As promised, in my previous post, here is my recipe for Spicy Lentil Soup:
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a large, heavy duty saucepan. Add one onion, one carrot and one stalk of celery, all coarsely chopped. Add one clove of garlic, peeled but whole. Stir. Then let these ingredients ‘sweat’, or gently cook, with a lid on the saucepan, for as long as you can be patient. Do not let the mixture burn or brown. I sometimes let my ingredients ‘sweat’ for about 15 to 20 minutes because the longer I leave the carrot, onion and celery and garlic, the sweeter the soup will be. Remove lid and add 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1/4 tsp of chilli powder and one dried, red chilli. Stir for a minute. At this stage, I add 3 or 4 slices of bacon*, chopped in to large pieces. Stir and cover for another minute. Then add one cup of washed, red lentils. I stir and cover for a few seconds whilst I open a 400gm tin of crushed tomatoes in juice. In go the tomatoes, another stir and cover, and a few more minutes to allow the lentils to be coated with the tomatoes etc. Lastly add 4 cups of liquid stock and half a cup of bulghur wheat* . I use chicken stock made from stock powder or cubes. Add salt to taste. I use a teaspoon of salt. Simmer covered, on very low heat, until the lentils and vegetables are soft; usually about 30 to 40 minutes. Once cooked, remove the slices of bacon and blend the soup till smooth. (Remove the whole chilli too, unless you want a really spicy soup!) Chop the cooked bacon into smaller pieces and use for garnish, along with some chopped parsley.
* I haven’t tried to make this soup without bacon but I am sure it could be made without.
* The bulghur wheat is optional but it does make the soup superbly thick.
My spicy lentil soup is adapted from the Spicy Lentil Soup recipe in Edmonds Cookery Book, 45th Deluxe Edition, 1999.The first Edmonds Cookery Book was published in 1908 by young Mr Thomas J Edmonds who had established a thriving business selling baking powder to New Zealand housewives. He promised the home baker that, with Edmonds baking powder, their baking was ‘sure to rise’ and so it did, and has continued to do so ever since. He made his first sale of baking powder in 1879. Edmonds became a trusted name in our country’s households. In the last 50 years, or so, over 3 million Edmonds Cookery Books have been printed, which equates to almost one copy for every person in New Zealand 🙂
Thomas Edmonds built his first factory in our city, Christchurch, in 1922. The factory and the company’s trademark “Sure to Rise” slogan are featured on the cookery book cover. The factory was not only famous for its products but also for its beautiful gardens. Even when the factory was demolished in 1990, the site continued, and developed, as a garden for the public to enjoy. Thomas Edmonds was an enlightened employer and subscribed to that lovely philosophy of a beautiful workplace to enhance the lives and working standards of his employees. He also wanted to live in a beautiful city and, to this end, was a prolific benefactor to the city. Sadly, some of his gifts to the city were destroyed in the recent earthquakes and have since been demolished. Amongst them was the Repertory Theatre, which began life as the Christchurch Radiant Health Club.( http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/radiant-living/the-origins-of-radiant-living)
Thomas Edmonds believed in the therapeutic qualities of the sun, and in the study and practise of diet. I think I would have liked him. And I am sure he would have enjoyed a bowl of my soup, followed by a bowl of my custard. Good healthy, economical, everyday fare.
Such a pleasant, sunny piece of our city’s history. I wonder what Mr Edmonds would think of his successful home grown business, now in the hands of multinational, Goodman Fielder. Would he be pleased, philosophical or pragmatic about this development? Or would he be worried, just a little, like me, about a company that will not tell me why it proudly proclaims on the back of its Edmonds Sure to Rise Baking Powder that this important “Part of New Zealand’s Heritage” all “started in Lyttleton”, when clearly it did not; there being no such place. Thomas Edmonds first footprint on New Zealand soil was made in Lyttelton. (Spot the difference Lyttleton (wrong); Lyttelton (right) )
And can you spot the common denominator on the custard packet and on the cover of the cookery book?
So, here’s to the sunshine and soup in our lives. Hopefully, we will see the sun again tomorrow.