Nigel Slater’s recipes for yoghurt, wheat, spinach and lentil soup, and for beetroot, orange and yoghurt salad

I’ve began my day with yoghurt, the sharper the higher, for so long as I can keep in mind. It might be a tiny dish of pure white curds eaten with a teaspoon or, as it’s now on the tail finish of winter – in a deep bowl with sliced blood oranges, clusters of jewel-like pomegranate, passionfruit, chia seeds and toasted oats. Most of the time, I finish it that manner, too, with a spoon or two earlier than I climb the steps to mattress. On this home, a day with out yoghurt is just about unthinkable.

On this home, a day with out yoghurt is just about unthinkable

Within the kitchen, I choose the thinner, unstrained model moderately than these which can be thick and creamy, which might typically lack the mandatory refreshing snap of acidity. Right here, yoghurt might discover itself used as a salad dressing; tipped right into a sieve, salted and drained to provide do-it-yourself labne; or stirred right into a lentil soup or hen casserole. A final-minute fizz of acidity to enliven a recipe or just to introduce a little bit concord and stability to a dish.

Yoghurt, wheat, spinach and lentil soup

You may make this soup the day earlier than you propose to eat it if you want, however cease earlier than including the yoghurt. Solely stir within the yoghurt when the soup is off the boil, in any other case the entire thing will curdle. I typically prefer to drop a spoonful of thick yoghurt into every bowl on the desk. Serves 4-6

inexperienced lentils 100g

wheat grains 90g

onions 600g

garlic 2 cloves

olive oil 2 tbsp

cumin seeds 1 tsp

floor coriander 1 tsp

floor cinnamon a pinch

vegetable inventory 1.2 litres

spinach leaves 150g

lemon juice of 1

thick yoghurt 200g

floor turmeric 2 pinches

floor paprika 2 massive pinches

mint 16 medium-sized leaves

Rinse the lentils, put them right into a deep saucepan and canopy with water. Convey to the boil, then decrease the warmth a little bit and allow them to simmer till tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and put aside. Soak the wheat in a bowl of heat water.

In the meantime, peel then roughly chop the onions. Heat the oil in a deep, heavy pan over a average warmth, then add the onions and allow them to cook dinner till tender – a very good 20 minutes. Peel and thinly slice the garlic, add to the onions and, when all is tender, add the cumin seeds, floor coriander and cinnamon. Let the spices cook dinner for a minute or two, then drain the wheat and add it to the pan, along with the vegetable inventory. Convey to the boil, then decrease the warmth and simmer for 20 minutes till the wheat is tender however nonetheless chewy. Stir within the lentils.

Wash the spinach and place it, nonetheless moist, in a deep pan over a excessive warmth, lined tightly with a lid. Let the leaves steam for a few minutes, then flip with kitchen tongs and proceed steaming for a minute or two till they’re tender. Drain and squeeze calmly in your hand to take away many of the water, then roughly chop.

Add the spinach to the soup, then decrease the warmth. Combine collectively the yoghurt with half the lemon juice. Stir into the soup and let the yoghurt heat, taking care to verify the soup doesn’t boil (if it does, your soup will curdle). Add a scattering of turmeric, paprika and chopped mint, verify the seasoning, including the remainder of the lemon juice if you want. Then ladle into heat bowls.

Beetroot, orange and yoghurt salad

Sharp and salty: beetroot, orange and yoghurt salad. {Photograph}: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

A crisp, refreshing salad. Style your dressing as you go; it must be sharp and barely salty. Serves 3 as a facet dish

For the salad:

candy-striped or crimson beetroot 350g, uncooked

carrots 2, medium

cider vinegar 40ml

oranges 2, medium

For the roast beetroots:

small crimson beetroots 250g

olive oil 1 tbsp

For the dressing:

pure yoghurt 5 heaped tbsp

chopped dill 1 tbsp

lemon juice of half

cider vinegar 1 tbsp

olive oil 2 tbsp

To complete:

sesame seeds 1 tbsp

nigella seeds 1 tsp

poppy seeds 1 tsp

Peel the candy-striped beetroot and the carrots, then slice as thinly as you possibly can utilizing a pointy knife, or higher nonetheless, a mandolin, then place them in a mixing bowl. Pour over the cider vinegar and put aside for an hour or longer.

For the roast beetroots, preheat the oven at 200C/gasoline mark 6. Wash however don’t peel the roots. Place a big piece of kitchen foil in a roasting tin, put the beets in the course of the foil and pour over the oil. Season with salt, then carry the foil up round them and scrunch the sides loosely collectively. Bake for 45 minutes till you possibly can pierce them effortlessly with a steel skewer.

Make the dressing: put the yoghurt in a small mixing bowl, add the chopped dill, a little bit salt and black pepper, then beat within the lemon juice, cider vinegar and olive oil and put aside. In a shallow pan over a average warmth, toast the sesame seeds and nigella seeds for a minute or two, till the sesame turns pale gold and begins to odor aromatic, then take away from the warmth and add the poppy seeds.

Peel the oranges with a knife, eradicating any white pith, then slice the fruit thinly. Toss collectively the uncooked beetroot, drained of its vinegar, the oranges and the yoghurt dressing. Reduce the roasted beets in half. Organize the salad on a serving plate and scatter over the seed combination.

Observe Nigel on Instagram @NigelSlater