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Lentil and lemon soup

If chives are unavailable, use chopped spring onion tops or parsley, if using another garnish as well as the lemon.

ingredients

serves 4
100 g (4 oz) split red lentils
15 g (1/2 oz) margarine or butter
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 litre (1 3/4 pints) boiling water
2 chicken stock cubes
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced into rings

to garnish

1 lemon, thinly sliced
snipped chives (optional)

method

1. Melt the margarine in a saucepan, add the celery and onion, then cover and cook gently for 4 minutes.

2. Remove the pan from the heat,
then stir in the lentils and water, with the stock cubes. Add the lemon zest and juice, and the cumin, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over very gentle heat for 30 minutes.

3. Add the sliced pepper to the pan,
cover and cook for a further 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Pour the soup into warmed serving bowls, float the lemon slices on top, then sprinkle over the chives, if using. Serve at once.

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