Roasted carrot, red lentil and blood orange soup

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So the book’s been officially on sale for a week now, and amazingly has sold out not once, but twice already on Amazon, which has been pretty surreal to say the least.

It’s been a total honour to work with such an excellent team, and I’d like to give a massive great thanks to Rosemary Scoular, Wendy Millyard and everyone at Kyle. A huge thank you to Aaron Blecha and Nicky Collings who designed the book and also gave this blog its rather cracking makeover. A special shout out goes to the brilliant Chris Terry for the awesome photos and of course to Joe, for making me look vaguely human despite being 8 months up the duff in the photostories.

If you’re interested, here’s what the Metro had to say about it, and even the Mail online voted it their food book of the week which was unexpected. I had a chat with Robert Elms about it on BBC LDN, and to my enormous surprise made the ‘British Bangladeshi Power 100‘  list which left me completely gobsmacked and very happy indeed.

Blah blah blah blah me me me me. Just buy my book, ok?

Anyway here’s a nice recipe for some soup.

roasted carrot, red lentil and blood orange soup

750g carrots, peeled and chopped into big hunks

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. cumin seeds

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

150g red lentils

500ml chicken or vegetable stock

salt

cheese rind (optional)

the juice and zest of 3 blood oranges,

a big fistful of chopped parsley

method

  • in a roasting dish, toss the carrots in half the shallots, 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes at 160C.
  • Heat the remaining olive oil in a saucepan and sprinkle in the cumin seeds. Once they release their fragrance add the second shallot, garlic and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Tip in the red lentils and stir well for a couple of minutes. Pour in the stock and cheese rind if using.
  • After about 30 minutes or when the lentils are tender add the roasted carrots and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  • Add the blood orange zest and juice and more salt if necessary. Remove the cheese rind an blend until smooth and stir in the parsley.

roasted pumpkin mulligatawny

It seems that the whole world and his wife have been struck down by the sniffles. Everyone I talk to sounds a bit bunged up, slightly red around the eyes and just a little bit blue. After working our way through some pretty vile cold powders, mugs of hot honey, lemon and ginger and inhaling endless bowls of steaming Vicks; it was this comforting soup,  that finally put paid to monsieur lurgy. Sweet, spicy and ambrosial on the throat, this makes an immense tureen. Perfect for squirreling away freezer-friendly stashes ready for the next onslaught.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

850g pumpkin, hacked into chunks

270g parsnip, peeled and chopped into chunks

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. cumin seeds

2 tbsp. olive oil

35g butter

1 tsp. salt

1 large onion, finely chopped

75g ginger, peeled and finely chopped

150g brown basmati rice

145g/2 medium carrots, diced

110g celery sticks, diced

250g eating apples

4 green cardamom pods

1 tsp. turmeric

500ml chicken stock

400ml coconut milk

400g tinned tomatoes

2 tbsp. mango chutney

2 tbsp. fresh coriander

A big squeeze of lemon juice

black pepper

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. In a shallow roasting tray toss the pumpkin and parsnip chunks with the garlic, curry powder, cumin, salt and half the olive oil. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until tender and charred in places.
  • In a large saucepan heat the butter and remaining oil. Fry the onion and ginger for about 10 minutes over a low heat. Add the rice, carrots, celery, apple, cardamom and turmeric and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes or until everything is well cooked.
  • Mash in the roasted pumpkin and parsnip along with the tempered oil from the roasting pan.
  • Pour in the stock, coconut milk, tinned tomatoes and adjust seasoning to taste. Simmer until the rice is tender.
  • Stir in the chutney and lemon juice. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with the fresh coriander and lots of black pepper.

chilled spinach, avocado and pea soup with crab salsa

If like me, you managed to OD on  mini-eggs and treacle tart over the weekend, you might be thinking about injecting something a little bit healthier into your poor, saccharine-addled body. This chilled green soup of mind-boggling goodness is just what the overworked NHS GP ordered. Verdant with veg and gorgeous supped with tomato juice ice cubes, a touch of greek yoghurt and a piquant crab salsa (don’t worry if you can’t get fresh crab, the supermarket tinned lump-meat stuff is just as good for these purposes) it’s something you can put together super-quickly after the shock of being back at the electronic coalface. Perfect for when you’re feeling a bit kitchen shy and just want to bask it up in those final rays of the day…

ingredients

for the soup

1 x 230g bag spinach leaves, washed and blitzed right down in a blender with ½ pint cold vegetable stock (I used 1 tsp Marigold powder)

