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August 13, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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At this point in time it feels like it has been winter forever and will be winter forever. About the only thing you can do at this stage to make yourself feel better is… make a pot of soup. Vege soup of course, cannot be overlooked – get a packet of Kings hearty soup mix (it is basically a bag of various lentils and beans which you could assemble yourself but not with this amount of ease), chop up some celery, carrots, potato, and boil away in a large pot full of water until everything is softened and cooked through. If you have a crock pot, you are away laughing – just bung everything in and leave it overnight on a low setting. I have two further soup recipes which require a little more effort and ingredients but have the virtue of being fast – and healthy to boot. Once you have tried these, you’ll never go back to the additive-laden cup-a-soup packets. (Hopefully.)

Parsnip Soup

This is a recipe I adapted from the Canvas section of the Weekend Herald. The parsnip chopping is probably the most time consuming part of the whole thing.

2 parsnips, diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
20g butter
4 cups chicken stock

Melt the butter in a good sized pot and add the vegetables. Keep it on a fairly low heat so that everything keeps golden and soft. After about 10 minutes – stirring occasionally – add the stock, bring to the boil and then let simmer for 10-20 minutes or until the veges are tender. Then, blitz in a blender or food processor, reheat gently and serve.

Spicy Lentil Soup

I realise this title is hardly enticing, but lentils will probably always sound unappealing. I mean frankly, this soup doesn’t even look that appetising. Luckily, it tastes fantastic. I have adapted it from an Alison Holst recipe, and while the woman’s earnestness and blandness irritates me immensely, she is definitely on to a winner with this. And, okay, cumin and fennel seeds cost a few bob but on the upside lentils are super cheap.

1 T oil
1 T cumin seeds
1 T fennel seeds
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup red lentils

Heat the oil in a pot and gently fry the onion, spices and garlic for two minutes. Tip in the lentils, then add 2 1⁄2 cups water. Let this mixture simmer away for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have lost their red colour and the whole thing is starting to look like a thick yellow soup. Add salt and pepper if you wish and ladle into bowls.

Don’t forget to check out the recipe archives at if you are interested in any of my back issue food articles.

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