Curried Carrot and Red Lentil Soup

With the weather getting cooler, I’m craving warming vegetable soups – the perfect healthy winter comfort food. Traditionally I’m a pumpkin soup kind of girl but I thought I’d branch out and try something different. I had a huge bag of carrots in the fridge so I made  this carrot soup. I think it’s going to be my new favourite. I added red lentils for a protein boost and the good thing is they don’t need soaking before cooking,  it’s as easy as throwing them in the pot.

Here’s the recipe:

2 onions, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
700g of carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup red lentils

Heat the oil in a large pot and add onions, garlic and curry powder. Sautee for 3 minutes then  add chopped carrots and sautee for a further 5 minutes.  Add the stock and lentils and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.

Blend the soup until smooth, adding extra fluid if required.

Serve with a small spoon of sour cream and a sprinkle of spring onions.

Roast pumpkin and Feta Hummus Dip

Hummus is surprisingly cheap and simple to make.  Packed full with high protein chick peas, it’s the perfect healthy spread and dip.  This version containing roasted pumpkin and feta is particularly tasty. I like it on toast or in a sandwich, and it makes the perfect accompaniment to vegetable sticks for a healthy snack.


800g pumpkin, chopped into cubes
3 cloves garlic
2 cans chick peas, drained (you can also soak and cook your own from dried if you want an even cheaper option)
1 tablespoon tahini (I like mine with tahini, but you can leave out if you don’t have any)
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
Small pinch cayenne pepper ( you only need a tiny bit – it’s spicy!)
50g feta cheese

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Place pumpkin and garlic in an oven dish.  Toss in a little olive oil.  Roast for approximately 30 minutes, until cooked through.

While the pumpkin is roasting, put all the other ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. If it looks too thick, add a little extra lemon juice or oil.  Take out and place in bowl.  Once the pumpkin is cooked, add it along with the feta to the processor and blend.  Stir the pumpkin and feta mix through the hummus.

This is delicious spread on wraps filled with chicken and salad, or on toast with tomato.

Roasted Carrot, Radish and Sunflower Seed Salad

This year I grew lots of radishes in my vegetable garden. They’re fun to grow from seed as they germinate well, nothing seems to eat them and grow really quickly. You can have a bunch ready to eat within 4 weeks from sowing so it’s a win -win on the growing front.  However, after salads, I’ve never really known what to do with them and they often go to waste. So when I found out via Twitter that you can roast them, well that’s just what I did.  Roasted, they loose some of their pepperyness but still have a wee kick when you bite into them.  I roasted the radishes with carrots and sprinkled on toasted sunflower seeds then drizzled with an orange balsamic vinaigrette.  Here’s how:

large bunch of radishes
3 carrots
olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Wash the radishes, trim off the ends and cut into halves or quarters. Peel the carrots and slice lengthways, then lengthways again and cut into pieces.  Place radishes and carrots into pot of boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes.   Drain and pour the radishes and carrots on a tea towel and dry. Add olive oil to a roasting dish and roll the carrots and radishes in the oil. Season with salt and pepper.   Bake for 25-25 minutes until golden and baked through.  To serve, toast the sunflower seeds by heating a fry pan and tossing over a medium high heat for 1-2 minutes. The seeds will brown quickly, so be careful not to overcook. Sprinkle over the radishes and carrots and serve with the dressing below.

These can also be added to spice up a green salad or other roast vegetables.

For dressing:
3/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
zest from two oranges
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin

Place all ingredients in a jar, and shake till combined. This will keep for a week in the fridge and is lovely used over salad greens.