This week the colours in the forest are breathtaking, they almost make up for the dark mornings and evenings, it is the really rich reds, oranges and golds that are only there for a short time just before the leaves fall.
Nature’s colours are also inspiring for the kitchen, as you find the wonderful autumn colours on the fruit and veg stands. Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, the first clementines, carrots, parsnips, swedes, turnips… not to mention the delicious local apples and pears.
But winter is not quite upon us, so even though I have a couple of soup ideas & recipes for you, I also have some crunchy salad ideas to go with them. That stops me reaching for the bread to go with my soup, which if you add salty butter to the mix, ends up being soup to go with the crunchy bread!
Remember to make a big batch of soup; once cooled, pour individual portion sizes into freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Either defrost in the fridge and reheat in a pan or add a splash of stock to a pan and melt the soup over a very low heat from frozen.
Roasted vegetable soup with a crunchy carrot, apple, walnut and goats cheese salad (serves 6), with walnut and sage pesto (optional)
- 750 g Butternut squash, parsnips and carrots cut into 2cm chunks (you can use any root vegetable)
- 1 medium onion cut into thin wedges (you can also add chilli)
- 1 desert spoon olive oil
- 1.5l water or vegetable stock
– Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan 180°
Put the vegetables into a non-stick roasting pan with olive oil and mix well. Season with pepper and roast for 45 minutes
For the pesto to swirl on top, blitz 2 walnut halves, 1 small garlic clove, 12 large sage leaves, 15 g flat leaf parsley. Then add 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs and 2 tbs finely grated parmesan and 3 tbsp hot water. Mix well and set aside.
Transfer the vegetables from the oven to a pan, add the water or stock and bring to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Leave to cool slightly then whiz in a food processor or blender. Serve in warm bowls with a swirl of pesto.
Cut the carrots and apples into matchsticks, crumble over a couple of walnut halves and a little crumbly goats cheese and serve with a white balsamic and honey vinaigrette.
Sweet Potato and lentil soup with raw cauliflower and apple salad (serves 6)
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 20 g pack chopped coriander stalks
- thumb size piece fresh ginger, grated
- 800g sweet potatoes
- 1.2l vegetable stock
- 100g red lentils
- 300ml milk
- juice 1 lime
Put the curry powder into a large pan and toast over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the olive oil, stirring well. Tip in the onions, apple, garlic, coriander stalks and ginger, season and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile peel and grate the sweet potatoes. Add to the pan with the lentils, milk and seasoning, then simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Blend until smooth, stir in the lime juice, check the seasoning and serve with a sprinkle of coriander leaves, and crunchy cauliflower and apple salad with walnut vinaigrette.
FYI (For Your Inspiration)
Other combinations could be:
Leek and potato soup topped with crispy bacon pieces with celery, fennel and radish salad.
Roasted tomato and red pepper soup with endive, orange and hazelnut salad
Happy soup season!
Text and photos by Alison Korter-Lacki, November 2014