This Christmas, I'm in charge of the menu (and the cooking) at home, and I'll be posting recipes for some of the food I cook. First up is a lovely warm and spicy vegetable soup that's delicious and quick to cook, and makes a great lunch. This recipe serves 3&ndash6 people depending on how hungry they are!
- 2 medium onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 stick celery
- 4 carrots
- 600 g pumpkin (approx)
- 1 chili
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- Large handful of red lentils
The key here is to chop the vegetables to appropriate sizes so that everything is ready to eat at the same time. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Finely chop the onion, garlic and chili, and cut the celery into pieces about 1 cm on a side, and gently fry them in the oil with the cumin seed for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and clear.
Meanwhile, boil a kettle. Dice the carrots into pieces about 5 mm in size, and add to the pan. Next, cube the pumpkin to about 15–20 mm and add to the pan. Add the paprika, and continue to fry the vegetables together for another 2–3 min.
Add about 750 ml of the boiling water from the kettle to the pan along with the bouillon powder, and season with salt and pepper to taste (the liquid should be just enough to cover the vegetables). Bring to the boil, and sprinkle the lentils in. Finally, cover the pan, and simmer for about 30 min until ready to serve — preferably with some crusty bread and a wedge of cheddar cheese.