Spiced Carrot, Lentil and Lime Soup

This is a wonderful soup to warm the cockles on a chilly autumnal night. It smells rich and enticing, is a golden terracotta colour and its creamy texture and intriguingly spicy, lime-spiked flavour cries out for crusty bread – particularly torn hot nan – to dunk and slurp. Best of all, it’s as quick and easy to make as it is to shop for. And very economical, belying it’s specialness. Good, as so many thick, creamy soups are, with a separately poached egg added just before it’s served.

Serves 4

Prep: 20 min

Cook:35 min

1 large onion

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves

10g piece ginger

500g carrots

175g red split lentils

2 heaped tsp ground cumin

generous pinch chilli flakes

1.75 litre vegetable or chicken stock

1 lime

few sprigs of coriander or flat leaf parsley

     Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Heat the oil in a large, lidded pan and stir in the onion with ½ (half) tsp salt. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes over a medium low heat while you peel and chop the garlic and ginger. Scrape and trim the carrots then grate on the large hole of a cheese grater or using a food processor attachment. Rinse the lentils until the water runs clean. Stir the garlic and ginger into the onion, stirring until aromatic then add the cumin and chilli. Stir-fry for 30 seconds then stir in the lentils, followed by the carrot. Add the stock, bring to the boil, establish a steady simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes until lentils and carrot are soft. Liquidize in batches. Add juice from the lime and salt to taste. Garnish with finely chopped coriander or parsley.