Sunday, July 20, 2008

Comfort In A Bowl

...and just like that, the weather turned on us. A week or so ago, me and Daniel went to Unterföhringer See for an evening swim, and the sun shone beautifully, with hardly even a breeze in the air. While enjoying the sunset and waiting for the bus to take us back home, a storm blew in from nowhere. In about two minutes flat, the weather went from serene, quiet and warm to howling-mad raining, with thunder and lightning as company. By the time we got home we were both soaking wet from running in the rain, trying to avoid getting hit over the head by pieces of old trees having got caught by the storm.

Thank God for the wine and Midsomer Murders episode we had waiting for us at home.

Although the weather calmed down a bit, it has stayed pretty much the same for a week or so, and everyone's missing the sun. With this kind of weather you don't really want to eat salads or fresh pastas, but rather something more comforting and warming. And what can be better than soup?

Daniel's mum gave me a wonderful cookbook this past Christmas, called Soppor, bröd och röror (Soup, bread and spreads), written by the two sisters Lisa Eisenman Frisk and Monica Eisenman. The book is divided into three parts (guess which ones), and every recipe comes with a suggested soup, bread and spread. Daniel suggested we make the lentil soup, and I'm not one to turn down lentils, so I jumped at the opportunity. The recipe was very simple and straightforward, and it turned out just lovely.


As you can probably guess from the picture, I made pita bread to go with the soup, and Daniel made a lovely hummus that I can't stop thinking about -- it was sooo good! -- but today is all about the soup. If you serve the it with bread and some sort of spread you can easily feed four hungry persons, but the soup alone will feed only two. Unless you're not that hungry.

Oriental Lentil Soup, from Soppor, bröd och röror by Lisa Eisenman Frisk and Monica Eisenman

1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp oil, for frying
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
150 ml red lentils
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
400 g / 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato puree
1 medium carrot
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2 stalks of celery
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley


Peel, chop and fry the onion and garlic in a saucepan for a couple minutes, until soft. Stir in the spices.
Rinse the lentils and put in saucepan. Add the stock, chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Peel and dice the carrot, peppers and celery, stir into the soup and let simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. If needed, add more stock. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the parsley just before serving.


We both really loved this soup, and the pita and hummus paired perfectly and made the meal more substantial. The heat from the chilies that I missed in the soup, Daniel put in the hummus instead. Next time I'll definitely add some more heat to the soup, but unless you're a chili nut, you don't have to.

No comments: