With the weather taking a swift and decisive turn for the Autumnal, the appeal of salad and other such meals diminishes rapidly to be replaced by a desire for soups and other heartier fayre.
I know it is only August and that theoretically we have another couple of weeks before the short sleeves are replaced with jumpers and the barbecue is packed away for another year but the last few days have seen winds whipping through the branches and a significant dip in the temperature. Blackberries, perhaps the most evocative of Autumn fruits, have started to ripen to a vivid purple and the apple trees in the overgrown orchard next door are beginning to bear fruit, albeit a touch on the sour side – not that it will prevent us from making a batch of cider.
A triumvirate of peppers – one red, one green and one yellow – have sat in the vegetable draw for the past few weeks and yesterday seemed like a good opportunity to use them before they make that inevitable transition from edible to compostable.
I find raw peppers hugely unappealing, but roasted they take on a complexity of flavour that belies their uncooked state. They sweeten and lose the bitterness that makes them so unappetizing. They make great antipasti simply dribbled with olive oil, with a few grains of sea salt scattered over the top but I felt that something more filling was appropriate.
After they had been roasted, I added them to a pan with an onion and three or four cloves of garlic that had been gently sweating away for about ten minutes. Two tins of plum tomatoes, a little smoked paprika and some seasoning and you have a soup that can bubble away gently for an hour before it needs blitzing.
Alongside the soup I cooked a couple of generous handfuls of green lentils which are not only cheap but also wonderfully filling. These were stirred into the soup just before serving with a chunk of sourdough The result was a warming autumnal meal for an unseasonably autumnal day.