Late autumn weekend soup

It has taken me many years to get used to chunky vegetables in water! I used to prefer finely diced, whizzed up, cooked to a pulp. I can now eat carrots that have been cut in the round and enjoy them. Here’s a simple, hearty vegetable soup for a day like to day – icy, touch of snow, rather cold outside. Serve with a delicious herby homemade focaccia, warm out of the oven.

After a quick dash to the local market in the northerly wind – we have two veg stalls on a Friday and one on a Saturday – I came back with the following ingredients:

Turnip, leek, carrots, new potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower.

How much soup you want to make and what amount of veg you add, is up to you.

I add to the veg, some frozen spinach, dark green lentils.

Then a touch of olive oil, half a stock cube, herbs de provence, 1 bay leaf, pepper. I don’t put in salt – it’s a forbidden ingredient now. Water, of course.

Put it all in a large pan at the same time, bring to the boil then simmer. Stir occasionally  The lentils will take the longest to cook through, but they are worth the wait. In the meantime the focaccia is baking in the oven.

I think I’ll put together a sweet apple and walnut pita too. The rest of the day is for chores, geometric design, assignment writing and reading.


A Veggie Bolognese Recipe – (also vegan and gluten free)

This one works the best for me – it’s my own invention.

You will need the holy trinity of soup and savoury-ness:

One leek

One large stick of celery

One large carrot

All finely chopped and lightly sauted in a pan with a tblsp of olive oil

Then add

One chopped and deseeded red pepper

Four small blocks of spinach (I Iike the Taj frozen ones – they come in a box)

 Three fresh tomatoes, chopped (not tinned)

One cup of red lentils

Half a cup of minced Quorn (this isn’t vital btw)

A good pinch of  dried oregano and basil

One heaped tsp of veggie stock – i.e. Vegeta

A tblsp of tomato puree


Stir all the ingredients then add enough water to cover them. Simmer and watch for half an hour, adding water when necessary  – the lentils will expand, but the veg will give water too.

Cook for a further 15 minutes whilst you boil  a pan of water for the spaghetti – I use Sainsbury’s Free From – it’s free of everything *and* made in Italy from rice, maize and quinoa flours!

This amount of bolognese can make 4 servings (depends on how much you like  – ratio of bolognese to spaghetti is important and a personal preference).

Or it’s possible to later add a small can of kidney beans, some cumin, chilli flakes and a piece of dark chocolate. Then you have chilli for the next evening. Served in tacos or with brown rice – very nice.

photo from food blog Italian Feelings

My Veggie Moussaka

You will need

A dish to bake in – fairly deep

A pan to fry in and one to make all the saucy ragu bit in. Ingredients:

Aubergine  – sliced and salted, left to rest for half an hour then washed

New potatoes – thinly sliced and par-boiled

A brown-skinned onion and garlic

Olive oil

Red lentils


Celery and Carrot


Carton of chopped tomatoes

Feta cheese

Flour, butter and cheddar for the white sauce, bit of parmesan

Herbs – bay leaf, rosemary, oregano and thyme

A large tomato

Whilst the aubergine is seeping, do the ragu bit with everything except the potatoes, 1 fresh tomato and of course the aubergine. Make a nice rich ragu. Add tomato puree to thicken it up and herbs as you like. Quantity is all about how much you want to eat and who you are feeding. Don’t forget to season.

Wash the aubergine and then fry on both sides til golden brown.

Make the white sauce

Then start layering – ragu, then aubergine, potato, ragu, aubergine, then the fresh tomato sliced, and a final layer of potato. In between all the layers crumble some feta.

Top it all with the white sauce and bung the moussaka in the oven. 45 mins on 160 deg.

Goes nicely with a green salad.

Tastes just as good the next day.