Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan

Rich Thai flavours bright enough for a summer’s evening pair beautifully with sweet roasted capsicum and coconut milk. I want to swan-dive into a vast sea of this soup and have to slurp my way out. It’s that good. Be prepared for big, bold bowls of thick, luscious, soup, so desirable you will hope your spoon never hits the bottom.

Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have been lusting after some deep, rich, Thai flavours after reminiscing with Chris about a Thai place that we went to early in our dating days. As well as making a killer chocolate thickshake (I know, weird, but it’s become our yardstick for thickshakes now), they made a rich red Thai curry. Plates heaped with fragrant sauce and colourful vegetables passed by our table multiple times while we were sipping on Chris’s thickshake and waiting for our dinner; unfortunately it wasn’t gluten free but out of curiosity (and lusty taste buds) I needed to experience red curry for myself. I instantly fell in love with the complex nature of red curry, and over the past few months it has been my comfort food of choice. During the long hot days of summer red curry is welcome for its bright, sharp relief and richness, without the cloying creaminess of other classic comfort foods.

Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNow, I know turning the oven on in the middle of summer isn’t very attractive, and standing over a pot of simmering soup even less so. I am one of those people who doesn’t mind turning her oven on even on the hottest of days, and I am forever grateful we have a super air-conditioner. If you are not thus inclined (or blessed), you can take a short cut and use roasted capsicum from the delicatessen, and the soup only needs to simmer for about thirty minutes before you can take a break from the heat and let the soup, and your body, cool down. In those thirty minutes you can stand underneath the air-conditioning and become an icicle once more. When the scent of ginger, lemongrass, and chilli starts wafting from your kitchen, all you need to do is pour a glass of crisp white wine, and open the kitchen window a little wider to let the summer night breeze in.

Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup

Vegan | Gluten Free | Serves 2-3 and is easily doubled

Note: to make this super quick you can use pre-cooked capsicum from the deli. You will need about 8 large pieces for this recipe.

WARNING: DO NOT BLEND HOT SOUP.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium red capsicums (see note)
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 small washed potatoes
  • 1 long red chilli
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste (I use Ayam)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • Coriander leaves for serving

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Cut out the core of the capsicums, chop into four slices, and lay each piece skin-side up on the lined baking sheet. Cook until skin starts to blister and pull away from the flesh, this should take about 20 minutes. Place capsicum in a plastic container and loosely cover with the lid and a tea towel. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Once the capsicum is cooled, peel the skin off the capsicum pieces and chop roughly.
  3. While the capsicum is cooking, peel and dice the onion, carrots, garlic and potatoes. Finely dice the red chilli and discard the seeds.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and add onion, carrots, garlic and potatoes. Cook, while stirring, until the onion is translucent. Add chopped capsicum, red curry paste and black pepper. Stir until coated and cook for a further five minutes.
  5. Add vegetable stock and bring soup to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and allow to bubble away for thirty minutes, or until potato and carrot are quite soft.
  6. Remove soup from the heat and allow to cool completely before blending in batches, or using a stick blender to purée until smooth.
  7. Place soup back over a low heat and add coconut milk. Reheat until gently bubbling. Serve with extra coconut milk and a sprinkling of coriander leaves.

Thai Red Curry Roasted Capsicum Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeTell me, dear reader, are you a fan of Thai food? Do you have any Thai dishes you like to make at home, or are your take-out menu favourites?

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf (gluten free)

Chris and I are going away later this week. We are not travelling far, nor for very long, but we are taking a break and getting out of town. We need some time away from our respective offices, ringing phones, and schedules. Some time just to walk on the beach, lie about with a book, and snooze in the midday sunshine. We are lucky enough to be able to go up to the Sunshine Coast and spend a few days there in a midwinter recharge before we come back and finish off our holidays with a few days of stay-cation.

Usually when I have a few days of holiday I set myself lofty goals to achieve, and I end up stressing myself out when I don’t achieve them all. This time I am setting myself only one goal: take each day as it comes and treat each one as a gift. I am going for low stress, high relaxation reward and maximum time in the winter sunshine.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I baked this loaf last Friday night while I was home alone rattling around in the kitchen listening to podcasts. Jess and I enjoyed thick slices with our warm beverages on Saturday morning at the markets and the rest of the loaf is tightly wrapped and waiting in the freezer for slow, lazy holiday breakfasts where I have time to linger with a book and a whole pot of tea to myself. I might even pack a slice or two to nibble when I get back from a morning beach walk. It feels like a holiday bread: coconut and fruit always remind me of waving palm trees and cool waves lapping against the sand.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The coconut in this cake is subtle but layered. Coconut milk, coconut essence, coconut flour, and toasted shredded coconut are all featured and the creamy sweetness is paired with slightly tart raspberries in a breakfast bread that is not too sweet. The crumb is fluffy from the presence of the coconut milk and coconut flour, the top of the bread is browned and sweet like all good crusts should be. Each bite is filled with strands of toasted coconut that lend a little crunch. It pairs perfectly with a cappuccino, or a pot of Irish breakfast tea. This is a quickly made quick bread too. I whisked the ingredients together in about 15 minutes and the largest amount of time was taken up by the baking, which the oven took care of while I put my feet up and started a new book.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A few notes before baking: this loaf is gluten free, so that everyone in my house (especially me) can enjoy a slice. If you do not require it to be gluten free you can always use 280 grams (about two cups) of plain flour in place of the brown rice flour, white rice flour, and almond meal. I would not suggest replacing the coconut flour as it is important to the texture and flour of the loaf. Coconut flour is becoming easier to find now too. You can buy it from health food stores, and recently I discovered two different brands in my local supermarket. If you are using frozen raspberries do not thaw them before adding them to the mixture. When thawed they are very fragile and break up easily, which will discolour your batter. You can buy pre-toasted coconut strands in the supermarket, but I save my money and toast my own. Simply spread out onto a cookie sheet and toast in the oven as it preheats. Shake every minute or two to ensure the coconut colours evenly. Toast until most strands are changed from white to a light tan. Remove from oven and allow to cool until required. Now, I think you’re ready to get into the baking!

