Last weekends soup was a special one. My new French soup cookbook was nagging away at me, so I had to use it, and soon. Anne-Catherine Bley's soupes du jour. Bley runs a wonderful soup cafe in Paris- Le Bar à soupes- know I find out! Grrr. Still at least I have the book. And much as I love soups it wasn't peak soup weather when we were in Paris recently, it was far too hot to want anything except icecream. I have been to Paris in the spring and the summer now, perhaps next time will be in cooler weather?
Bley's book is filled with wonderful sounding French soups. I was interested to see that she does indeed have a recipe for pumpkin soup (veloute de potiron), which has 5 variations. Interesting because the French rather famously don't like pumpkin all that much, and are said to see it as only fit for feeding to pigs. Perhaps I'm miss informed. Perhaps it's changing, I don't know. Actually she even has a separate recipe for veloute de potimarron au bacon. From what I can google up potimarron is a specific variety of pumpkin, or perhaps a squash. She also includes an intriguing recipe for courgettes a la Vache quit rit (which soupsong charmingly describes as the housewife's favourite soup cheese!). I know I'll need to try that soon.
But for my first excursion into the book I picked the Lentilles Corail au Lait de Coco et Citron Vert (Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Lime). It was a perfect choice. Quick to cook up. Tasty. Nutritious. It made a delicious work lunch, that staved away the hunger all afternoon, and it gave me an excuse to buy some coconut milk. I had rather a brainwave, bought a bigger tin than I needed and used the rest of it to make coconut rice pudding, which was so good I had to make it this weekend as well.
The book is in French, so I'll present the recipe here that way too. If anyone is keen to make it, and your French isn't quite up to it, then let me know and I'll translate it as best I can for you.
Lentilles Corail au Lait de Coco et Citron Vert
200g de lentilles corail
1 petite boie de tomate pelees (300g)
1 gros oignon
1 belle gousse d'ail
1 c. a c. de cumin en poudre
1/2 c. a c. de canelle en poudre
1 L d'eau
le jus de 1 citron vert
10cl de lait de coco
1 c. a s. d'huile d'olive
1. Eplucher et emincer l'oignon et l'ail. Les faire revenir 5 minutes avec les epices, a feu doux, dans l'huile d'olive.
2. Ajouter les lentilles et les tomates. Bien remuer et ajouter l'eau. Saler et poivrer.
3. Porter a ebullition puis diminuer a feu doux et laisser cuire 30 minutes environ en remant de temps en temps, jusqu'a ce que les lentilles soient parfaitement cuites.
4.Hors de feu, ajouter le lait de coco et le jus de citron vert. Mixer finement. Rectifier l'assaisonnement avant de servir.
It is impossible to buy a 300gm tin of tomatoes in Australia. So I used our standard tin (420gm I think)
I love that the French use the term "belle gousse d'ail", literally a beautiful clove of garlic, although apparently the usage signifies a good size rather than strict beauty.