Vegetable and Almond Soup

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This is a great soup for using up leftover raw vegetables at the end of the week. The addition of the ground almonds makes it rich and satisying. You can vary the veg you use depending on what you have but try to include some squash, sweet potato or parsnip as this adds to the flavour.

Makes a large pot
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking 75-90 minutes

Ingredients
Half a head of broccoli chopped
Half a small pumpkin chopped
6 small baby potatoes cut in half
2 handfuls of french beans chopped
2-3 handfuls of chopped carrots
A large onion chopped
1 courgette chopped
3 medium tomatoes blended with 2 cloves of garlic
A handful of pearl barley
a litre of boiling water
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme or other herbs
a teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 large vegetable stock cubes
2 tablespoons of ground almonds
Chilli flakes and toasted cumon seeds to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients except the almonds, garnish and seasoning in a large pan. Bring to the boil and simmer on a low light with the lid on for about 75-90 minutes until the vegetables are very soft and starting to break up a little. Take 4-5 ladles full of the soup and blend before returning back to the pan. Add the ground almonds and season.

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Spicy Carrot and Peanut Soup with Coconut Milk

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It started to feel a little autumnal this morning and it was slightly chilly indoors, making me want to eat something warming. This soup has Asian influences but also reminds me of Africa where lots of peanuts are grown. This could be made with pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato, all of which would be delicious. As this is a blended soup, you do not have the chop the ingredients small and this saves on preparation time. I used pearl barley to thicken this but you could add red split lentils instead.

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes

Ingredients
3 medium carrot coarsely chopped
Two large shallots coarsely chopped
A clove of garlic chopped
750ml of boiling water
Two vegetable stock cubes
A large handful of pearl barley
100ml coconut milk
A handful of toasted peanuts finely ground
A handful of fresh coriander chopped
Half a teaspoon of cumin seeds
Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the carrots, shallots, garlic, cumin, chilli, water, barley and stock cubes into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes until the carrots are soft and the barley is cooked. Add the coconut milk, half of the coriander and a dessertspoonful of the ground nuts and cook for a further minute. Blend the soup. Serve in a bowl garnished with more coriander, ground nuts and chilli flakes.

Roasted Corn and Pepper Salad with Black Beans

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Yesterday, my friend Claudia gave me some fresh, green peppers of the pointy variety (like large chillis). We don’t have a special word for these in the UK. We had the peppers barbecued last night while sitting in her garden, under a huge walnut tree, in idyllic surroundings, yet right in the centre of Berlin.

I already had some fresh corn in the fridge as well as the coriander and a tin of black beans in the cupboard so it was easy to throw this together.

This is a complete meal but would also go well inside a tortilla with some guacamole or pumpkin hummus. You could also add fried slices of tofu or toasted peanuts for a crunch.

Serves 6 as a side dish or 2 as a main course
Preparation time 12 minutes. Cooking time 30-40 minutes

Ingredients
2 green peppers or 3 large, green chilli peppers
2 whole corns on the cob
A tin of black beans well rinsed
6 cherry tomatoes halved
4 spring onions (scallions) finely sliced
Plenty of chopped fresh coriander, mint and basil
A tablespoon of olive oil and lemon salad dressing
A small red chilli chopped very finely
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place the corn and peppers in an oven-proof dish and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. The peppers should be very soft with the skin starting to char. Leave to cool. Remove the corn from the
cobs and place in a large bowl. Chop the peppers roughly and add to the corn with the beans, tomatoes and onions. Stir in 2 handfuls of the mixed, fresh herbs and drizzle over the dressing. Add the chilli and stir well. Season to taste. Place in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.