Lentil Soup with Saffron

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Back in London! And there is a new and unfamiliar chill in the air, reminding me that we are heading towards autumn fast. Help! I suddenly think of the magazine I was reading in the sun lounger by the sea in Sweden (bliss) which featured an article and recipes by the Ayurveda practitioner, Janesh Vaidya. In his Swedish book: ‘Maten är min medicin’ (Norstedts förlag) Vaidya advocates a vegetarian life style in order to cure many common ailments such as joint pain, indigestion, insomnia and eczema. I can’t seem to find this cookbook in English yet, check out his website to find out more about his lectures and other books.

 

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The recipe that caught my eye in particular was Vaidya’s lentil soup which used saffron and coconut milk. It looked so warming and soothing that I saved the article for a cold and rainy autumn day. Well, today was that day! I had to improvise slightly as I didn’t have all the ingredients that were necessary in the house. I’m still coming down from my holiday high and food shopping felt like the last thing I wanted to do. Still, the result was super delicious, warming and so creamy and tasty that I had to finish it all off. Every last drop! This would make a great starter, or if you are like me, a great main for a couple of hungry peeps.

Lentil Soup with Saffron, by Janesh Vaidya

4-6 persons

2 dl lentils (I used Puy, he advocates Beluga lentils)

2 charlotte onions

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

4 cm cinnamon stick (I used ground cinnamon)

1/2 g saffron (1 envelope)

20 cardamom kernels (the inside of the pods)

about 500g ripe tomatoes

2 dl water

1 1/2 tsp herb salt (Herbamare is the best in my book)

4 dl coconut milk

1/2 tsp salt + pepper

3 tomatoes (I didn’t have enough for this decoration)

Fresh parsley (I used celery leaves instead)

Cook the lentils according to instructions on the pack. Once cooked, rinse thoroughly. Slice the onions and garlic and add to a pan with oil together with the cinnamon stick, saffron and cardamom kernels. Make sure it does not burn. Rinse the tomatoes in warm water and slice in half. Place in a pan with some water and bring to a boil. Let cook on low heat whilst stirring for about 15-20 minutes. When the tomatoes have released all their liquid they are ready. Remove from heat source and also remove any large tomato peels. Press through a sieve if you would like a smoother texture to your soup. Add 2 dl water and herb salt to the tomato mixture and mix with the onion and garlic. Add the lentils and coconut milk and add salt and pepper to taste. Slice 3 tomatoes and place them in the soup, Decorate with parsley or any other green sprig you may have at home. Enjoy! x

 

 

Top 10 condiments

condiments 2If you, like me, are trying to live life a little healthier it can sometimes be useful to re-cap on those must have condiments to keep at home at all times. Nothing worse than being mid flow in creating some new exciting green recipe only to find out that a key condiment is missing  from your larder. Below are my top 10 that I use constantly. Added to your fresh veggies, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds you can create almost anything and most of them can be found in regular super markets or your nearest Whole Foods.

No 1. Rapeseed oil (cold pressed) better for cooking and frying than olive oil as it can take high heat/salads/roasting/baking. Super rich in Omega 3.

No 2. Extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed) we all know how good this is with everything!

No 3. Apple cider vinegar (organic, raw and unfiltered) great in salads or as a tonic on its own. My Swedish granny used to take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water before bed. She was convinced it helped with her arthritis and indigestion.

No 4. Coconut oil (organic and extra virgin) Can be used in any cooking as it can take high heat and also as healthy fat in smoothies, sauces (instead of butter) or on your skin. Solid form when kept in room temperature but turns into liquid quickly when hot.

No 5. Herbamare by A. Vogel. We’ve used this herb salt since I was a kid and it is still my favorite. It gets sprinkled onto everything and give you a gentle savory flavour due to the sea salt and organic dried herbs. Avocado crackers with lemon juice and sliced tomato, topped with Herbamare, is a daily indulgence.

No 6. Himalayan pink salt – supposed to be much healthier than regular salt due to its additive free nature, hand harvested from the foothills of the Himalayas where it was formed millions of years ago from ancient unpolluted seas. I’ve found an alternative use – mix it with coconut oil and use as a facial scrub!

No 7. Organic Tahini – creamed sesame seeds. Great in dips and sauces. One of the main ingredients in hummus which tastes fantastic when homemade.

No 8. Organic Almond butter – use in baking, in smoothies, spread onto hot toast. Yum!

No 9. Miso paste – we have miso soup A LOT in our house and a tub of it does not last long. I buy it at the Japanese supermarket together with a selection of dried seaweed. At home you just add a teaspoon of miso paste into a bowl, add hot water and a teaspoon of dried seaweed. Let sit for 5 minutes until seaweed uncurls. If you like you could add a handful or cubed tofu to the broth to make it more of a meal. Miso paste can also be used in dressings or spread onto fish before grilling in the oven.

No 10. Crushed chilli – I put this into most green dishes and sauces to add a  little spicy kick!!

Happy Tuesday everyone x