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hale and hearty

January 16, 2013

My children are funny about soup. I remember proffering Heinz cream of tomato –  a soup that rekindles many fond childhood memories for me – only to be rudely rebuffed.  I’m sure  fear of soups is quite natural when you are small – maybe it suggests that you aren’t going to be allowed to eat grown up food with a knife and fork, but be forever consigned to eating savoury food with a childish implement (a spoon)  – perhaps this is the root of Halo’s fear of soup, and why Boo’s oldest used to cry when he knew they were having soup. It’s OK when you’re old enough to realise that soup is an option, not a sentence, but until then…

And there are times when soups useful – such as when it’s cold and you have all kinds of things that need eating up, and when you’re a student and the bread’s too stale for sandwiches.

Standby simple soup. Serves 5 as long as you have some bread to dip in to it.

Ingredients: 1 cup red lentils, washed and soaked in cold water if you have time. It’s not essential but it cuts down on the cooking time if you do. Vegetables: I use whatever there is, but you will need at least: 1 onion finely chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, 1 tin or carton of tomatoes in juice (or as many past their best fresh tomatoes as you want to get rid of but at least 6). It’s good if you have a large leek, a parsnip and a couple of carrots, but you can substitute them with cauliflower, mushrooms, broccoli, celery, turnips (as if) etc.

Cabbage isn’t great in a soup like this, nor are peppers, but past its best fruit, especially apples, satsumas and oranges are particularly good.

Chop up your vegetables small, put the garlic and the onions into a large pan with a tablespoon of oil and simmer until the onion is looking translucent  Add the washed lentils, but not the water and stir. soup3Add the leeks, parsnip, carrots ( or cauliflower, celery etc) and an apple and stir well.

Cook with a lid on stirring occasionally for 10 minutes on a low heat. Add a carton or tin of tomatoes – mine was 350 ml – and then fill the carton up with water and empty this into the pan. Do this twice. Bring the lot to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes at least. soup2

Add a teaspoon of salt. A teaspoon of mixed herbs and a teaspoon of ground black pepper is good too, stir and taste. If you have any cream in the fridge that needs eating  – or houmous if it needs to be vegan – you could throw it in now.

Bring to the boil briefly again and then it’s ready to eat. You can liquidise it and make it smooth (you may need to add a bit more water if so) or eat it lumpy – or you could mash it with a potato masher and have a happy medium. Nice with a bit of cheese on top. Good with a hard boiled egg thrown in. Serve with toast.soup1

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 16, 2013 10:50 pm

    On a cold snowy day like today, this sounds delicious.

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