I call these Fruits of the Dark Forest Meringues because the meringue has some kirsch and cocoa in it – like a Black Forest Gateau. But it’s topped with a different selection of fruit. There’s no cherries in it.
What do you get if you combine an Aubergine Gateau with some sweet tapenade, some rice and some puy lentils? You get a Mediterranean Veggie Bake. Very easy, very healthy, very filling – and quite cheesy.
This split pea soup is a bit of an experiment. And it’s not actually ready yet. So hopefully we’ll know by the end of the post if it’s a good one or not.
I think that apple and smoked cheese should go really well together. Although past experiments have not worked well, I’m quietly confident about this one.
I wanted to make a really tasty vegetarian soup. I was going to use Puy Lentils because they’re so high in protein. And then I noticed the split peas at the back of the cupboard and thought “oh yellow, yellow apples and cheese…”.
The apples I’m using aren’t yellow though. I really wasn’t sure what would work so I have used one sweet Pink Lady apple and one completely tart cooking apple. I was thinking of making them into a sweet sharp stew that I would top the soup with – and make it sweet with the honey. But then I thought it would be so much easier to chop them in the mixer and add them in. I already know I like this taste. I love sharp sour tastes. It is sharp but it is also sweetish. So I probably won’t be adding any honey. (Although it is in the ingredients photo.)
Is it going to work with smoked cheese? That is the question. And to be honest I think what made me plump for the split peas is that they taste so good with smoky flavours. I really hope it does or this is going to make for a very out-of-place introduction to the recipe.
But if it doesn’t work I’ve a mild and sweet goat’s cheese that I can use instead. I love goat’s cheese. And I find it easier to digest than cow’s. But I’ve tasted the smoked cheddar cheese (made with raw cow’s milk and vegetarian rennet) and it is mm… yummily good!
Is the addition of cheese just about increasing the protein in this?
I like cheese. More and more so the older I get. I really crave it. Maybe I need the calcium. I know people say that adults have issues absorbing calcium from dairy products. I’m not sure I fully believe that. Why am I craving cheese?
OK. Yes. Partly the addition of cheese into this soup featuring legumes, is about increasing the amount of protein. Without the cheese the soup offers about 4g protein per serving. With the cheese it offers about 13g of protein per serving. That’s a pretty impressive increase, don’t you think?
Although I might be using a different cheese…
The thing about Puy Lentils is not only are they chock-full of protein they also cook in 40 minutes. Split peas take at least twice as long. But I think they’re going to taste best with the apple and smoked cheese.
And they do!!! This tastes great! Well, hope you think so too.
Vegetarian Split Pea Soup with Apple and Smoked Cheese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Serving Size: Serves 4
2 small onions
3 celery sticks
few sprigs of thyme
150g yellow split peas
1 large cooking apple
1 sweet and crisp apple , (plus one more for garnish if you like)
150g smoked cheese, grated, (cheddar or gouda will work well)
salt (if you don't have any vegetable stock use a seasoned salt mix)
1.5 litres vegetable stock (or water - just be sure to add in more seasoning if using water)
Peel and chop up the onion and carrot. Chop up the celery. Mix in the blender till you have a mince of the vegetables.
Heat some oil and and a little butter in a deep pot. Add in the minced onion, carrot and celery. Sprinkle over a good pinch of salt the thyme. Leave to sweat for a few minutes on gentle-moderate heat.
Peel and core the apples. Mince them in the blender and add into the pot.
Rinse and drain the split peas in a sieve. Add into the pot with 1.5 litres of water or stock. Bring to boil. Let boil for 10 minutes and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and leave until the peas are soft. May take a good 1.5 hours. If it needs more liquid add in some water but be sure to add in more seasoning too if needed.
When the peas are soft enough, remove the pot from the heat. Let it cool for a minute or two before using a hand blender to blend to a smoothish consistency.
Stir in four-fifths of the grated cheese.
Serve with a thin slice or two of sweet apple and some grated smoked cheese.