Batch Cooking My Work Lunches: Red Lentil and Coconut Soup

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to batch cook.

(Ok, that is not strictly true, I made 2 portions of a swede, cabbage, onion, carrot and pea soup earlier this week, but for various reasons it smelt and tasted bad, we all make mistakes).

I have decided to use up what I have in my cupboards, perhaps inspired by being stuck at home due to the snow, and I decided to tackle a bag of lentils I bought in 2017. Probably mid 2017.

I had a quick look on BBC Good Food for ideas and made this.

Note: I have divided it into 4 potions, but I think it would have been better as 3, but maybe I am greedy (I am greedy).

INGREDIENTS

150g Red Split Lentils

1 Tbsp Chopped Ginger (I used frozen)

2 Gloves Garlic (I used 2 tsp of lazy garlic)

1 lovely sized tsp of Turmeric (There ain’t no party like a Turmeric party)

1.2l Vegetable Stock.

1/2 Onion, or 2 handfuls of Frozen Onion

3 ‘clumps’ (technical term, obviously) of Frozen Spinach

400ml Can of Light Coconut Milk

METHOD

Add the lentils, turmeric, ginger and garlic to a large pan and then add the stock.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Add the coconut milk, mix and then add the frozen vegetables and simmer until cooked.

Lean over the saucepan and smell your delicious soup.

When The Boy suggests you assign your coloured soup mugs to certain days of the week – e.g. Red = Monday, scoff at him, but actually think it’s a good idea.

(What colour would you guys assign to each day?)

(I would have Red = Monday, Pink = Tuesday, Green = Wednesday and Blue = Thursday)

(They only had 4 colours in the shop, poor Friday).

 

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Batch Cooking My Work Lunches: Brown Lentil Dahl/Soup

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I call this Dahl/Soup as it was supposed to be a soup, and by some definitions still could be, but it could also resemble the texture of a Dahl. I will leave it to your own judgements to decide what side it falls on.

WARNING: If you use dried lentils like I did then bear in mind they may need soaking for up to 12 hours before hand. Do not attempt to skip this step. Always follow the instructions on whatever lentils you use.

INGREDIENTS

300g Dried Brown Lentils

Frozen Peas

Frozen Onion

Minced GingerGarlic (about 2 tablespoons worth)

Turmeric, Cinnamon, Pepper, Curry Powder, Rapeseed Oil, Tomato Puree

1 Litre of vegetable stock

1 x 400g tin of coconut milk

METHOD

Prep the lentils, begin soaking (if needed) the night before.

Cook the lentils in the stock for about 40 minutes or according to your packet instructions.

Once the lentils are cooked add the frozen peas and onions and coconut milk.

In a little pot or ramekin mix 1 teaspoon of rapeseed oil with the 2 tablespoons of minced gingergarlic, 1 teaspoon of turmeric (there ain’t no party like a turmeric party), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of tomato puree and 1 teaspoon of curry powder.

When the lentils, peas and onions are nearly all cooked and thickening up add the seasoning and mix in.

This makes 4 portions that will be fine for hearty stomachs, or you could make 3 decadent portions.

Batch Cooking My Work Lunches: Yellow Split Pea Soup

Hi everyone,

Don’t worry, my silence on here was due to problems with our internet connection, not a mental health breakdown. Did you miss me?

(Tumbleweed blows past)

Anyways, this is what I made last Sunday. It made three portions of yummy soup. Three g e n e r o u s portions of soup, so really if you have a normal size stomach instead of one the size of Australia then it will probably feed you for a lot more days.

I was trying to make some sort of pease pudding type thing from a recipe in ‘The Bean Book’  by Rose Elliot (a book I borrowed off my sister in law over a year ago and am yet to give back), but then decided it was going to be mush, and who wants that? So I blitzed it into soup.

