It’s called soup


I am sincerely thankful that Edinburgh has not been plagued by the arctic-esque scenes recently witnessed south of the border. Despite this, we have experienced a particularly chilly few weeks, where gloves, hats and scarves have become must haves in order to brave the great outdoors.

Being somewhat forgetful at the best of times, I recently failed to pack my woolly companions for my 40 minute walk home from work. Oh how I missed them. Teeth chattering, I knew that in order to defrost thoroughly, something more potent than tea would be required. A thick, hearty soup of lentils and sweet potatoes was born.

Soup is something I regularly marvel at. Quite a strong statement I realise, but there are so many positive things to say about soup. It’s versatile, it’s healthy and alongside being delicious, it’s very cheap to make. In the winter months, I make a large pot of soup every Sunday. This decants perfectly into daily portions for lunches at work. But I’m not in any way averse to eating the same thing for lunch five days in a row – if you are, my delicious money saving method could prove a little difficult.

Today’s soup is spiced with chilli and cumin, and really did the trick when it came to warming me up. You might like to tone down the spice (those of you that know me well are used to my love of chilli), or try my recommended recipe – it will certainly leave you with a warm glow. I enjoy the chunks of sweet potato through the soup, but it is also delicious blended. This recipe serves eight.

Sweet potato and lentil soup

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chilli
  • olive oil
  • 1tbsp cumin
  • 1tbsp chilli powder
  • 8 sweet potatoes
  • 250g red lentils
  • 1.7 litres of vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Chop the carrots, celery, onions, garlic and chilli. Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pot and add the vegetables. Sauté for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
  2. Add the cumin and chilli powder and heat the spices through. Add the potatoes, lentils and stock, then bring the soup to the boil.
  3. Reduce the soup to a simmer, and cook for around 20 minutes, or until the lentils and potatoes have softened. If the soup seems a little thick, add a bit more stock. Season to taste and serve in your favourite bowl or mug. I always eat my soup from a mug – the perfect tool for warming cold hands.