Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
A lovely vegetarian dish I adapted from ‘The Dinner Ladies’ that can be served like a dahl alongside other curries or on it’s own like a soup. I often add a portion or two of diced white fish to cook for a minute or so just before serving to make a complete meal. It freezes well but tastes best if you add the kale (and if you’re using it, the fish) when you reheat.
4-6 kale leaves, chopped
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons concentrated tomato puree
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped or grated
2 teaspoons each ground cumin and coriander, toasted
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
pinch chilli flakes
1.5 cups red lentils
1 cup coconut milk
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
For Serving: Half bunch coriander, chopped; Lemon/lime juice
- Saute the onions, ginger and garlic over a low heat in a little olive oil stirring frequently until soft and sweet – about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Still stirring add tomato paste, cumin, coriander, tumeric, nutmeg, pepper and chilli flakes.
- Add the lentils to the onion mixture and stir through.
- Then cover with stock, tomatoes and coconut milk.
- Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes unil the lentils are completely cooked and have collapsed into a puree.
- At this stage taste for flavour. Add salt, pepper and garam masala if you wish. Now it can be frozen.
- Defrost and bring to the boil. Add the kale and the fish if using. Boil for one to two minutes.
- Just before serving add chopped coriander, some lemon or lime juice, .
Easy Summer Pea Soup
I have just been discharged from a few days in hospital. Like airlines, the food has improved!!! I so enjoyed the 200ml of soup that came with every meal that I have decided to start making a few light fresh soups that freeze so I can have a cup with each meal at home. This pea soup is an old favourite that I adapted from Robert Carrier many years ago. The ingredients are always to hand, its easy to prepare and tastes delicious.
250g(1 cup) frozen peas
1 large potato, peeled and sliced
1/2 spanish onion, sliced
4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup cream
- Put peas, potato and onion into a saucepan with 1 cup stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Cool slightly and blend with 1/2 cup of water till smooth.
- Beat egg yolks lightly with cream and add to the pureed mixture.
- Heat the remaining stock and add the puree. Stir continuously over a low heat until the soup is smooth and thick. DO NOT BRING TO THE BOIL to prevent the egg yolks curdling.
- Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Note: The puree can be frozen before adding the egg yolks, cream and extra stock. I divide the puree into 3 portions to freeze. To serve, add frozen or thawed puree portion to 1 cup chicken stock and heat. Add 3 tablespoons cream to a lightly beaten egg yolk. Mix a few tablespoons of the hot ‘pea’ mixture into the egg mixture then add to the soup. Stir over low heat till thick. Remove from heat before coming to the boil.
Liz’s Beef and Vegetable Soup for the Last of the Cooler Days
The days are warm already this year with the garden thinking that spring has arrived. However, the nights are still cool – time to enjoy my hearty homemade soup one last time before the warm spring evenings are upon us. This recipe is cobbled together from watching my mother and grandmother making soups with leftovers from the pantry and the fridge. It tastes wholesome with friends and neighbours always asking for some – it’s one of those dishes that never finishes as each day you add a little more water to top up what you ate the previous day !!!
2 pieces veal osso buco
1 cup dried Italian Soup mix – you want the mixed beans and lentils with no barley
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
3 sticks celery, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced
3 medium desiree or kestrel potatoes, peeled and sliced
mixed herbs – whatever you can find; Bay leaves, Rosemary, parsley stalks, thyme, and the light green celery leaves from the heart of the bunch of celery
1/4 cabbage, shredded
800g(2lb) can diced tomatoes
2 Beef stock cubes
4 cups water
miscellaneous vegetables from fridge to add at the end; I like sliced zuchinni and green beans
- Brown the Osso Buco in a little olive oil and butter in a large pot; Remove.
- Now saute the onions and garlic. When soft add the herbs to bloom – sautéing in oil releases far more flavour than adding the herbs to the liquid at the end.
- Add celery and carrots and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Now add the soup mix, beef stock cubes, canned tomatoes, water and the browned so buck. Bring to the boil. Turn to a low simmer. Simmer for 60 minutes.
- After 60 minutes, add the potatoes and shredded cabbage. Continue cooking for another 60 to 90minutes until the soup mix is cooked.
- Remove the osso buco. Add marrow from bones to the soup. Remove fat from the meat and shred it. Return shredded meat to the pot. The soup should be thick but if u think it needs more liquid add some now – add half cup water at a time so that you don’t end up diluting soup too much. Bring back to boil. Taste and add seasoning as required. It is best left for a day at this stage to improve flavour but of course can be eaten immediately.
- Just before serving add miscellaneous vegetables on hand; Green Beans, sliced zucchini, etc and heat. Boil for no more than one minute to keep vegetables crunchy.
- This soup can keep for up to a week if you reheat it every day. Reheat slowly so as not to burn. Add additional water if it gets to thick BUT add water when soup is hot. The soup thins up as it heats so you cannot be sure how much water is required.
- Enjoy with crusty bread.
