Tomato, Red Pepper & Lentil Soup

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Dad, as a child

I learnt a lot from Dad; he has a mind full of information. We spent a lot of time in the car together, travelling each weekend to and from Stoke Prior and Longbridge. I learnt probability and technical betting terms from a very young age, as he went on a bookmakers’ course. As a young boy, he was taught by a neighbour who had worked for the Peaky Blinders! Also, I must have been the most knowledgeable 9-year-old girl mechanic, as he taught me the workings of the car engine from start to finish.

I must have also been the only child to love lentils, and this is my most favourite soup of all time.

Dad and I in the photo booth in Woolworth’s
Tomato, Red Pepper & Lentil Soup

Serves 4
3 tbsp olive oil * 2 large onions, chopped * 2 garlic cloves, chopped * 2 tsp ground cumin * 1 tsp ground cinnamon * ½ tsp nutmeg * ½ tsp ground ginger * ½ tsp ground coriander * 4 red peppers, deseeded and diced * 510g (1lb 2oz) tomatoes, skinned and chopped * 340g (12oz) red lentils * 1 tbsp sherry vinegar * 570ml (1 pint) water * 855ml (1½ pints) vegetable stock, made with 2 stock cubes * 3 tbsp lemon juice * 1 tsp caster sugar * crème fraîche, for garnish * salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic, cooking over a low heat and stirring occasionally until softened. Add the cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and coriander, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the red peppers and reduce to a low heat. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Keep checking and add a little water if required. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the lentils in sherry vinegar and 570ml (1 pint) of water in a saucepan for 5 minutes until softened. Drain the lentils and add to the peppers. Add the vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Blitz in the food processor until smooth. Return to a clean saucepan, then season with lemon juice, caster sugar and salt & pepper. Re-heat, stir and serve in warmed bowls, garnishing with crème fraîche.

I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

There are more recipes in the section GREAT BRITISH DISHES, a selection of the best of British food.