Soup is always good this time of year (Autumn). I like soups that focus on one or two flavours. This is a recipe that brings the red peppers to the front with a hint of paprika following. You don’t have to peel the peppers, I just do because it adds another subtle level. This is not a blended soup. It will happily sit on a low heat bubbling away working everyones appetite with its permeating aromas. This recipe feeds about four people.
1 onion, peeled and chopped as small and even as you can
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
300g red peppers – thats about two large ones, peeled (optional see side dishes) and chopped in small cubes
150g puy lentils (they are the really small ones, you can use the slightly larger ones, I normally soak them for at least one hour, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t though)
10 grams of paprika
1 litre of stock (from a cube or powder)
1 apple peeled and grated
Salt and pepper
Cover the bottom of your pan with olive oil and fry off the onions. Add the garlic when the onions start to brown, then the chopped peppers (hold a little bit back for the garnish). Cook this down for five minutes, add the paprika, then the stock.
When this is bubbling happily, slide in the lentils. Keep the soup boiling, add the grated apple then turn down to a simmer. Keep topping up the soup with warm stock or water from the kettle, so it stays a soup like consistency. After 45 minutes, taste the lentils, if they are soft, turn off the soup, leave for half an hour then taste for seasoning. Sometimes the lentils go a little bit hard, not sure why yet, but just cook it a bit more until they soften.
When you are ready re-heat and serve.
To garnish like the bowl in the photo, I took some of the red pepper that I held back and cut as small as possible, chopped one spring onion and half a chilli.
Porridge can give a warming start to a winter day. Oats in general do this, although you will find soaked oats work better in the summer. It is generally agreed that whether you are in training or just trying to make it through to lunch, porridge is a good healthy food to start the day, the only drawback I can find from a health perspective, is that is is not gluten free (I will be including gluten free porridge recipes). Simply put, oats are a ‘good’ carbohydrate which means they are easily and slowly digested and stabilize blood-sugar levels.
This is my sugar and dairy free recipe. I use watered down apple juice to cook out the oats and almond milk to finish. If you don’t have almond milk, soya or any alternative milk will do. You can also have it with apple juice alone. Keep the porridge wet by adding more liquid. You don’t want the end product to be thick and lumpy, better to aim for smooth and velvety. See fruit compote for another level to this recipe.
Ingredients (serves 2)
125g large oats (although any will do, stay away from the powdery quick-style type of oats if possible)
450ml apple juice and water (50:50)
150ml almond milk (or any other nut or alternative milk)
25g dried fruit (optional)
60g mixed nuts and seeds (e.g flaked almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds). The small mixed bags they sell in supermarkets would be perfect.
Weigh your oats and put them into a heavy bottomed saucepan (weighing the oats ensures that you don’t get waste and you can monitor your intake).Add the dried fruit if you’re using them. Cover oats (and fruit) with the apple juice and water and mix.
In a separate small non-stick frying pan toast off the nuts and seeds. When they are done take out of the frying pan and put onto a plate or they will continue to cook. Start cooking the porridge on a medium heat. Try not to leave the pot unattended as it tends to burn really easily, this will take between 5 and 7 minutes. When the oats are creamy and cooked stir in the almond milk until you have a smooth consistency.
Serve in a bowl with the chopped nuts and seeds sprinkled over.
Posted in Apple & Almond Porridge, Breakfast, Sweet Dishes
Tagged almond, apple, dairy free, dried fruit, good carbohydrate, nuts, oats, seeds, sugar-free