2-3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2-3 spring onions, roughly chopped

1 avocado, roughly chopped

1 small clove garlic, crushed

The juice of a lime

A couple of pickled chillies

A dash of sherry/balasamic/rice/not Sarsons vinegar

1 hefty pinch of salt and a few twists of pepper

1 handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

2-3 tbsp peas (I used defrosted frozen petit pois)

For the salsa:

One tin of whole lump crab meat (or fresh if you can get it)

A red pepper, diced

½ red onion finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 red chilli, finely chopped

Juice and zest of half a lime

A glug of good olive/avocado oil

Chopped parsley/coriander

Salt and pepper

to serve

a spoonful of greek yoghurt

frozen cubes of tomato juice, or if you’re feeling a bit flash, whole mint leaves frozen in tomato juice cubes.

Method

  • Place all the soup ingredients in a blender, whizz and adjust the seasoning to taste (it develops over time, so if enjoying this straight away, I’d add a smidge more garlic, salt and/or chilli).
  • Chill in the fridge with ice cubes while you get on with the salsa.
  • Combine the salsa ingredients.
  • Serve with the chilled soup.
  • If you’re mega-organised you can make tomato ice cubes ahead of putting this together, otherwise a cold swirl of yoghurt it is. Some toasted almonds would be nice too.

Roasted Tomato Shorba


Tough day in the office? Repeatedly sneezed on during the central line rush hour? Feeling a bit sniffly? Had your favourite pair of Cheap Monday’s tsunamically and indeed deliberately drenched by some sadist in a white van? If like me you’ve recently suffered from any/all of the above then what you need is a great steaming bowl of shorba. Nothing sorts me out quite like that rich, soothing hug of a soup, alive with spices and the spiky warmth of ginger. It truly is the perfect antidote to so many of life’s woes.

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Roast Tomato Soup

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I’ve been wanting to make a roast tomato soup for ages. After some mild research I decided to go for a classic combination of Gordon Ramsay’s (Secrets) and Delia’s (Vegetarian Collection), but with more emphasis on Gordon’s for ingredients and Delia’s for technique, with a few added touches of my own. I added a splash of Tempranillo to the soup rather than Balsamic vinegar and lemon thyme instead of basil. I found that Gordon’s roasting time left the tomatoes looking a bit “raw” so I turned the heat down to 190°C and left them in there for an hour. I also mixed Woodsmoke BBQ sauce with the water I used to re-hydrate the sundried tomatoes. I didn’t have olive oil so used a mixture of flax seed and rice bran oils instead. Finally I had a tiny bit of tomato vinegar in the back of the cupboard so trickled this in to serve.

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Miso Vegetable Soup

This is the simplest soup ever. Add whatever vegetables you have knocking around, I find carrots, spinach and mushrooms work well. The only essentials are seaweed and the spring onion. I like to have this for breakfast with a fruit salad, or if I’m feeling particularly virtuous for supper with steamed brown rice, furikake and a tamagoyaki omelette.  Although it’s not strictly authentic, I find a drop of rice vinegar adds the most delicious tang to to the salty broth. The miso paste and dashi can be bought online or from Chinese and Japanese food shops and once you have them they last for ages so it’s well worth investing in decent quality miso, i.e. with a minimum of ingredients. The one in my fridge only contains rice, salt and soyabeans.

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Tomato Rasam

Whenever I was ill as a child my mother would make me a big steaming bowl of this. She would also inexplicably give me Lucozade, but it was the 80′s I suppose. Sometimes I find myself craving this spicy, tangy broth. Adding soaked mung beans makes for a more substantial dish.


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Spinach and Yoghurt Dahl

Made using the same spicing used in tradition meat curries, this is so delicious it’s hard to believe how very very good for you it is. It’s definitely worth toasting and grinding the spices yourself as it adds a depth and complexity to the finished results.

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Proper 5 Hour French Onion Soup

 
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This is the real thing, perfect for a lazy rainy Saturday when you have the necessary 5 hours or so to cook the onions down into a deeply savoury caramelised mess. It’s definitely worth making your own stock for this as it makes all the difference to the final result, so really it can take up to two days to make.
 
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