Going back to work means the diminishing of wild and wacky meals and a return to some hearty staples to close off a day. As always, we prefer soup or stew with a salad for me and some couscous or other starch for Man-thing, and lately I’ve wanted to put my new favourite ingredient into everything. That’s right: cauliflower. The fact that it can be successfully negotiated into a burger or a pizza base or even cake is rather spectacular, and there’s really nothing better than a dry-roasted cauliflower just waiting to be popped into the mouth. Soup, however, is where all my odds and ends meet up and meld into glorious evening-treats. Man-thing has even started pouring some over toast for lunch, though I suspect that’s just an excuse for toast. Dinner time, however, is an excuse for soup.
Ingredients (serves 6-8, depending on hunger):
- 4 cups chopped cabbage
- 3 cups cauliflower, roasted
- 3/4 cup radishes, quartered and roasted
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 250g baby marrows, chopped (I found yellow ones!)
- 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
- 1 small nub ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 1 package or 4 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 veggie stock cube + 5-6 cups of water/broth
- 2 cups chai tea, soaked for at least 10 minutes
- 2 TBSP digestive bran (optional)
- 1 TBSP curry powder
- salt & spices (including smoked paprika if you have it – so strange!)
- Preheat to 180C whilst you prepare your roasting veggies, splintering the cauliflower into smaller florets and tossing them and the radishes in some thyme. I dry-roast without oil but you may use 1 TBSP of oil to coat the veggies for a more glazed outcome. Because they went into the soup I didn’t want to waste oil (and try to stay clear where possible). Roast for approximately 15 minutes then toss the veggies about/over and bake for another 10-15, until you are satisfied they are baked and crispy.
- Restrain yourself from eating them all.
- Haul out a big pot and prepare your stock water and tea.
- Water sauté your onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.
- Add your cauliflower, cabbage, marrows and radishes and the stock water, boiling for 10-15 minutes, or until the radishes have softened somewhat (can poke a knife easily through them).
- Lower stove to simmer-style heat and add the frozen veggies, digestive bran, and tomato paste, stirring after 15 minutes.
- Add your lentils, spices and chai tea if liquid is needed.
- Simmer for another 20-30 minutes.
- This soup can happily accommodate some nuts or even raisins to counter the spicy/curry vibes.
NOM! Seriously, this is hearty and delicious all in one. It’s always cheering when one looks forward to a meal just to be able to indulge in thick and smoky treats like the one above. Plus it’s a good way of using up ingredients – I still have more chopped cabbage left over in the freezer from when I made the very delightful cabbage rolls – it’s getting rather ridiculous! We even had to take out the ice-cream maker, which made Man-thing very sad indeed.
The best part about this soup is the fact that Man-thing actually ate radishes. He usually looks very perplexed when I add them to my salads and I can see him mentally shaking his head. Their natural spice adds a wonderful bite to the soup, especially when it has been simmering away in chai tea, which I find adds a wonderful subtextual taste to any meal.
Anyway, for some positive news – Man-thing learnt how to eat sushi with chopsticks today! He usually blunders through with a knife and fork (honestly) but today, without any prompting, he asked for a lesson in ‘sticks, and ended up eating his entire meal with them! He even managed to place pieces of ginger on each piece with wasabi like a crazy person. As we were finishing up he said that he could feel the “approving wench vibes” radiating off of me, which I guess is a good subconscious tactic. 😀 I’m going to get us each a shiny pair of chopsticks so that he can practise at home on random things like figs or bits of bread and not be shy when we go out with others (or we could just make our own sushi, now that I think of it). It’s rather ridiculous that something as simple as eating sushi in a “non-western” way can totally make us giddy with dorkdom, but such are the small pleasures in life!