Wednesday 27 January 2010

Vegetable Soup with a North African twist.

My style of cooking, like me and my home, is rather eclectic. I gather things from East and West, old and new. I mix things up and experiment. I have some old favourite never-fail recipes like one for Madeira cake that always works however I adapt it, but I'm always happy to try new things too.

I'm really busy working at home on a piece of artwork. Winter days when I'm busy like this I like to make up a big pot of soup that will last me a few days. Then I've no excuse to stop and fill up a bowl for lunch. I don't usually set the table if it's just for me. I wanted an excuse to use blue and white Losol Ware tureen that belonged to my maternal grandmother, Annie and I think is circa 1920.

This recipe is for my lovely sister-in-law Sima who keeps asking me to email it to her. Sorry Sima, here it is at last. It's a tomato based vegetable soup that I've given a North African twist.


  • One leek
  • One couple of sticks of celery
  • A clove or two of garlic
  • A couple of carrots
  • A root vegetable like parsnip or sweet potato
  • handful of baby spinach leaves
  • a potato
  • Tomato juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Sea salt and freshly groung black pepper
  • A little tumeric
  • Ground corriander
  • Ground cummin
  • Fresh or dried chilli
  • A bay leaf
  • A little rosemary
  • A little thyme
  • Tomato puree

  1. . Wash and chop all the vegetables and crush the garlic.
  2. . Put some olive oil into a heavy based cooking pot and add the leeks and celery and sweat for five or ten minutes ensuring that they don't burn.
  3. . Add the crushed garlic and chillies and continue cooking.....garlic cooks much quicker than the leeks and can easily burn and taste bitter so watch over the pot for these few minutes.
  4. . Add the tumeric, ground cummin and corriander give everything a good stir and cook for a couple of minutes before adding all the other vegetables.
  5. . Add the tomato paste and juice and/or hot water and seasonwith salt and pepper.
  6. . Now you can leave the soup for about thirty minutes until all the vegetables are cooked. Check the seasoning and then serve.

This is a really substantial soup and doesn't need any accompanyment for lunch but is delicious with home made bread. With the addition of pasta or beans eg. cannelini, butterbeans or something like chick peas this becomes even more of a meal and could easily be served up for supper. 

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