These knobbly little squash were rejects from a local seed grower however, I thought they had loads of personality. With a little love I transformed them into a lovely Autumn dinner. This summer has been HOT and we are all feeling rather exhausted around here. Salads have been our mainstay for months so it is rather nice to crank up the oven again and do some baking….
My summer veggie garden is in full swing and there is plenty of tomatoes, capsicums, eggplant, zucchini and okra. If you do not have a veggie garden you will probably have been seeing them at reasonable prices at your farmers market. Stewing these summer staples is another way to showcase their flavour than yet another salad. Hot or cold this stew is amazingly tasty and nourishing.
I have always loved stewed and roasted rhubarb however I had not made it very often because the stalks are so tart conventional recipes call for a truckload of sugar to make it more palatable. I have always thought this was a shame because it is such a nutritious and not mention yummy veggie. Yesterday my mother in law called in with a huge bag full of stalks from her veggie garden so I decided it was time to give roasted rhubarb The Kitchen Apothecary makeover!…
The bulk of commercial burner melts tend be pretty toxic, they are made with petroleum derived waxes and are artificially coloured and fragranced. So what I have done is come up with an alternative that keeps the ingredients pretty much homegrown, local and most importantly natural. Once you have mastered the recipe and experimented and found the oil combinations that you love you will have a ready stash of these lovely things for yourself and for gifts….
Over the last few years I have read about black garlic. Not only has it become an “it” ingredient for chefs around the world it has also being touted as a superfood. On a recent trip to Canberra I was lucky enough to visit the Capital Region Farmers Market and come across local producer, John Pye of Bredbo Black who finally gave me the chance to taste and smell this most intriguing product!
This is one of my favourite soups. It has a hearty flavour making it perfect for a meal. Black roasted capsicum adds a sweet earthiness to the soup and the coriander oil is fresh vibrant way to round it off.
The much maligned lentil is actually a nutritional powerhouse being a good source of protein, fibre and minerals. Adequate soaking and cooking enhances their nutritional value and your ability to digest them. I usually pop my red lentils in a basin of water on the bench the night before I want to cook with them.
Blackening capsicums adds a richness to the soup as the flesh becomes sweet and takes on a gentle smoky flavour. Cooking capsicums destroys some of the vitamin C content however the tissue strengthening bioflavonoids in the white pith help you absorb what is left, so remember not to strip that white pith from the flesh, just remove the skin, stem and seeds. Those red pigments in the flesh also tell you they are chock full of a spectrum of antioxidants!
Coriander oil is super easy to make and adds a freshness to the soup. Coriander is an amazing herb that is abundant in essential oils that are detoxifying, anti-bacterial and immune enhancing. Indeed coriander aids in the removal of heavy metals in the body and the green tops have a very high concentration of antioxdiants. This is why I like to pulverise the fresh plant into an oil preparation that can be added in a big drizzle at the end, not only to preserve the nutrients but also allow you to get a fair whack of it!
You will notice that the coconut cream is optional. Sometimes I like the soup a little lighter, especially in the warmer months and then other times I like the heartier version with the coconut cream added.
- 375g Red Lentils (prefereably soaked overnight)
- 3 Large Red Capsicums
- 2 Red Onions, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 Cloves of Garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 Teaspoons of powdered cumin
- 2 teaspoons of powdered turmeric
- 1 Tablespoons of powdered coriander seed
- 1/2 cup Coconut Cream (optional)
- 1.5 Litres Bone Broth or Vegetable Stock
- Natural Salt and Pepper for Seasoning
- 1 bunch Coriander, rinsed and roots cleaned
- 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
- 1 Small Clove Garlic
- 1. Preheat oven to 220C. Place whole capsicums on a baking tray and roast for 15 mins and then turn and roast for another 15 minutes. You may need a little more time depending on the size and ripeness of your capsicums. You know when they are ready as they will appear slightly collapsed with charred, soft skin. Reserve and then when cool enough to hadle remove the skin, stem and pips making sure you leave the pith attached to the flesh.
- 2. Heat oil on medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Sautee onions until translucent and soft, add garlic and cook for a minute or two. Add the spices and cook for a minute until fragrant. Finally add the bone broth broth and stock, bring to a low simmer.
- 3. Simmer the soup for half an hour and then blitz with a stick blender. Simmer for a further 20 - 30 minutes until the soup tastes smooth and the flavours have melded. If the soup becomes too thick just add a little water, broth or stock. If you are adding the coconut cream do this in the final stages. Season with natural salt and pepper to taste.
- 4. When the soup is nearly ready roughly chop the coriander and put all the coriander oil ingredients in a bowl and blitz with a stick blender until smooth.
- 5. Serve soup into bowls and finish with a big drizzle of coriander oil.
- You do not have to blend the soup if you prefer. On occasion I do not, as you can see from the photo below it is rather delicious in this more rustic state too!
I find myself dipping into the pot over the next few days also having a bowl for breakfast and for lunch. Sometimes I make a vat of the soup and freeze portions that I can whip out for making a quick breakfast or lunch. The coriander oil is so easy to make that I just whizz it up whilst the soup is heating up, alternatively you can skip this garnish and just chop some fresh leaves to finish it off.
Enjoy your Roast Capsicum and Red Lentil Soup with Coriander Oil!
I could not live without infused oils. I incorporate them into my lotions and potions and they are also perfect for adding zing to stir fries, salad dressings, roast veggies and also as a garnish for soups and dips. Infusing herbs and spices allows the oily constituents of the plants to impart their own unique aromas, flavours and therapeutic qualities to the oils. …
I got my hands on a huge golden orb of beeswax at the farmer’s market! I am going to enjoy chipping away at it and sharing some great ways you can use beeswax in body care preparations and around the house. One of my favourite recipes is a gorgeous golden lip balm scented with raw honey and with the healing and protective properties of calendula. Not only does the beeswax and raw honey give the balm a beautiful scent, they also make it taste yummy!…
There is a worrying trend across wellness oriented food blogs and magazines to offer endless “healthy” and natural sweet treats. You have seen the pictures choking Instagram and Pinterest feeds – raw vegan paleo caramel slice, cacao peanut butter cups, raw cashew cream “cheesecake”. It appears that this is what all the healthy bods are eating … or at least dreaming about!
Starting your day with maple toasted granola, popping a few cacao balls at work then scoffing a slice or two of raw caramel slice after dinner is not going to put you on the path to good health in the long run. When transitioning from a high sugar diet to a low sugar one these substitutions are great, they move you from the empty calories of refined cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup to more nutrient-dense foods, they also allow time for your palate to evolve. Including them in significant quantities in your day to day diet long-term will simply keep feeding you sugar….