Moroccan butternut and chickpea soup

I dreamt up this soup on a miserable rainy day a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s the first thing I crave when the weather turns horrible. It’s a really filling, warming soup, spiked with Moroccan spices and chilli. It’s really good with salty feta crumbled on top and served with toasted, buttered rye bread.

moroccan soup

Serves 4

  • 1 kg of peeled, chopped butternut
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of harissa pasta
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed ginger
  • Half a cup of red split lentils, rinsed well
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 1 tin of chopped, peeled tomotoes
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped roughly
  • Tumeric
  • Cumin seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Chilli flakes
  • Fresh coriander leaves and some feta, to serve
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder

Fry the onion in a bit of oil until it starts to soften. Add the harissa paste, garlic, ginger and a sprinkle of tumeric, cinnamon and cumin seeds. Fry until the spices become fragrant. Add the carrots, butternut and the tin of tomatoes. Fill up the empty tin with water and add that too, along with the stock powder. Turn the heat up to high. Let the soup boil for about 10 minutes, and then add the lentils. Keep it on a high heat, and stir occasionally. Once the butternut starts getting mushy, squish it and stir into the soup. The soup is ready when the butternut has melted into the liquid. Add the chickpeas and a pinch of chilli flakes if you like. Serve the soup with crumbled feta and coriander leaves.

Easy veggie quiche

I made up this recipe the other day when I had some shortcrust pastry in the freezer, some leftover crème fraiche and a motley collection of veggies lurking in the fridge. The recipe is pretty basic, so you can add whatever vegetables you have to hand.

Veggie quiche

Serves 5

  • 400 g ready made shortcrust pastry, thawed
  • 250 g crème fraiche
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • A handful of grated cheese (whatever you have around – I used mature cheddar)
  • 3 courgettes, sliced
  • 250 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 180g baby spinach
  • 8-10 sundried tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • A hanful of chopped cherry tomatoes
  • A few fresh basil leaves (optional)

    First of all, grease a quiche pan and roll out the pastry, pushing it up to the edges. Prick a few times and then bake blind (covered in foil and baking beans) at 180 C for twenty minutes. For the last five minutes, take out the beans and foil.

    Saute the onion in some olive oil until it starts to turn translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, and then add the courgettes. Cook for about five minutes until the courgettes have become soft. Add the sundried tomatoes and remove from the heat.

    Beat together the eggs and the crème fraiche. Mix in the cooked veggies and add roughly chopped basil leaves, and add the tomato paste, cheese and cherry tomatoes. Pour into the partially baked pastry case and bake in the oven at 180 C for 20-25 minutes until golden.