Goulash Soup for those Cold Winter Nights
A hearty and delicious soup for even the diehard anti-soup individual. As a child my son, Sven, refused to eat soup – it was all those vegetables he abhorred. One day I found this meat based soup to convert him. It’s seriously good – try it. If you’re wanting a few more vegetables add cubed carrots at the same time as the potatoes. This soup does NOT freeze well.
Serves 6 as a meal.
1kg(2lbs) gravy beef or blade steak, trimmed and cut into 1cm(1/2 inch) cubes
2 Tablespoons paprika + 2Tablespoons extra
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 Tablespoons plain flour
1 cup dry red wine
3 onions, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2x400g (1lb) cans tomatoes
4 cups beef stock
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 cup sour cream or plain yoghurt
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
- Marinade beef cubes in 2 tablespoons of the paprika and wine in the fridge overnight.
- Heat butter in large saucepan, add onions, garlic, caraway seeds and additional 2 tablespoons paprika and salute until onions are soft.
- Add beef. Cook stirring for 5 minutes. Then add undrained crushed tomatoes and beef stock. Mix well. Bring to the boil. Reduce temperature and simmer for an hour.
- Add cubed potatoes and cook a further 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked and meat is soft.
- Just before serving blend flour into sour cream or yoghurt, and stir into soup. Cook around 5minutes till soup has thickened.
- Servie sprinkled with parsley. Yum.
Chris Shares: Butternut and Leek Soup
I am an enthusiastic cook with a particular love of everything french. This was originally a Robert Carrier recipe(does anyone remember him) that I began making around thirty years ago. Over time I changed it completely and made it my own with emphasis on interplay, and subtleties of flavours and textures. The idea is to contrast the velvety smoothness of the soup with the slight crunch of the leeks. The flavour of nutmeg should be subtle and the cayenne just enough to wonder whether it’s there or not. Sherry adds another flavour personality. The soup freezes well – defrost, the stir with a fork or whisk to recreate the consistency when reheating.
1.2 kg Butternut pumpkin. Peel & seed to 1 kg
500g (1lb) potatoes ~ 3 medium sized
2 medium onions ~430g roughly chopped
1 litre milk
¼ tsp salt or I prefer 1 tsp of Thai Fish sauce
2 cups Chicken Stock, hot
¾ tsp Nutmeg
¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper, optional
100 ml Medium Sherry
Prep: Peel & chop onions roughly. Peel & dice potatoes into 2cm chunks. Peel, seed & dice butternut into 2-3cm chunks. Note: Depending on how thinly you peel the butternut, you’ll lose around 15% of the weight when you peel & seed.
- In a large stockpot, simmer onions in butter for 5-10 mins, stirring occasionally, until softening;
- Add milk, potatoes, butternut, salt;
- Bring gently to boil and simmer 20-25 mins until vegetables are soft;
- Remove from heat and cool for a while;
- Puree with a plunger, in a blender or food processor until smooth;
- Return to pan and on medium heat and add hot chicken stock, 1-2 cups, stirring all the while.
- Add Sherry, Nutmeg & Cayenne Pepper;
- Stir for a while and adjust spices/sherry to taste.
Prep: Discard thick outer leaves. Remove top of leek, leaving about 2-4 cm of green. Wash thoroughly to remove any dirt. Cut leeks into 3-4com long pieces and julienne -halve each piece vertically and cut each piece into thin strips.
- In a separate frying pan, melt butter and on a med-low heat.
- Now “melt” the leeks until they are starting to soften, but still retain some crunchy texture – 10 mins or so.
Assemble the Soup
When ready to serve, add the leeks to the soup and stir in well. Heat and serve. Optionally, add a small dollop of cream or crème fraiche in each bowl. Don’t garnish with anything else -parsley etc – this wrecks the subtle interplay of the flavours.
Lentil Soup – Good Old Fashioned Eating
This is real winter comfort food – warm, filling and full of flavour. I used to make a pot of soup on Sunday and we would enjoy it for lunch and/or dinner throughout the week. It’s also a healthy after school snack. Just add a little water when it thickens up and you can keep going for days. Reheat over medium – not high – heat and stir frequently to ensure it does not catch at the bottom of the pot.
½ ham hock (omit if vegetarian)
1 onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
500g(1 lb) uncooked brown or puy lentils
1x800g(2 lbs) tin tomatoes, pureed
2 beef or vegetable stock cubes
6 cups water
chopped parsley to serve
- Place all ingredients in a large pot.
- Bring to boil, cover and simmer for about 1½ hours stirring from time to time.
- Add another cup of water if it becomes too thick.
- Serve garnished with parsley.
Gazpacho – A Lovely Starter for Summer Days
There is nothing quite as good as gazpacho to start to an outdoor meal on a hot evening. It’s summer time and the tomatoes have so much flavour. Based on Robert Carrier’s original recipe from the 1980’s this combines the smooth tomato based puree with the crunch of finely chopped vegetables – so good. Swirling the olive oil mixture through at the end adds a sheen to finish the soup. Do take the time to chop the vegetables very finely. I serve them on a black platter which shows the colours off to perfection. Gazpacho can also be served in shot glasses scattered with chopped vegetables as an ideal finger food for cocktail parties.
