Red lentil, tomato and sweet potato soup

This would have to be my second favourite soup. After lentil and barley with herbs from the garden. I developed this based on something I had at a friend's house back when I had the cafe. A reliable seller at lunch, it was a bit fancier then, with coconut milk and coriander (powder and fresh as as garnish). These days I tend to do a simple version, although sometimes I add coriander, cummin and a touch of chilli. A couple of weeks ago though I had a beetroot from the garden already washed and peeled in the fridge. I chopped it up and threw it in. Extra sweetness and an earthy undertone. And the best colour. Really, really good.


a medium sweet potato (peeled and sliced)
a tin of Italian chopped tomatoes
a big onion
garlic (I use about half a head if it isn't that strong, but we like garlic here)
grated ginger (about a teaspoon or two, enough to give a zing without being overpowering)
a cup or so of red lentils
a big old beetroot (optional but really good, peeled and diced)

To make
  1. Roughly chop the onions and garlic. Saute with the ginger in some olive oil with a pinch of salt. This would be the point when I would also add powdered coriander or cumin if I was using them.
  2. Add the tomatoes and saute briefly.
  3. Add about a litre and a half of water, the red lentils, the sweet potato and the beetroot.
  4. Cook at a slow roll until everything is good and tender. Blend with the bamix. Check for salt, although I find if you add some at the beginning it tends not to need any at the end but everyone is different with their salt.
And there you have it. Ridiculously easy and very nice for lunch or dinner.


These biscuits are from Still Life with Menu, ( Mollie Katzen, Ten Speed Press 1988) one of my favourite and most influential cookbooks. I've only made them once before and they are sensational. Don't be put off by the presence of molasses, it really works in these and is offset by the other sugar and spices. G suggested they needed ginger which I forgot and will definitely be adding next time. Please use the two different types of sugar, it does make a difference.


125 butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teasponn cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger
2 cups white self-raising flour
1 to 2 tablespoons additional white sugar

To make
  1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line two biscuit trays with baking paper (I re-use mine because I'm cheap).
  2. Melt the butter.  Add molasses, which may need a quick zap in the microwave to flow well enough for measuring. Beat the egg and add to cooled butter and molasses mixture.
  3. Mix dry ingredients (except white sugar). Add the wet ingredients and mix. Use your hands to bring together into a soft dough.
  4. Roll pieces of dough into small truffle sized balls. Dip in white sugar. Place on baking tray. Squash before baking (Grace loved doing this).
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until they puff up and fall down. Bake until darkish brown if you like a crisp biscuit. A beigey colur of you like a soft centre. I did some of each which is pretty unavoidable in our oven anyway.
  6. Cool on a teatowel. Eat with soothing cups of tea.