Food stylist Natalie Bell (082 575 4411) serves up English country food with spicy accents for a memorable winter lunch



  • 30g butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 450g carrots, peeled and chopped into equal-sized chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 15ml cake flour
  • 900ml good quality vegetable stock
  • 60ml creamed coconut
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • seeds of 8 cardamom pods, crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 10ml granulated sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • toasted fresh coconut shavings and olive oil, to serve


1. Melt the butter and cook the onion, carrots and garlic gently in a large covered saucepan for 5 minutes; the vegetables should look braised and buttery. Add the flour and cook for a further 2 minutes.
2. Stir in the stock, creamed coconut and lemon juice. Cover and bring to the boil, then simmer gently until the vegetables are cooked, about 15 minutes.
3. Cool the mixture a little, then purée it in a liquidiser until smooth. Add the freshly crushed cardamom and sugar and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
4. When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and sprinkle with toasted coconut shavings and a drizzle of your favourite olive oil.

Cook’s tip: Fresh coconut shavings can easily be toasted quickly in a dry pan.

This recipe serves 6.