Cook what you grow... Cream of lentil soup

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THIS is a hearty, delicious soup for hard times and it’s great for using up the last of any stored veg.

It’s also very adaptable – use the white roux sauce as a base for whatever you have.

The recipe was given to my gran at the beginning of the Second World War by a chef in Whitley Bay hotel.

It was a great favourite then, as it didn’t use up many points or coupons.

My mam and I tend to enrich the basic recipe with full-fat milk or cream at the end and a selection of mixed herbs.

My gran served it with plain dumplings cooked in the soup – fluffy and light as a feather.

Place half a pound of lentils in a large saucepan and cover nearly to the top of the pan with cold water.

Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the top.

Add diced carrots, sliced onions, celery flakes (or chopped fresh celery), pepper and salt. Simmer until the veg are tender, topping up liquid if it becomes dry.

To thicken, in a small pan, make a roux with six level tablespoons of plain flour and one and a half oz of margarine.

Melt together and mix over a low heat until smoothly blended.

Gradually add approximately half a pint of milk, blending into a smooth sauce.

When it is mixed and almost boiling, add the roux to the soup, bring back to the boil and simmer until needed.