Spicy Carrot and Peanut Soup with Coconut Milk


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

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.


Thai style Crunchy Cabbage and Carrot Salad


Probably the best vegan dish ever is Som Tam Jay. This is a veggie version of the papaya salad that is eaten all over Thailand but originates in Isaan in the North-East. I make many versions of this with whatever is to hand. Everything works as long as it is raw and crunchy. There also need to be toasted nuts. Be experimental and see what works. This is a raw dish and super healthy.


3 handfuls of finely sliced white cabbage
2 handfuls of coarsely grated carrot
Half of red pepper very finely sliced
A handful of toasted peanuts
Two teaspoons of the curry paste from the Penang recipe
Lime juice, soya sauce about a tablespoon of each and sugar in the right balance to suit your taste
A tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander

Add the curry paste to the liquid ingredients and add a sprinkling of sugar until the balance tastes right. Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and pour over the dressing. Keep tasting and adjusting until it tastes right to you. It should be sour, salty, sweet and spicy with no single flavour dominating.