Sunday, 27 January 2008

A Hearty Soup

Since the turn of the year, I have not stopped. The demand for the Expo Chef show within schools appears to be on the increase, and with thousands of children up and down the country to teach, that means that my colleague Mark and I are running around at 100 mph.

I'm well aware that when I am like this, my creative juices within the kitchen environment don't flow as easily as I'd like them to. And that means that new recipes are few and far between. In a discussion about this last night, I realised that all I was making this year were typical family meals; meals that that I would think aren't good enough for the Blog. And then I realised that I was talking nonsense. Why would they not be good enough? After all, in my daily job of helping to educate children and their parents, there is never enough information for people who just need a little inspiration, to show them how easy this cooking lark can be.

So I've decided that I am going to keep it even more simple than usual until I find the time to start inventing new dishes. The food I cook for my family, be it a Shepherds Pie or a simple pasta sauce, will all feature. And I'm even going to start a new category called, 'Easy Family Meals'. Happy days!

Today I'm starting with a good old soup. This soup references the wonderful Joanna of Joanna's Food and Heart Of The Matter. Joanna started a Blog after experiencing the pain of heart attack within her family. I can relate to that as my mother's husband had a heart attack just over a year ago, and although he has recovered, I'm constantly plying them with recipes that will aid recovery and ensure that it hopefully does not come back.

More importantly, I suspect that Joanna has realised through the need to adapt a diet that simple and healthy food can be utterly delicious. A bonus all round. Ensure you read her entertaining Blog and indulge in some of her top notch tasty heart healthy food. Oh, and enjoy this heart healthy filling soup.

Brown Lentil, Smoked Bacon and Swede Soup
Feeds 4

1 onion, chopped
2 sticks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
4 rashers of lean smoked bacon, rind removed
2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
A pinch of chilli flakes
A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed, or 1 tbsp dried thyme
1 small swede, peeled and cut into small cubes
250g brown lentils
A good splash of Worcester Sauce
500ml hot vegetable stock, fresh or from cube (if cubed, ensure it is the low salt variety)

1 - In a large pan, heat up the oil. Add the onion, celery, garlic and bacon and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened and beginning to colour.
2 - Add the thyme and chilli flakes and stir for 1 minute. Then add the turnip, Worcester Sauce, lentil and stock. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer with the lid on for 25-30 minutes. Check to ensure that it isn't boiling dry.
3 - Serve with good a swirl of yoghurt, heart shaped if you like.


Wendy said...

My partner is wild about lentil and bacon soups. Will have to make this for him.
I find that when I'm really busy (like this killer term) I tend to make my tried and trusted favourites - most of which I've blogged about already. There will come a day in the near future where I'll be struggling to post a new recipe!

Joanna said...

Thanks David ... you're right, blog it all, because there are so many different levels of experience amongst the readers of any blog, and because we all need inspiration, and because even the most experienced cooks have gaps in their knowledge ... and because this is a great soup, just that little bit different from the one I make ... I'd never had thought to put chilli in, and it was only this week that I found that there's quite a lot of evidence that eating chilli is good for the heart.

Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with simple. Even with simple things we can find new ideas through what is shared. I have made lentil soups but have never thought of including swedes. Thanks for sharing.

Sagari said...

soup looks sooo comforting

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Food doesn't have to be fancy to get our interest. Most often we are just looking for some inspiration with our daily meals. We can get into a rut sometimes.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

I'm all for hearty, earthy soups like this - they really can be the most delicious. Thanks for flagging up the recipe!

Rosie said...

A real comfort soup you have made here David!! Thanks for sharing :D

Rosie x

Anonymous said...

Definitely share your everyday recipes ....great to have your advice and suggestions for day-to-day cooking. Eg I make a lot of soups and, beyond mashing with carrot, never know what to do with the swede in the veg great to have this inspiration. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Loving this soup David, simple cheap ingredients, I made a panful last night & it tastes even better today.

The debate on the difference between turnip & swede still continues on the BBC food messageboards. Brought up in Sunderland I only ever knew of one type, the dark purplish thick-skinned one which we called turnip, & that's the one I used.

Nice surprise seeing you on TV "Cooking the Books" last night, although I had to look twice, I think your hair is different from when we last saw you on Masterchef, you looked really well.

Have to say I didn't much like the look of Gino's white ragu - seemed wrong somehow :-( and do they really only give you a few seconds to taste the two dishes before the verdict is announced?

David Hall said...

Hi Alison

I've lost a few pounds since MasterChef! Hopefully that is the difference. Older and uglier perhaps?

Yes, few seconds of tasting and the verdict is required, all pretty fast paced. It may not have looked good but tasted fantastic!


Ed Bruske said...

This is a terrific looking soup, alright, David. I can taste it. I've had lentils on my mind for a while, and this is just what the doctor ordered.

amycaseycooks said...

I love lentil soup and all the variations it lends itself too. I am going to try your recipe - I may need to add some spicy chicken sausage too.

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