Soul Glow Soup

This is by far the orangest soup I’ve ever made. It’s almost luminous. Well, it’s hardly surprising, with almost every ingredient being a sunny orange colour and then there’s a dash of turmeric to really make this glooooow.

This actually started out as a simple lentil soup, but when I opened the veg drawer to grab a leek I was completely side tracked by all the orange veg in there. That poor old leek is still in the fridge patiently waiting his turn 2 days later. Don’t worry Leeky I haven’t forgotten about you.

Anyway, this is utterly delicious, crazily good for you and ridiculously easy. You just throw all of those wholesome delights into a pan, simmer for a bit and blend.

Sure this soup looks tantalising and vibrant but when you taste it you’ll really feel your soul glow.

Soul Glow Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 carrots, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 120g red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 litre of stock (you may need more if you prefer a thinner soup)

Method

  • Put all of your ingredients into a large pan, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer, pop a lid on and let everything bubble away gently for about 20 minutes.
  • Keep an eye on it and add more liquid if you think it needs it.
  • Once the veg and lentils are nice and tender just blend until silky smooth and vibrantly orange.

Heart Warming Lentil Soup with Filini Pasta

As my lovely mom would say with a smirk “the nights are fair drawing in”. Well this is the perfect bowl of warming, wholesome soul filling food we could all do with at this time of year.

This soup wins gold medals in so many categories: wholesome, nutritious, warming, moreish, satisfying, simple to make and blooming delicious.

When I was in the supermarket I came across pasta called Filini from a brand called Lubella and this became the inspiration for this soup. I discovered that ‘filini’ means little threads. To my mind it resembles short pieces if vermicelli.

I’ve no idea if this is a readily available pasta, which is why I’ve suggested broken up vermicelli as an alternative for this recipe. By the same token, I have noticed over recent months that smaller local shops rarely stock vermicelli and if that’s the case for you just use noodles. The key thing here is to have some soulful, tender carbs in among this soupy beaut.

A small aside to anyone feeding younger children, huddle in now this is our little secret: if I add noodles or pasta to any soup it’s an instant hit with kids. That means they eat their veg without complaint. Sneaky.

Slice up plenty of fresh crusty bread and you’re onto a winner of a dinner.

Heart Warming Lentil Soup with Filini

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 200g mung dal lentils or red lentils
  • 2 litres of hot stock (veg, chicken or beef would all work)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 100g Cavolo Nero or kale, tough middle rib removed and chopped into fairly small bits
  • 100g filini (or vermicelli, broken into smaller pieces about 4cm long)
  • A small bunch of fresh coriander
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • In a large pan melt the butter over a medium heat. Fry the onions for about 8 minutes until soft and starting to turn golden.
  • Stir in the garlic and turmeric and cook for a further minute or so.
  • Now tip in the lentils and pour over the stock.
  • Once the stock is simmering away nicely pop a lid on your pan and just let everything bubble gently for 10 minutes.
  • At this point you can tip in the chickpeas, cavolo nero and broken up vermicelli, stir and then simmer for another 10 minutes or until the lentils and vermicelli are tender.
  • Turn out the heat and just before serving add the chopped coriander. Check the seasoning and add a little salt if you think it needs it. I’d recommend a lovely big grinding of black pepper.
  • Serve generously in your favourite bowls and feel your heart, tummy and soul light up with gratitude.

Spiced Carrot & Lentil Soup with Dukkah

I am a big fan of soup. I make it all the time, probably because it is such an easy and gratifying way to get in a big helping of vegetables.

To avoid any soupy boredom I’m always on the lookout for little ways to perk up my steaming bowls of soup. A few years ago I came across dukkah, which is now one of my favourite ways to boost a simple soup, salad or dip.

Dukkah is an Egyptian mix of nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. There are loads of different versions of this, some use pistachios, others hazelnuts. I’ve tried one with fennel seeds and another with coconut.

I tend to stick with this version, however, as I usually have the ingredients in the cupboard. The thing is you can adapt this to suit the nuts and seeds that you happen to have at home and in doing so invent your own unique mixture.

I believe the North Africans grind up this delicious treat to serve with oil as a dip with flatbreads and veg. You could even scatter it atop a delicious houmous for some welcome crunchy texture.

I should probably have dedicated this whole post to dukkah but let’s not forget the soup here. Lightly spiced, silky smooth with a gently sweetness from the carrots this is truly scrumptious in its own right. But scatter over your freshly roasted dukkah and you have a dish worthy of a place in the soup hall of fame.

Spiced CArrot & Lentil Soup with Dukkah

INGREDIENTS

For the soup

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 600g carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • About 2cm of fresh ginger, chopped or grated
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 3 generous handfuls of red lentils
  • 2 stock cubes – make up 1 litre of hot stock

For the Dukkah

  • 40g almonds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A pinch of thyme

Method

  1. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in your pan and fry the onion, carrots, garlic, ginger and spices gently for about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
  • Tip in the lentils, pour over the hot stock and simmer, with a lid on your pan, for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally. If, during cooking, your soup looks a bit dry just add more water or stock.
  • Once the carrots and lentils are nice and tender, blend the soup until beautifully smooth.
  • Meanwhile, heat your oven to gas 4 / 180C.  Spread your nutty seed mix on a baking tray and roast for about 8 minutes.  Keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn and be sure to give the pan a shake half way through.
  • Remove the Dukkah from the oven and sprinkle over 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • Now you simply want to break down the nuts a little.  So you can either bash in a pestle and mortar, grind in a blender or just give it all a rough chop on a chopping board.  Just be careful not to over process it as the nuts will release their oil and the mix will turn into a paste.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and liberally scatter the Dukkah over each bowl before diving in to this taste sensation.

Smoked Haddock Chowder

I’d say this is a perfect healthy weekend lunch, it’s light yet substantial at the same time. I like to serve this simply with lots of buttered wholemeal bread.

This simple dish is lighter than your average chowder as you don’t need to fry the onions and the tasty base is made up of chicken stock and a little milk, rather than heavy, high calorie cream.

This was the first time I made this with smoked haddock and it was marvelous. In the past I’ve made this with a couple of packets of smoked salmon or trout, which I chopped up before warming through in the chowder.

Smoked Haddock Chowder Recipe

Serves 4 – 5

Ingredients

  • A bunch of spring onions, ends trimmed off and sliced fairly finely
  • 600g of potatoes, peeled and chopped into nice bite sized pieces
  • 900ml chicken (or veg) stock
  • 250g smoked haddock, chopped
  • 2 handfuls (about 75g) frozen peas
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 1 lemon

Method

  • Pop your onions, potatoes and chicken stock into a large pan and simmer for 6 – 7 minutes, with a lid on.
  • Now add your haddock pieces and the zest of the lemon. Turn the heat down and simmer really gently for 5 minutes.
  • Chuck in your peas and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the potatoes and fish are cooked through.
  • Pour in the milk and continue to heat very gently until the chowder is just warmed through.
  • At this point you could add the juice from the lemon, or if it’s lemony enough for you just pop the zested lemon in the fridge and save it for some other lemony delight.