You have the house to yourself, you’re in leggings and a flour-smeared T-shirt that has seen better days, busy cooking after hanging out laundry, anticipating a quiet afternoon watching “Downton Abbey” with a nice cup of tea. Then a friend calls, hopeful. “How about lunch? Do you want to meet up?” I was honest, and said “Thanks, but no.” No, I didn’t want to leave the house, I did not want to spend the money, and I really did not want to change out of my comfortably decrepit clothes. But I said she was very welcome to come over and have the lunch I was cooking, which she did.
Pumpkin soup with leek and red lentils
Wedge of fresh pumpkin (300 grammes or so)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 celery stalks, with leaves
4 cloves garlic
2 stock cubes
1.4 litres water
200 grammes red lentils (about a cup)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cummin
2 tsp coriander
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of pepper
Some fresh basil and parsley (optional)
Chop the leeks, whites and all. Wash them first, there is often grit between the layers. Keep a handful of chopped leeks aside for garnish later. Heat the oil, and gently fry the leeks. Peel and chop the pumpkin, add it to the leeks.
Gently simmer for 20 minutes or so, until the pumpkin is soft. You can serve the soup like this, or blend it with a hand blender (as below). It is quite thick. Taste if more salt and pepper is needed. Sprinkle with a little chopped leek, and serve with freshly baked bread, if you have some. Very nice.
Notes: No need to dress up and leave the house! My friend brought her three-year old, who is deeply suspicious of green food, and she actually ate this with gusto, dunking bread into it, as long as there was no leek garnish involved.