You will need:

250g Yellow Split Peas

2 x celery sticks

Leek

Carrot

Onion

2 Litres of stock

Turmeric, because like my previous post ‘There ain’t no party like a Turmeric party’

 

METHOD

Cook the yellow split peas first in about 3/4 of the stock till soft. Don’t do what I did which was leave it thinking it would take ages only to come back not long later and see all the water had absorbed and the peas were only just saved from being stuck to the bottom of the pan.

In a separate pan lightly cook the leeks, carrots, celery and onion until soft but not burnt.

Add all together, with the remainder of the stock and as much turmeric as you feel is decent and when you feel ready add it to a blender and blitz the cr*p out of it.

WARNING!

If you have a nice pristine white blender, then I’m sorry to say you may risk staining parts of it permanently yellow due to the turmeric.  I like yellow so I like the look, but you might not. If you don’t want this to happen leave out the turmeric.

Take into work and be the envy of your colleagues.

 

Easy Pea-sy Soup (I am ill)

An ill day calls for one thing.

Soup.

We have had a big bag of frozen peas in our freezer for a long time, and I don’t really like plain peas. Nor do either the boy or I have a sprain in need of an ice pack.

After trying, for the first time, a delicious pea and mint soup last year when I was still eating from the work canteen at lunch I have been craving it ever since.

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INGREDIENTS

serves 3 greedy mouths (4 normal mouths and 5 small mouths)

About 350g of frozen peas.

1 big potato (or 3 small potatoes)

Frozen or fresh Onion. I used A LOT. About one medium fresh onion is a good starting point.

2 tsp of dried mint (you can use fresh if you like. I know it’s better, but our windowsill is occupied by long scrubbing brushes the boy insists on buying so that his precious hands don’t touch a plate when doing the washing up)

1.5 Litres of vegetable stock

A big splodge of butter/margarine

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METHOD

Chopped the potato(es) and onion (if using fresh) into small pieces.

Melt the butter in the biggest pot you have and once it’s foaming add the potato and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Add the stock and cook for about 15 minutes.

I added the dried mint at this point but if you are using fresh I would recommend waiting till a bit later.

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Once the potato and onions are soft add the peas and bring back to the boil. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Pour into the blender and pulse.

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Do I really need to tell you what to do next?

You eat it of course.

I do feel a little better.

The ‘Throw Anything at Me’ Vegetable Soup

It is the boy’s birthday today. He wanted Parsnip soup. We did not have parsnips, so we went to Tesco’s and bought some.

I decided to combat our vegetable drawer and mountain of potatoes and thus made the ‘Throw anything at me’ soup. For when times are tough but for some reason you have a lot of vegetables.

When my mum left us around the time I was 12 my Dad became a single parent. He only had limited experience in the kitchen and had to step up. There were some ‘unusual’ experiments, and our meals frequently involved up to three types of potato as they were cheap and filling, but I remember clearly that one of the first things he made from scratch was soup.

I would spend my Sunday’s in the second year of Uni roasting veg and then pulsing them into soup. Soup was one of the first things I made.

Once you have learnt to make soup you know you can survive.

Recipe

1 onion, finely sliced (I had a fresh onion, normally it would be frozen onion)

4 stalks of celery. If it is slightly bendy that is fine.

3 small-medium potatoes, cubed

3 carrots, washed, skin on, finely diced.

5-7 parsnips IF SMALL AND WEEDY. The prepacked bag I bought in Tesco’s had little parsnips in, not like the hefty behemoths I get at the fruit and veg stall at work. If you have the hefty beasts then use about 2-3.

1.5 Litres of stock.

Herbs you like. I used dried Thyme, Rosemary and Sage.

A nice big wedge of butter.

A blender, a big pot and a wooden spoon.

Method

Melt the lump of butter/margarine in the pot over a low heat. Once it is all melted add the onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. Cook for about 5 minutes until your kitchen smells lovely and onion-y (is it just me that likes that smell?)

Add the finely sliced carrots, potatoes and all important parsnips. Give a courtesy  stir to coat in the buttery onion goodness and then add the stock.