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf

Gluten Free | Makes 8-10 slices | Will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days | Freeze well-wrapped for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 100 grams brown rice flour + 1 tablespoon extra
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 60 grams coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk (not coconut cream)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon coconut essence
  • 2/3 cup toasted shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries fresh or frozen (not thawed)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Butter and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin. Set aside until required.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond meal, coconut flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Reserve 1 tablespoon of coconut to top the bread and whisk the remainder through the dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate medium mixing bowl whisk together milk, coconut milk, eggs, caster sugar, rice bran oil, vanilla essence, and coconut essence. Whisk until well combined.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. In a small bowl combine raspberries and extra tablespoon of brown rice flour. Shake until all berries are covered. This will stop them from sinking in the batter.
  7. Gently stir berries into batter. Take care not to break them up too much.
  8. Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth top slightly. Sprinkle reserved coconut across top.
  9. Place in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool on a rack before slicing.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Curried Carrot, Lentil, and Coconut Soup

The act of making soup in the middle of the week is a perfect relaxant, no drugs required. Even though a bowl of hearty nourishing soup can take just 45 minutes from chopping board to table you feel like you have accomplished a task that should have taken all day. We are just recovering from the shock of going back to work after two long weekends back-to-back – serendipitous events of the calendar happen every now and again – and that shock requires soothing, seemingly labour-intensive-but-not-really recipes to help us sink back into the rhythm of the week.

Curried Carrot, Lentil, and Coconut Soup | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten Free

When I saw this easy spicy carrot soup recipe while paging through a neglected cookbook that has now found itself shuffled over to the cottage by the bay I knew I had the perfect back-to-work dinner recipe. All the ingredients were in the cupboard already and I had only to chop and sauté for a few moments before I could leave the pot bubbling away merrily to itself. A shower and change out of my running clothes, and a welcome home kiss for Chris later and the soup was thick and ready to be ladled generously into bowls and be anointed with a final drizzle of coconut milk. In the dark of the night in our little house we slurped and dipped and nourished ourselves with conversation and spicy sweet soup. Every day is like a weekend when you share a meal with the one you love.

This Curried Carrot, Lentil, and Coconut Soup is thick and slightly chunky, layered with spices, and slightly sweetened by light coconut milk. It comes together in barely the time it takes to unpack the groceries. Once you have softened the onions and leeks you add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer away. Thirty minutes later you add the coconut milk, ladle the soup into your favourite bowls, and serve with an extra drizzle of coconut milk and maybe some toast (or bacon as Chris enjoyed his). Then, enjoy.

Curried Carrot, Lentil, and Coconut Soup | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten Free

Curried Carrot, Lentil, and Coconut Soup

Adapted from Delicious: Home Cooking by Valli Little

Vegan. Gluten Free. Serves 4 generously.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion, chopped
  • 2 leeks (white parts only), chopped
  •  5 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry powder (I used Keen’s)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk, plus extra to serve

Method

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and leek and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes until the onion is softened but not colouring.
  2. Add carrots, garlic, spices, tomato paste, lentils, and vegetable stock. Stir well.
  3. Bring soup to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. When the carrot is well softened and the tender red lentils have broken down the soup is ready. I mashed mine slightly with a potato masher, you can use a stick blender to purée to a smooth consistency, but I like my soup a little chunky and textured.
  5. Stir through coconut milk and ladle into bowls. Drizzle over extra coconut milk to serve.
  6. The leftovers will keep for 2 days covered in the refrigerator. Reheat well before eating.

Curried Carrot, Lentil, and Coconut Soup | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten Free

Random Thoroughly Nourished Family story: When my mother was born the doctor thought she was jaundiced because she was orange all over; however, it turns out it was actually carotenaemia caused by my grandmother’s insatiable appetite for carrots while she was pregnant. Or so the family legend goes. The result of this incident is that my mother now refuses to eat any orange vegetables: pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots – anything that lies on the spectrum between red and yellow is not on her menu. Except pumpkin soup (secretly I think this is because it is an excuse to eat lots of bread and butter all in the name of ‘dipping’…this may be genetic…).