Tuesday, June 21, 2011

His and hers comfort soups

The man was a little under the weather last weekend so I kindly offered to make him some soup. He was keen for some smoky tomato soup although I managed to talk him out of it as the quality and price of fresh tomatoes at the moment is terrible. My line of questioning mustn't have been clear enough or his responses were marred by his clogged up head because the soup I produced on Saturday was not what he wanted at all. Instead of making his comfort soup, I somehow managed to make my own!

Apart from feeling lousy, I find the most frustrating thing about colds is losing your sense of taste. Food that usually would be palatable becomes bland and unappetising, so I normally make meals loaded with garlic, chillies and spices. My favourite curried lentil soup includes these components and has the added bonus of being a cinch to prepare, with about 10 minutes of initial prep work required and no blending at the end. 

On Sunday, I had to make amends as the man was not impressed with my comfort soup (never mind, son and I were more than happy with it). After further probing, he indicated that he wanted a smooth pureed vegetable soup that you could drink from a mug if desired. His idea of comfort soup = boring soup to me! That's probably why he wanted it so badly as I haven't made a soup like this for such a long time. I loaded it full of vegies and he even agreed to some celery which is something I usually omit from recipes as he isn't a big fan. 

The man was much happier with this soup and has been devouring it for days. I'll keep this soup in mind for next time he is unwell...

Curried red lentil soup (Adapted from Curry & Chilli Cookbook)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 1/2 cups red lentils
6 cups vegetable stock
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and fry the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and mustard seeds fry for another minute. Add the turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, coriander, cumin and chilli powder and cook for a minute then stir through the lentils so they are coated with the spices.

Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 40 minutes until the lentils have broken down completely. Stir through the lemon juice and coriander leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Mixed vegetable soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, chopped
1 onion, diced
4 large cloves garlic, chopped 
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
200g pumpkin, chopped into chunks
2 small potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 zucchini, chopped 
6 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and fry the leek and onion over medium heat for 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Keep adding the vegetables to the pot as you chop them and then pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Add the parsley to the pot and process the soup in batches in a blender. Return the blended soup to the pot, reheat and season with salt and pepper.


  1. glad I read this - maybe this explains why E not so keen on my curry tonight - he has been poorly for the last week - I think I prefer your soup but maybe with a few lentils

  2. His and hers soups-- what a great idea! They definitely look comforting. I had the sniffles this weekend and would've killed for a bowl of either of these. :)

  3. Hi Johanna, it's funny how your tastes and desires for food alter when you are ill. Curry and spices always hit the spot for me.

    Thanks Vaishali, it wasn't an intentional idea when I started making soup it just sort of eventuated this way. Hope your sniffles have cleared up now!