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Vegan Apple + Fennel Soup by Lee Holmes

On a summery July morning Ariana, our editor-in-chief met Lee holmes in the planet organic on Essex Road while she was promoting one of her new 'love your gut' powders. After twenty minutes of talking food, travel in America and gut health we knew we wanted to share one of her beautiful recipes. Lee Holmes is a nutritionist, yoga teacher and chef. Not only does she love using whole foods ingredients but she also encourages s.o.l.e. food: sustainable, organic, local and ethical. It was a new term for us and we were keen to share it with all of you! We've asked lee to share a recipe that has ingredients easy to find at your local farmers market. 

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With this delicious supercharged soup there’s no such thing as pot luck. The aniseed flavour of the fennel and the apple combine perfectly on autumn nights to cosy up your insides. I’ve also garnished the soup with slices of dried apple. Simply roast some thinly sliced apple pieces in a 160°C (315°F) oven for 15–20 minutes, until dried.

Serves Approx. 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 small fennel bulbs, with fronds
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) good-quality chicken, vegetable or bone broth,
4 granny smith or seasonal apples, peeled and chopped
juice of 1 lemon
coconut cream or coconut yoghurt, to serve

1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery and garlic for 3–4 minutes, or until softened.
2.Meanwhile, remove the fronds from the fennel and reserve for garnishing. Dice the fennel bulbs and set aside.
3. Add the mustard to the pan, stirring well. Stir in the stock, fennel and apple.
4. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
5. Cover and cook for 30–35 minutes, or until the fennel is tender.
6. Leave to cool slightly, then purée the soup using a food processor or hand-held stick blender. Whisk in the lemon juice, then season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Gently reheat the soup, if needed.
7. Ladle into bowls, add a swirl of coconut cream, garnish with the reserved fennel fronds and serve.

Recipe by Lee Holmes from her cookbook, Supercharge Your Gut (Murdoch Books, £14.99)
Photography by Steve Brown