I have had an unusually productive weekend, trying to organise as much as possible for Christmas... our next few weekends are tied up, so I have been feeling a bit stressed. My mental 'to do' list gets longer and longer. The cure is work: and lots of it. So I worked super-hard on Saturday. As well as freezing some cute puffs (below) I managed to make a huge pan of soup for the week and even wrote for a couple of hours and cleaned the house. (I was on my own - husband was called in to the hospital - and I am always more efficient when it's just me!)
Then - after a trip to the farm shop on Sunday - I even got our Christmas cake baked and stored. I used Nigella's Chocolate Fruit Cake recipe, which turned out really beautifully - rich and full of that gorgeous Christmas-baking scent. I am going to try making a delicately vanilla-flavoured marzipan to go on top, and if I find time to order metallic gold lustre... all will be perfect!
It has made me feel a bit too smug and complacent this morning, though. I am trying to kick-start the day but I still have this all-wrapped-up feeling. And I have soooo much left to do, and everything is soooooo not all-wrapped-up. Not in the slightest.
We did have a yummy butternut squash and spinach tart on Saturday, which I might write up, but, I mainly wanted to post this really lovely soup recipe. Will be eating it with seedy brown bread later tonight. It's not very strongly flavoured, but quite simple and warming. Also a great source of protein and see-in-the-dark vitamins!
SPICY CARROT AND RED LENTIL SOUP
400g carrots, washed and chopped
2 onions, chopped
4oz (4 heaped tbsp) red lentils
1tbsp curry paste (from a jar)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1" ginger, chopped, if available
1-2 pints Marigold vegetable stock
Gently soften the onions, ginger and garlic in the curry paste, with a lid on, in a large casserole. After about 5 minutes add the carrots, without stirring, and replace the lid. Leave to sweat for another 10 minutes, then stir well. Finally tip in the lentils (no need to rinse) and stock, season gently, and replace the lid (leaving a gap). Simmer for at least 20 minutes, then put the lid on properly and leave to cool slowly in the pan. When you're ready, blend thoroughly, and serve with a sprinkle of chopped coriander - or toasted almonds - and warm bread.