Keeping Warm – Soups Rule OK

We couldn’t resist any longer – our Christmas tableau is up! Jack has cleverly caught that wonky Amsterdam tall house style. There is nothing for it, we can no longer escape, the season is upon us! We also made some glittery play dough to give out as presents and to make and bake shiny stars! Our Food Forum have many seasonal recipes to share – and we are having loads of fun pawing over the fabulous Plenty Cookbook, an absolute triumph of deliciousness by the wonderful Yotam Otteonghi – now that would make a lovely stocking filler for a new cook or a keen cook!

Our challenge last week was to cater for a school winter fair. We expected 600 + but actually it was more like 1000+ As you can imagine we felt this to be quite daunting especially as we were keen to make our food as home-cooked and wholesome as possible. And of course we wanted to make it fairly simple too! So, we decided on a time-tested favourite, known to some as my “Friday Night Soup”, featured in the Independent Age Cookbook and liked by most everybody (adult and child) we have ever met. It was a real winner and while the ploughmans were admired, the wraps pretty popular, the apple-berry strudel, scones and mince pies enjoyed, it was the soup that really was the star. And it’s simple, simple, simple.

Hearty, filling, Friday Night SoupFriday Night Soup

(serves 4-6)

1 can of good tomatoes (we like S&W found at Kellys and in the covered market)

1 good organic stock cube

1 teaspoon channa masala spice mix (found at Asian stores – It’s a mixture of cummin, garam masala, tumeric, garlic, ginger etc) or use your own favourite spice mix.

1 and a half cups of red lentils (actually they are orange coloured really)

1 litre of V8 juice or tomato juice or water

1 large onion chopped finely and 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Fry onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add in spice mix and fry until fragrant. Mix stock cube with 2 cups of hot water and add with red lentils. Add in tinned tomatoes and simmer until lentils are soft (about 10 minutes). Make sure the soup doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pot. Add V8 until you get a reasonably thick soup. Season to taste, you may like to add more spices here and a little Thai Chilie Sauce. Serve piping hot with lashings of grated cheese, sour cream, corn chips and chopped coriander, parsley or chives.

As I said to our 500 + customers last Saturday I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like this soup! I did offer them a money back guarantee, none returned for a refund but many asked for the recipe, so here it is. Please share with friends and family. And did you notice, there was nary a hotdog or packet of crisps in sight! Didn’t we do well!

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