Saturday, 15 November 2014

Autumn Leaves and a Soup Recipe

At the risk of repeating myself, I love the colours of autumn! I like the crisp freshness in the air and the leaves swirling in the wind like butterflies caught in the air currents.

We collect a lot of those leaves every year. More leaves than I know what to do with. In the past we've made garlands to hang in front of our windows with torn up leaves, whole leaves, wool, felt and coloured paper. We've pressed leaves to stick in the children's nature journals and used them to garnish our seasonal table. Lots of leaves have been ground up into wooden tea pots and teacups to make fairy tisane and leaf cakes. Even more have been strewn across the floor in a way that infuriates me until I remember that I started this whole collecting thing.

This year I've been carefully pressing some of the loveliest leaves myself, Japanese Maple and Wisteria being two of my current favourites. My plan is to make our own inlaid recycled paper with them like this here. Maybe we'll make the sheets into notebooks and gift them for Christmas or maybe they'll just be for us. I don't know yet. This is going to be a big project.

In the meantime their our bouquets of leaves on our kitchen table and a whole bag full waiting for me to press. And the autumn colours have made it into the kitchen too with this amazing Tomato, Red Lentil and Lemon Soup adapted from the Convent Garden Soup Company's Book of Soups. Enjoy.

Lentil, Tomato and Lemon Soup

a good glug of extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
150g (about 2/3 of a cup) red lentils
570ml (about 2.5 cups) vegetable stock
1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
2 teaspoons of tomato purée
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon juice to taste 

Gently fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil until they are softened but not browned, about ten minutes. Add the lentils and stir well. Add the stock and raise the heat to bring to the boil. Skim off any scum. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring back to the boil and then simmer covered for about 20 minutes. Taste, season, fish out the bay leaf and the stem from the rosemary (most of the leaves will have come off). Serve and let each person add their own lemon juice to taste.

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