Curried Tomato and Coconut Soup with Chickpeas and Mushrooms

When it comes to social media, I have two favourites: Facebook and Pinterest. Facebook for keeping up with friends and following (mainly cooking) blogs and pages, Pinterest because it allows you to save and categorise recipes you find online with a few simple clicks. But that ease can also have drawbacks, as I sometimes pin dishes that look good but disappoint when I actually read the whole recipe.

Which is what happened this week, when I got ready to cook a promising-looking chickpea soup from one of my boards and then realised that the flavours clashed (even just on paper), the cooking method didn’t work for me… in short that I would cook an entirely different soup. So that is what I did, with mainly store cupboard ingredients. I hope you like it.

1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes, or to taste
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp coarse sea salt, or to taste
400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
250 ml coconut milk
1 cup/140 g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and simmered till tender, about an hour and 15 minutes, depending on how ‘fresh’ they are. Don’t add salt. (Cooked weight about 290 g, you could use the same amount of tinned chickpeas)
200 g mushrooms, quartered
generous squeeze of lemon juice
fresh coriander, chopped

– Cook your soaked chickpeas (unless you’re using tinned ones, of course).
– Heat a generous glug of oil in a medium-sized pot on a medium heat. When nice and hot, add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Stir for a few seconds, then add the onion and cook until soft.
– Turn the heat down, stir in garlic, ground spices and salt, fry and stir for about 30 seconds.
– Add coconut milk, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and mushrooms.
– Bring to the boil, then simmer (I use a flame diffuser) for 15 minutes.
– Add lemon juice and more salt if needed.
– Serve, sprinkled with the coriander.


Basic Home-Made Tomato Soup

IMG_3411Tomato soup is everywhere; on restaurant and cafeteria menus, tinned or bagged on shelves in supermarkets, in powdered form, in powdered one-mug form… And in my experience, nine times out of ten it’s a complete let-down. The last tomato soup I ate in a lunchroom was probably just tomato purée watered down, then smothered in cream. I’m pretty sure no fresh tomato ever went near it. IMG_3391

Why is that, when nothing could be easier than making a basic fresh tomato soup? I suspect it has a lot to do with many people being completely out of touch with proper, home-made food and not knowing how things are actually supposed to taste.

But I’m not here to preach, I am here to give you a basic, yet delicious, recipe for freshly-made tomato soup. 😉 So here goes.

500 g tomatoes (about six medium-sized ones)
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 large clove of garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbs tomato purée
750 ml vegetable stock

– Slash the tops of the tomatoes cross-wise with a sharp knife and put them in a snug-fitting bowl or container. Pour on enough boiling water to cover and let stand for a few minutes.
– Drain tomatoes and skin them when cool enough to handle.
– Roughly chop the tomatoes (I use the food processor for this).
– Heat olive oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes.
– Add the tomato purée and fry for a few more minutes.
– Stir in tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer, lid on, for about 20 minutes.
– Let cool slightly and blitz with stick blender, food processor, whatever you have.
– Reheat and serve.

Spicy Spinach and Coconut Soup

IMG_2107-0It’s a good thing I am so food-obsessed that I take a photo of almost everything I cook, or this would have been a very sober post indeed. As it is, there is one pic. 😉

I had no intention of blogging about this soup, you see. It was more a matter of having a bag of spinach that needed using up and craving something warm for lunch. But as I was eating it, I realised I did not want to keep this from you. So here it is, in a very short and snappy post.

This is an adaptation of a recipe from the Dutch Allerhande website (the site that accompanies the complementary supermarket food magazine of the same name).
It is zingy, interesting and a doddle to make. Plus it has a gorgeous jade colour.



olive oil
3 shallots (or one small onion), chopped not too finely
piece of ginger, chopped not too finely
1 clove of garlic, chopped not too finely
1 red chilli, chopped not too finely (deseeded, if you prefer)
200 ml coconut milk (you could use half of a 400 ml can and freeze the rest)
750 ml vegetable stock (I use stock powder or cubes)
300 g fresh spinach
2 tbsp soy sauce


– Fry the shallots, ginger, garlic and chilli in the oil for a few minutes until golden and fragrant.
– Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil.
– Stir in the spinach leaves and let them wilt.
– Let simmer for 3 minutes, lid on.
– Blend the soup, using a (stick) blender.
– Add the soy sauce as you gently reheat the soup.