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On weekdays, late afternoons and early evenings seem to be an endless round of ferrying kids to sports practices in rush-hour traffic. Mealtimes can be erratic, so soups are a favourite, no matter what the weather, purely on the basis that they can be reheated as required. Often I make a big batch and will freeze some for later.

On one rush-hour drive a while ago, when we were talking about what was for dinner, one of my sons said he preferred a smoother, pureed soup. Why? So he could concentrate on the flavour without any distractions, he said. Which set me pondering for quite a while afterwards as to why that could be preferable. The roasted pumpkin and red lentil soup featured here has become a family favourite since that particular conversation.

Popular too are the black bean and haloumi patties. It’s a recipe that has infinite variations: you can change or omit the cheese, use kumara or carrot in place of the pumpkin and if you’re vegan you can leave out the egg – although it will make the mix a little crumbly. Sometimes I’ll make small patties and serve them with a seasonal salad with some guacamole. They freeze brilliantly and simply need defrosting before frying. You can also bake them, just brush with oil and cook for 30 minutes.

CHOP CHOP RECIPES

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