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I am a soup fan but I usually reserve soup for winter. But Melbourne has turned on some oddly cool summer weather in amongst the hot spells, so soup is doable. Plus it’s generally pretty healthy and makes good freezable leftovers for day job lunches and quick dinners.

Just before Christmas I was listening to Leigh Sales and Annabelle Crabb’s Chat10Looks3 podcast (which I hope comes back this year) and Annabelle mentioned a soup that is so good her family simply calls it The Soup. Namely Bill Granger’s Spicy Vegetable and Lentil Soup. I am a fan of vegetable soup and middle eastern type spices, so I was sold but didn’t think I’d get a chance to make it until winter. Until Melbourne co-operated with a cold snap and I produced this.

Spicy lentil and vegetable soup

And I can report it’s damned tasty. Now, I didn’t have a veggie bin full of winter vegetables, so I made it with just half a small butternut pumpkin, 1 largish sweet potato, 2 carrots (my tip is to cut up the carrots quite small as they don’t roast as fast as the other veggies also I just sprayed all the veggies with olive oil spray before tossing the spices through rather than using so much oil) and 500g of tomatoes and kept the lentils and stock and spices the same. If you’re vegetarian, just use veggie stock instead of chicken. That combination of veggies fills up my largeish LeCreuset casserole when it’s made and gives me six-seven serves (the full recipe would be more than that, I think. Or else more like a stew). It’s warm and spicy (not hot unless you want to whack in more chili, I put in 1/4-1/2 tsp of chilli flakes and that just gives a hint of heat) and filling and requires just one pot if you have a big enough oven-stovetop casserole just all round thumbs up. I don’t bother with the fresh coriander unless I happen to have some but the greek yoghurt and sumac are recommended. I’ve already made two batches and if the weather keeps being odd, I’m sure I’ll be making more (and if summer heats up, this will bolt back into the meal rotation as soon as things cool down again).

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