Ingredients

1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 dessert apple, cored and coarsely grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400 g (13 oz) can chopped tomatoes
75 g (3 oz) dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
50 g (2 oz) sultanas
3 teaspoons mild curry paste
1.2 litres (2 pints) boiling vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper
50 g (2 oz) butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
8-12 slices of French bread, depending on size

Instructions

1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary.
2.Put the vegetables, apple, garlic, tomatoes, lentils and sultanas into the slow cooker pot.
3.Add the curry paste, then stir in the boiling stock and add a little salt and pepper.
4.Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or unti the lentils are soft and the carrots are tender.
5.When almost ready to serve, make the croutes.
6.Beat together the butter, garlic and chopped coriander in a bowl.
7.Toast the bread on both sides, then spread with the butter.
8.Ladle the hot soup into soup bowls and serve with the croutes.
9.FOR GINGERED CARROT SOUP, put 500 g (1 lb) diced carrots and a 35 (12 inch) piece of peeled and finely chopped fresh root ginger into the cooker pot with the onion, lentils and curry paste as above, omitting other ingredients.
10. Pour over 1.2 litres (2 pints) boiling vegetable stock and continue as above.
11.Purée with a stick blender, mix in 300 ml (½ pint) and cook on high for 15 minutes until piping hot.
12.Ladle into bowls and serve with swirls of natural yogurt.

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