Since the weather was mainly cool, we made sure we fortified ourselves with a bowl of hot soup in early afternoon, a different one each time. Each soup was tasty, but the best and the most interesting was the one we had on the last, and the hottest, day – lentil and ginger soup. And I discovered it’s very simple to make.
As I was still suffering from the effects of a surfeit in exercise (during which we were almost run down several times by angry cyclists if we wandered accidentally into their path), I didn’t have the energy to shop. I therefore decided to make do with the ingredients I could find at home and put the soup together by adapting from several recipes, as there are always variations among them. For example, some call for red lentils, others brown and yet others French (green) ones. Most specify using grated or diced fresh ginger, but a few make do with dried ginger. Onions, carrots and garlic seem to be staples. Most, but not all, add coriander, either as a fresh herb at the end or in ground form during the cooking stage.
By some miracle I found the basics, including root ginger that I’d cut up and frozen. I therefore began by chopping two onions, two carrots and three garlic cloves and cooked them gently for about ten minutes in a large heavy pot in about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. In the meantime, I grated about 3 teaspoons of ginger (I didn’t really measure it, but since I love it, I thought the more the better). I didn’t have any fresh coriander, so I added a teaspoon of the ground stuff, plus a teaspoon of salt, some black pepper, a bay leaf, and finally two cups of washed red lentils and about 1.4 liters of water. Then I left the soup to simmer for half an hour. It might have looked a little more aesthetic and tasted even better if I’d decorated it with fresh coriander at the end instead of using the ground variety. But the result was not bad. Try this healthful dish yourselves and let me know whether you enhanced it and how.