Bring to the boil then cook for about 10 minutes. If the pot has a lid put it on. It saves energy by cooking things faster.

At this point I did the washing up and listened to Absolute 80s.

Once I finished the washing up I checked that the root veggies were soft, which they were (thank you Mr Pot Lid) and then I turned off the heat and carefully put it all in the blender (depending on the size of your blender you may have to do this in two stages)

I then pulled out my biggest bowls, poured it in and ate. Yum.

The boy was happy.

As always adjust the veg quantity, stock intensity, thickness and herbs to your own individual liking. The boy added a mound of pepper to his.

Leftover Gigantes Plaki Soup

I’ll admit I don’t actually truly know what Gigantes Plaki is and just went on the basis that it was a recipe in Jack Monroe’s A Girl Called Jack and I had the ingredients and wanted a quick and easy dinner whilst my boy was out.

I just have to trust them when they say it means ‘Really Big Beans’.

I blitzed the leftovers into soup, mixing it with a bit of stock.

I now have a very orange and garlicy soup for tomorrow’s lunch, which I will be having with some leftover ‘leftovers’ scones.

I think I need to cool it on the garlic. My response to measurements for ingredients I like is to usually double it.

I do the same with my Friday Gin and Tonic.

I told my boss about my mum in case I need time off work, because whilst I don’t know what the future holds I know what the past held.

Too many times the police brought back my mum inebriated.

Too many times she climbed out the window to buy booze.

Too many times we would stumble across an empty vodka bottle in the unlikeliest places in the house which in her drunken state she thought were well hidden.

But for now I have a pungent soup to comfort me during my long day at work tomorrow.

And peanut butter.

But that’s to follow in the next post.

Potato (and carrot) Peel Soup for One

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In true ‘Money Saving Fashion’ I take books out of the library in my city and one book I took out recently (and am gutted I had to return) was River Cottage Love Your Leftovers.

There was a recipe that really intrigued me, which was Potato Peel Soup where the main ingredients is Potato Peels (no prizes for guessing that correctly).

Today my boy and I were having our traditional Sunday Pie and Veg meal, and I looked at the little pile of potato peels from our roast potatoes and decided to put them to good use.

I am going to give you the recipe for what I made, which was inspired by but varied greatly from the River Cottage recipe.

The River Cottage recipe used whole milk and solely potato peels, whereas I didn’t want my lovely carrot peelings to go to waste.

Potato and Carrot Peel Soup For One

Ingredients

Peels from 3 medium potatoes and 2 medium carrots (I had 80g potato peels and 40g carrot peels, also I hope I don’t have to tell you this but do scrub your potatoes/carrots well but generally the peel is safe to eat and is good for you as most of the fibre is in the peel)

2 tsp of vegetable stock powder made up with 300ml boiling water (I like my food salty, you may wish to adjust to your own tastes)

About 50g frozen onion (you can use fresh, and again adjust to your tastes)

Parsley, dried or fresh (optional and I used dried)

A lump of butter (approx 30g is what I used)

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Method

Melt the butter in a large pan and add the onion, cook on a low heat just to get some colour or if using frozen onion to just cook it a little.

Add the peelings and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking/burning.

Make up the stock, adjusting to your own personal tastes, and add to the vegetables. (300ml is not a lot of stock, it just about covers the veg, this is because I like my soups thick and strong. As I have said, adjust to your tastes)

Cook for around 10 minutes.

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Add to a blender/food processor or use a hand blender to blend the soup.

Voila, soup!

It is currently waiting for me in my takeaway soup cup for my lunch tomorrow.

I am not going to work out an exact cost, but it was probably less than 50p, and true to my beliefs it meant that from my boy and my’s evening dinner the only food that went in the food bin was the tip and top of the 2 carrots.

It has a very earthy taste (maybe I didn’t clean the potatoes well enough, haha) and apparently the River Cottage version takes a bit like mushrooms (Food heaven for me, Food hell for my boy)

I am very happy about this little dish, and it only took about 15 minutes to make.