Turn the temperature up with winter warming soups.

Mulligatawny with Peshwari Naan

Turn the temperature up with this smooth and gorgeous Mulligatawny

When its cold outside is there anything more comforting than a big bowl of warming, nourishing soup?  Here are two very different vegetable based soups, a chunky Carrot and Chickpea soup that couldn’t be more simple to make and a versatile Mulligatawny. Both are meals in themselves and have the added advantage of being suitable for vegetarians and vegans, as well as being gluten free and adaptable for lactose intolerance.  Both  soups use herbs and  spices with natural health benefits helping to build defences against winter ‘bugs’.

Chunky Carrot and Chickpea Soup with Fresh Turmeric and Ras el Hanout

Serve 4 hungry people

 

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Flavoursome and nourishing Chunky Carrot and Chickpea Soup – serve simply with bread and butter.

This recipe materialised as a result of one of those – ‘I haven’t anything to eat and cant be bothered to go shopping moments’.  Scrounging in the bottom of the fridge I  found  the remains of a bag of carrots and few fresh turmeric rhizomes; in the vegetable basket a couple of onions and potatoes along with a wrinkled looking piece of ginger; and in the store cupboard a tin of chickpeas. Half an hour later a delicious and warming soup was on the table.

 Ras el hanout is a staple of our spice cupboard, it is a North African  blend of 14-15 fragrant spices., usually associated with preparing Tagine style dishes. It peps up this soup a treat.

Turmeric is one of natures healers – containing  natural anti inflammatory and anti bacterial agents. It has a unique earthy taste that works very well with the sweet carrots and gives the soup an attractive deep colour.  It happens to be one of my  favourite spices. Fresh turmeric rhizomes are usually available in the fresh herb section of most supermarkets.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion – or leek (whichever you have to hand), peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced

4cm piece of fresh turmeric, chopped (you can omit this or use 1 teaspoon dried turmeric instead)

1 teaspoon Ras el hanout spice blend

2 medium or 3 small potatoes

600g carrots, peeled and chopped

1 x 450g tin drained chickpeas

1-1.5 litres boiling water

2 teaspoons marigold stock powder

a few twists of freshly ground black pepper

12g fresh parsley , chopped, and lemon wedges to serve

Method:

You don’t need to do anything other than roughly chop the vegetables for this soup as it is going to be partially blitzed before serving.

Heat the oil in 4-5 litre pan and gently cook the onions, garlic and ginger  and cook gently for a few minutes until the onion is soft and the garlic and ginger are fragrant. Add in the ras el hanout and stir to mix. Tip in the chopped carrots, potatoes and drained chickpeas, stirring well to coat in the flavoured oils and cook for a few minutes further with the lid on the pan.

Pour over enough water to just cover the vegetables. Its always best to err on the side of caution as you can always add more to adjust the consistency before serving. Stir in the stock powder and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper.

Bring the soup to a simmer and with the lid on bubble gently for 15-20 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are both soft.

Remove form the heat and blitz a few times with a stick blender or mash with a potato masher until the soup is thick and still has a chunky consistency.

Adjust the consistency with additional boiling water and the seasoning. instead of extra salt, a spritz of fresh lemon juice is perfect for brining out the flavours.

Serve with dark malted bread, a winter slaw such as:

Summer Red Cabbage Slaw with a Raspberry Vinaigrette Chicory, orange and watercress  (don’t mind that is says summer this salad is delicious at any time of the year).

salad with a toasted walnut pesto

A Tuscan Superfood Salad

 

Mulligatawny Soup

Serves 4 as a meal or fills 15-18 demitasse cups

 

Mulligatawny served with a lime and pinkpeppercorn creme

This versatile Mulligatawny soup can be served as a meal in itself with warm Peshawari Naan (picture above) or as part of a canapé selection in elegant demitasse cups, topped with a lime and pink peppercorn crème

Mulligatawny has many variants – some contain apple, others meat. A pepper water soup that British colonialists hijacked, turning it into a trendy ‘curry soup’. As with many curry dishes the British usually added a sweetener such as apple to diminish the all pervasive chilli with apples. This soup is closer to the original Madras dish as it is vegetarian.  Take care with the typed of Madras curry powder that you use as some of it can be hot and overpowering.  You can of course make your own Madras spice blend and there are many recipes available on-line. I particularly like Michelle Peters-Jones recipe posted on Food52.

Curry leaves are not that easy to come by but when you do find them in Asian food stores its worth buying a couple of bags. pop the bags of fresh leaves straight into the freeze. the leaves fall from the stalks and you simply pick out the number required and use them as instructed in the recipe. They add a mild bitterness that helps to balance the flavours.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons orange lentils

2 tablespoons  split yellow peas

1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil (or olive oil)

5cm piece cinnamon bark

1 small onion, sliced

2.5cm piece ginger, sliced or grated

3 cloves garlic, sliced

200g tomatoes, coarsely chopped

100g potatoes, thickly diced (1 medium or two small)

1 carrot, diced

10-12 fresh curry leaves

1 tablespoon Madras curry powder or

500ml unsalted vegetable stock

1x 450g tin coconut milk

A good pinch of salt and 1white pepper

To serve – Fresh coriander and lime wedges

Lime and pink peppercorn crème

200ml full fat crème fraiche

zest 1 lime

1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, lightly crushed

Method:

Heat the butter in a casserole and add the cinnamon bark. Once you can smell the cinnamon add the onions and sauté until soft but not coloured.

Add the ginger, garlic, lentils, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, curry leaves and madras curry powder and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are soft.

Cool slightly and liquidize to a fine puree, return the puree to a clean pan.

Stir in the coconut milk. Add white pepper to season and reheat gently to serve.

To make the lime and pink peppercorn crème, simple mix the ingredients gently together and pop a spoonful on top of each full bowl of soup when serving .

Serve the soup with freshly warmed Naan bread and a fresh Indian chutney. Beetroot Curry served with Coconut Lime Chutney

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