Growing up in Australia, I never remember doing anything for Halloween and it still surprises me how much of a deal it has become here in the UK. But it is a great excuse to let your imagination run free and add some fun to your meals, something that Nicholas is appreciating more and more.
I saw the idea for the olive spiders on Pinterest quite a while ago and loved how simple yet effective they are (I so adore Pinterest for getting the creative juices flowing!). And where there are spiders, there has to be spider webs, and ‘drawing’ a yogurt web on a bowl of soup is super easy.
I was originally thinking of making a butternut squash soup I regularly make in the colder months, but then I came across the lovely Blue’s recipe for a wonderfully thick and lightly spiced carrot and red lentil soup. It’s the perfect soup to continue my ‘crusade’ to add some spice to Nicholas’ palate!
I usually use homemade stock for soups, but if you use the freshest ingredients, you can actually get away with just using water instead of stock (add a bit more seasoning though).
SPIDER WEB CARROT AND LENTIL SOUP
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
A pinch of chilli flakes
600g carrots, washed but not peeled, coarsely grated
1 onion, roughly chopped
140g red lentils
1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Plain yoghurt to serve
Black kalamata olives to decorate
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the cumin, coriander and chilli flakes. After a minute or so, when you can smell the spices, add the chopped onion and carrot. Season to taste. Stir and let fry gently for a couple of minutes.
Add the hot stock, lentils and milk. Bring almost to the boil then drop the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and cooked. Check if you need to add more seasoning.
Puree the soup until smooth.
To serve, use a spoon to make a spiral of yogurt on top of each bowl of soup (or use a piping bag if you want to be more precise). Then make more yogurt lines starting in the centre and lightly dragging them to the edge to create a web-like pattern.
Decorate with olive spiders by using half an olive for the body and slices of the other olive half for legs.
How are you letting your creativity shine for Halloween?