1 small clove garlic
6 large vine ripened or truss tomatoes
1 spanish onion, the purple ones
1 large green capsicum
2 lebanese cucumbers
420ml(1 pint) tomato juice
6 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon tobasco sauce
2 slices bread, diced and fried in butter to make croutons
- Blend 5 tomatoes, garlic, ½ the onion, ¼ capsicum, and 1 cucumber till very smooth. Remaining ingredients will be finely chopped and scattered on top.
- Strain and store in fridge till well chilled.
- Blend olive oil, tobasco, lemon juice and tomato juice.
- Stir into refrigerated mixture and add 1 cube ice.
- Serve cold with little bowls of finely chopped tomato, onion, capsicum, cucumber and croutons.
Pappa al Pomodoro – Tomato Soup with Attitude
A lovely starter for summer days when the tomatoes are full of flavour. Use the best quality tomatoes you can find, serve immediately and you will find this soup, with it’s pure flavours and no added liquid, is the best tomato soup you have ever tasted. This would also be a superb festive season starter for vegetarians. Serve hot or cold. Adapted from Cafe Sopra.
2kg vine ripened or truss ripe tomatoes
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch basil
125ml olive oil
1/2 loaf day old Italian Bread
40g Parmigiana Reggiano
- Cut a cross at the bottom of each tomato. Then blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 20seconds. Place in iced water.
- When cool enough to handle, remove tomato skins, cut in half – scoop seed and juice into a separate bowl. Chop tomato flesh roughly. Strain seeds and juice.
- Remove and discard crust from bread. Tear into 1 inch chunks.
- Remove basil leaves from stalks. Chop stalks finely.
- Heat olive oil over a low heat in soup pot. Add garlic and simmer for 1 minute. Do not allow garlic to colour.
- Now add tomatoes, basil, and strained juice from seeds. Simmer 15 minutes or until tomatoes are pulpy.
- Process till a puree. Reheat gently. Add see salt.
- Divide bread into bowls. Scoop over soup. Decorate with Parmigiana Reggiano. Eat immediately.
- Make as close to serving time as possible. Does not keep well – the flavour reduces considerably if made ahead of time.
Spinach and Prawn Soup
One of Bianca’s favourites. The secret to success is – do NOT cook the spinach or prawns and serve immediately. The heat of the liquid will cook the spinach and prawns almost immediately so be ready to serve a minute after you put them in… and be careful, those fresh chillies burn so wear gloves when you slice them. Serve with crusty french bread.
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 finely sliced small red chillies
½ finely sliced onion
500ml prawn stock, see below
100ml coconut milk
4 peeled uncooked king prawns, each cut into 4
4 handfuls of baby spinach
- Sauté onion, garlic, tumeric and chilli in a little oil.
- Add prawn stock and coconut milk.
- Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add spinach and prawns. Switch off heat immediately. Prawns poach rather than boil.
- Serve within 1 minute.
- Sauté prawn shells in a little oil
- Add about 600ml water, a sliced carrot, sliced onion, celery, herbs and a bay leaf
- Simmer no more than 20 minutes
- Strain and use
Stress free, Healthy and Delicious – Chilled Avocado and Orange Soup for a Spring Dinner Party
One of my little secrets. Make this as a starter for Spring or Summer dinner parties. It takes no time at all and can be made ahead of time to leave you relaxed. The soup is also perfect for a lunch.
- 2 large ripe avocados
- 300ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 300ml plain yoghurt
- sprigs of mint to decorate, optional
- Blend avocado, juice and yoghurt till smooth with a Bamix hand blender.
- It should be the consistency of thick cream – add more orange juice to thin if required.
- Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and a sprig of mint.
Sunday Night Minestrone for the Last of the Cooler Days
A hearty healthy family soup that gets better day after day. Of course this works well for lunch as well as dinner and leftovers are great for work the next day. If keeping for a few days, remember to bring soup to the boil each day to keep the bugs at bay. There are 8 generous double servings. Serve with fresh crusty bread.
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 large carrots
- 3-4 sticks celery, add chopped up baby celery leaves too
- 3 medium Pontiac or Desiree potatoes
- 2 zucchini
- 100g green beans, topped and tailed
- 250g shredded cabbage
- 2x400g tins tomatoes, chopped or pureed if the kids don’t like tomatoes
- 1x310g tin cannellini beans
- 3 beef stock cubes
- 5 cups water
- 5ml dried mixed herbs and/or 2 bay leaves, rosemary sprig, thyme sprigs, whatever herbs available in the garden
- Old Parmesan rind if you have one in the fridge.
- Fresh parsley and grated parmesan to garnish
- Using the food processor, chop onions, slice celery, carrot, potatoes and zucchini
- Heat a little oil and butter in a large pot and sauté onion
- Add remaining ingredients except green beans and cannellini beans
- Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour
- Just before serving add both green and cannellini beans and cook for a few minutes
- Serve garnished with parsley and grated parmesan