I always pick up the Tesco free magazine as they have coupons and recipes. They have now altered their symbols that appear by recipes to tell you what sort they are and have now included Vegan as one of the choices, so I like to see how many recipes they feature. As I was flicking through the magazine, something caught my eye. It was a section of how to jazz up a pre-made soup to give it more of a homemade feel. The soup they featured was an organic vegan red lentil with apricots and crushed chillies soup by a company called Tideford. They suggested frying some pumpkin seeds in a smidge of oil and then dusting them with smoked paprika. Then sprinkle them on top of the soup for a lovely garnish and pop of flavour.
I was like...I can do that. I can do better than that.
I googled the Tideford soup to look at ingredients and I liked everything I saw except the celeriac. There's nothing wrong with celeriac or celery, we just don't dig it. So I thought about the spice profile and they way i wanted to soup to be--sweet and tangy to contrast with the savoury seeds. And this masterpiece was born.
The first thing you need to do is make your munchy seeds. These are a cheap copycat of version of ones you can buy in a shop. You can make them ahead of time.
Preheat your oven to 175C/350F
1.Put 200g (1.5 cups) seeds in a metal roasting pan. I use half sunflower seeds and half pumpkin seeds.
2. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the pan and stir.
3. Add 2 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce and 1 teaspoon chilli powder or smoked paprika and stir well to coat.
4. Bake 5 more minutes, then remove from the oven and stir again.
5. Turn the oven off and put the pan in for 3-5 more minutes or until the seeds are crisp and dry. Check at 3 minutes--if they still seem damp to you then let them go 2 more minutes.
6. Let cool and eat. If you happen to have some leftover, then store in an airtight container.
Now for the soup. This is incredibly easy.
Apricot Red Lentil Soup
1 tin apricots in juice
1 onion, chopped
a few cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed in a sieve
1 TB lemon juice (bottled is fine)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Puree your apricots and their juice in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
2. Cook your onion and garlic in a splash of oil or water until softened.
3. Add your spices and stir to coat the onion. Add the lentils, pureed apricots and vegetable broth. Bring the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are soft.
4. Add your lemon juice and taste for salt and pepper.
5. Serve with a sprinkling of Munchy Seeds.
These seeds are incredibly moreish and would be great to serves as nibbles at your Christmas party.