Another cold, drizzly day, another crackling fire and another soup. We have a handful of carrots, a beautiful little bouquet of cavolo nero, onions, garlic and our spices and dry stores; just the sort of humble bounty that makes the perfect starting point for a heartwarming meal. This one was a cracker.
Without a loaf in the house we decided to experiment with the homemade crumpets we’ve been enjoying lately (a handy breakfast option when you have no bread or eggs in). These ones are made from wholemeal and plain spelt flour, rolled oats and rolled quinoa grains. We milled these into flour in the Nutribullet (it’s primary usage these days), but you could use a coffee grinder if you have one or simply use the whole grains. Making a fine flour of them is ideal for texture. We used goat’s milk, but you can substitute nut milk if you are so inclined and the results will not suffer. You do also need some chef’s rings for the cooking, (though we used a well-greased cookie cutter for weeks) and a little time for batter proofing, but they make a wholesome and satisfying mopper-upper for this beautiful soup. I suggest you don’t spare the organic butter. Winter demands sustaining, whole, warming meals, good fats; spice and steam.
For the soup:
1 1/2 tablespoons of ghee
1 tsp of cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
A good grating of fresh nutmeg / 1 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp of ground ginger
4 small cloves of garlic
1 medium sized red onion, roughly sliced
4 large carrots, cleaned and coined (no need to peel)
5 cavolo nero leaves, finely shredded
2 tsp organic vegetable bouillon
A few strips of fresh mozzerella (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
For the crumpets:
100g wholemeal spelt / wheat flour
150g plain spelt / wheat flour
50g rolled oats and 50g of rolled quinoa flakes milled into fine flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
15g active yeast
3/4 tsp of unrefined organic sugar
A pinch of salt
350ml goat's milk / almond milk for vegan version
Organic butter for greasing and cooking / good nut or rapeseed oil for vegan version
- 1 Preheat your oven to gas 7 / 220c / 200 fan. Add your carrots, onion and spices to a roasting dish. Cut the nubs off your garlic cloves and add them whole. Spoon in your ghee and roast for 40 minutes while you start your crumpets. Shake the dish after a minute to evenly coat in the coconut oil once melted.
- 2 In a mixing bowl combine your flours along with the yeast and a decent pinch of salt. Warm your milk on the hob and dissolve in your sugar. When warm pour into your flour mix and beat well with a fork for 6 minutes until super smooth. Cover and set aside for half an hour.
- 3 After half an hour dissolve your bicarb in about 150ml of warm water and combine with your flour and milk mixture as your stir. Your batter should be a loose, creamy texture. Cover and set aside for a further 20 mins.
- 4 Remove your roasting dish from the oven and empty the contents into a saucepan. Add your dried bouillon and cover with water. Bring to a simmer on the hob and sprinkle in a handful of red lentils. Season with salt and black pepper and simmer for 25 minutes while the lentils cook.
- 5 Grease your chef's rings with butter and grease the base of a frying pan, heated on a medium heat until hot. Place the rings in the pan and pour in your batter to two thirds the height of your rings. Cook your crumpets until the surface just solidifies and holes have formed in the top, (about 5 minutes) Turn and toast the top for 30 seconds or so and serve with butter / coconut butter.
- 6 Blitz your soup with a hand blender until smooth. Add a little more water if too thick. Check the seasoning and add more if necessary. Ladle hot into bowls and sprinkle your finely shredded cavolo nero in and over to wilt in the steam. Drop in a few strips of fresh mozzarella (This gives a lovely extra texture) and a final grating of nutmeg. Serve piping with your crumpets.