This delicious (even if I say so myself) soup was a happy accident.
We are nearing the end of March, but it's still so cold in England. We even had snow again last week. Here is our local heath in Hertfordshire, looking lovely and snowy (it was also freezing) in mid-March:
My thoughts turned to comforting soup, and I simply grabbed what I had at home: my trusty stock of red lentils, a sweet potato, a couple of spices and a few other necessities.
I've called this Golden Go Gently Soup because of its glorious colour and the cosy, nurturing feeling of taking care of oneself with a wholesome bowl of something. A simple pleasure in life, not to be underestimated.
I may also have been influenced by the most delicious carrot soup I think I have ever had. This was another happy accident, found in the beautiful restaurant at the Wellcome Collection in London, when I visited its excellent Ayurvedic Man exhibition. The recipe is from Jasmine Hemsley, and it looks as good as it tasted:
Back to my 'brew'. It contains both turmeric and cumin seeds which, if you look them up, have a bounty of medicinal benefits according to Ayurvedic thought. They include aiding digestion and providing a source of iron (cumin) and being anti-inflammatory and anti-viral (turmeric). Both flavours and energies seem grounding and uplifting in equal measure - like a good yoga pose. The gorgeous colour comes from the turmeric.
This will make enough for two to three helpings:
One cup red lentils
One sweet potato, chopped into chunks (about 1-2 cm cubes)
One tsp turmeric
One tsp cumin seeds
One white onion, chopped finely
750ml vegetable stock
Olive or other oil of choice
Salt and pepper to taste
Some fresh coriander wouldn't go amiss
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Toss the sweet potato chunks in some cooking oil, season and cook in the oven to 10-15 minutes until soft. Put to one side.
In the meantime, gently fry the onions in the oil until softening. Add the turmeric and coriander seeds and stir. Add the lentils and stir. Add the vegetable stock and cook gently on a medium/low heat for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.
Add the baked sweet potato chunks, stir, sprinkle with fresh coriander if you have any, season to taste, and you have your golden soup. Perfect.