A warm Dalston soup for cool Hackney nights

Carrot and coriander soup), Ridley280912

EVERY WEEK I take £5 to Ridley Road market in Dalston, Hackney, London E8 2LH, to spend on seasonal food, and on Friday I tell you what I have chosen and publish a seasonal recipe. This week’s result is above. As ever, expenditure on any extra ingredients, eg, a litre of oil, will be recouped by usage over subsequent weeks. Some recipes will be frugal. They will all be tasty. All will be vegetarian.

NB: a few Ridley Road traders sell in imperial, some in metric and some by the bowl. 

This week’s £5 basket (pictured below)

12 potatoes £1 (2805g)
7 carrots 50p (537g)
Bunch of mint 60p
Bunch coriander 60p. A pungent herb — use sparingly
3 melons £1
3 pomegranates £1

Total £4.70

Equipment: kitchen knife, lidded saucepan, blender or similar equipment to smooth the soup but it can be eaten as a chunky soup — unblended. Wash all vegetables.


Recipe: Carrot and coriander soupJust the thing for an autumn evening, as we rush home. Serves 2

Ridley Rd 280912 basket for £5 © editor(at)lovingdalston.co.uk
The £5 basket from Ridley Road stalls


3 carrots, tops removed, and cut into £1 coin-size slices

1 large potato, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces

1 large or 2 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced (from the sack I bought on 14 Sep 2012)

3 coriander plants, roots removed, well washed and chopped finely

1 tablespoon olive oil

500ml vegetable water, stock or tap water

Bay leaf or two.




Heat the oil in the saucepan and add the onion and cook gently for 6 minutes. Add carrots and potato and sweat in the saucepan gently for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally so the vegetables do not stick to the bottom of the pan. When the vegetables are soft but holding their shape, add stock/water, bring to the boil and simmer for 40 or 45 minutes. 

During the last 5 minutes add a quarter of the prepared coriander. Remove the bay leaf (and rinse and dry to use again). Place the soup in a blender or equivalent and whiz. 

Serve the soup topped with finely chopped coriander and crusty bread or croutons (stale bread cut into small cubes) lightly fried with a crushed garlic clove if you have one tucked away in a bowl. Soup can have more flavour if left for a day because all the ingredients will have permeated the liquid. Never let a soup boil when reheating: it reduces or even loses the flavours.

My basket this week has some luxury items. The melons will make a lovely starter, and on another day a dessert on their own, and in a fruit salad. If there is any melon left, it will be added to breakfast. The pomegranates will be added to Middle Eastern salads of bulgar wheat and one with couscous with the mint, a grated carrot, onion, sultanas and a rich lemon and oil dressing. The potatoes will be made into latkes, potato salad with the lovely mint and jacket potatoes. The remaining coriander will be added to yoghurt to make a riata to accompany a curry, which will use some of the potatoes and the last 2 carrots.

Tip: When making curry. try to make your curry paste the day before so that the flavours infuse with one another. Always cook the potatoes separately, adding them to your vegetable curry dish at the end of cooking.


* Previous spends and recipes, hyperlinked:

21 September 2012

14 September 2012

7 September 2012;

31 August 2012;

24 August 2012;

17 August 17 2012;

15 August 2012


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