir for one minute.

Pour in 2.5 pints of hot vegetable stock (Marigold is fine) and a bay leaf.  Pop the lid on and cook vigorously for 30-35 minutes.  Add a little more boiling water if necessary.

Garnish with spring onion and serve.

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Leek, Potato and Watercress Soup

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Are the nights drawing in yet?

Wash and chop 4-5 leeks and 6 medium-sized peeled potatoes.

Sweat them slowly in a large, lidded pan with a crushed clove of garlic and a chopped onion.  About 10 minutes is fine.  Meanwhile, boil your kettle.

Now, add half a pint of milk, a pint and a half of boiling water and 4 teaspoons of Marigold vegetable stock.  Pop the lid on and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Finally, add about 60g watercress, saving a few sprigs as a garnish.  Let this steam for about two minutes before skooshing it all up with your hand blender, adding plenty of black pepper and perhaps salt. Drop a few watercress leaves over the top.

Sweet Potato Soup with Frazzled Onions

This soup sits at that happy intersection where health, thrift and tastiness collide.

2 red onions (one for the soup, one for the frazzling)

3 leeks

3 sticks celery

3 sweet potatoes

1″ peeled, grated ginger

1 clove garlic

1 chopped green chilli

Half of a half-pint glass red lentils

A tiny pinch of cloves (not even a quarter of a teaspoon, or you’ll be sorry!)

Half a teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon paprika

2.5 pints boiling water

4 heaped teaspoons Marigold stock powder

Salt, pepper, sugar and olive oil

Prepare all of your vegetables in the usual way, but put one of your onions to one side, untouched till later.

Sweat the vegetables gently in olive oil for about 10 minutes, then add the lentils and the spices, before pouring in the boiling water.  Put a lid on, bring to the boil, and allow to boil vigorously for 10 minutes before turning it down to a simmer for the remaining 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the other red onion very finely and fry gently in a little olive oil until soft.  Now add a teaspoonful of sugar and a little salt and turn the heat up to maximum.  Let the onions stick and frazzle a little.

When the lentils are tender, whoosh up your soup with a hand blender, taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Scatter the fried onions over the top.

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Lentil Soup

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Another workaday special.  I know that Mum will be saying,”Everyone knows how to make lentil soup”, but here it is anyway.

2 onions, diced

3 carrots, peeled and roughly diced

1 potato, diced

a kettleful and a quarter of boiling water

3 teaspoons Marigold stock powder

three quarters of a mugful of red lentils

salt and pepper at the end

fresh parsley

Put it all in a pan (except for the parsley) and let it come to the boil.  Allow to bubble with a lid on for at least half an hour.

You may need to add a bit more boiling water as it thickens.

When it’s done, take it off the heat and use a hand blender to skoosh it up.  Add some salt, if necessary, and lots of black pepper.  Stir in some fresh parsley and sprinkle the rest over the top.

Tomato and Basil Soup

I know it doesn’t sound very sophisticated to use tinned tomatoes, but I’ve yet to find anyone in Darlington who has a glut of tomatoes just waiting to be roasted and zapped into a soup.  As long as you have fresh basil, it’s posh enough for a Tuesday and very tasty.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped

1 big potato and 2 carrots (or empty out your vegetable drawer, if you have sweet potatoes and celery lurking in there too), roughly diced

2 pints vegetable stock (preferably made with Marigold stock powder)

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon dried basil and fresh basil leaves

In a large pan, gently fry the onion, garlic, potato and carrot in the oil.  Keep stirring.  A little salt in this stops it from sticking.

After about 5 minutes, add the stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, dried basil and some pepper.

Put the lid on, bring to the boil, and then simmer gently for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Take out your bay leaves before popping in a handful of fresh basil leaves, then carefully whizz up with a hand blender.  Make sure you’ve taken off your white work shirt.  Safer, of course, to let it cool a bit first before blending and then reheat afterwards.

Taste it.  If you’re not impressed, add half a teaspoon of sugar or more salt.

Serve with either a couple of drops of balsamic vinegar or a trickle of double cream and a few more basil leaves.