Red lentil soup

My friend Sheila said, “come over,” and I said, “shall I bring something to eat?” With only an hour and a half to spare and no time to shop, soup made with split red lentils was the only answer.

Without much ado, I soaked 125g red lentils for half an hour in about 4 mugfuls of water. The little dried red things (a storecupboard-must!) absorbed some water and softened – then I applied the heat. As I brought the pan to the boil, I chopped one onion and chucked it in.

You can see the uncooked onion pieces and some lentils floating on the surface as the soup begins to boil (above).

The strange naked beast in the picture is a peeled turmeric root from Marshford organics. I have never seen turmeric’s root root before, only its powder. It is closely related to ginger, but unlike that root, turmeric stained my hand yellow as I sliced it.

I also added sliced organic carrots that had overstayed their welcome at the bottom of my fridge and quarter of a dried chilli, not enough to bite.

Once the soup had come to the boil, I simmered it for half an hour until it was a soup-y mush. To make sure of its mushiness, I gave it a quick whizz with my handheld electric blender.

I got the soup safely to Sheila’s and we ate in the garden (see below).

I first met Sheila when, pregnant, I wandered into the Birth Centre circa 1977 to find out more about natural childbirth. On impulse, Sheila offered me a job wo-manning the Birth Centre ‘phone. She was a signpost in my life, putting me on track for the start of my new career as an ante-natal teacher and writer.

Sheila is a natural pioneer. Ahead of her time, Sheila brought the French obstetrician, Frederick (birth without violence) Leboyer to the UK, and changed our views of birth forever.

I see parallels between real food and natural birth; both aim to understand and work with nature rather then supplant it with risky and often unnecessary intervention.

yellow flower in Sheila\'s gardenSheila in gardenLentil soup

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