Soup

Lentil & Potato Soup

1 cup split red lentils
4 medium floury potatoes
6+ cloves garlic
1 onion
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons coriander powder
½ teaspoon mango powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
salt, to taste

Put the lentils into a large bowl and rinse several times in cold water, until it runs relatively clear. Drain and set aside. Peel, dice and rinse the potatoes and put them in the bowl. Peel the garlic, and leave whole.

Peel and finely dice the onion. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and fry the onion until golden-brown. Add the spices and fry until fragrant.

Add the lentils, potatoes and garlic with enough water to barely cover them. Reduce heat and simmer until soft. Mash the soup with a potato masher to combine and smooth it. If it’s too thick, add more water. Add salt to taste, then serve with crusty bread.

Minestrone

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced waxy potatoes
2 cups diced zucchini
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
4 cups vegetable stock or 2 stock cubes dissolved in 4 cups water
1 400g can crushed tomatoes
1 400g can cannellini or borlotti beans
1 cup small pasta shapes
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
garlic croutons for serving (see note)

Note: To make your own crunchy croutons, take a pita round and dice it. Warm a splash of oil in a pan, and add some peeled, halved garlic cloves. Let them get golden-brown and remove. Add the pita bits and fry until golden-brown. Remove from heat and set aside to use on your soup.

Dice the onion, and prepare the other vegetables. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pot. Sauté the onion for a few minutes. Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes more. Repeat with the potatoes, zucchini, then the cabbage.

Add the vegetable stock to the pot. Pour in the tomatoes. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft; about 30 minutes.

Season to taste, then add the beans and pasta. Simmer until the pasta is done, adding water if/when necessary. Remove from heat.

Spoon into bowls, add a sprinkle of grated cheese if desired, and top with croutons.

Pumpkin & Leek Soup

2 tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic
1 red onion
1 leek
1 medium buttercup pumpkin (about 1½ kg)
salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon crushed ginger
smoked paprika to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
grated parmesan (optional)

Finely dice garlic and onion. Cut the leek in half lengthways, then slice into 5mm widths. Warm the oil over medium heat in a large heavy-based pot. Sweat the garlic, onion and leek until soft and fragrant. Stir in the crushed ginger.

Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin into wedges, scoop out the seeds and slice off the skin. Dice the pumpkin and add to the pot. Barely cover with water and lower the heat to a simmer.

Once the pumpkin is very soft, mash the soup with a potato masher. Add salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste. Sprinkle a little parmesan on top, if desired, and serve with crusty bread.

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