For the past two nights I have been woken by the early morning rains. We haven't had much rain (in Sydney, sadly I can't say the same for parts of QLD and Victoria) in past months. So when I hear it on the roof, I lay quietly listening to it falling and enjoying the stillness of the house, after all it is usually around 4.30 am.
Since breaking my ankle I have to wear shorts. I could wear skirts if I had them but lets face it, I'm not really a swoosh, swoosh skirt kinda girl.
With the mornings cool and rainy, I want nothing more than to pull on a pair of favourite jeans so I can feel snug and warm. It's not that I'm cold, it's more the comfort factor I'm after. I love my shorts, but they are no comfy jeans!
Last week another fave blogger of mine TKW blogged about lentils and I was reminded of how much I love eating lentils. Then, I wondered why it was that I haven't made them in months? They are pretty simple to whip up, full of nutrition AND my kids will eat them up without complaints. A no brainer really......
Feeling like I need a comfort blanket wrapped around me I decided I'd make a batch of veggie and lentil soup. I revert back to the same recipe for two simple reasons a) It is very simple to make and b) I can load it full of vegetables the boys would not usually eat. The whole vegetable fight really does frustrate me. If I serve roast pumpkin Max will refuse to eat it stating "I hate pumpkin mum, how many times do I have to tell you??", yet he saw me chopping wrinkled mushrooms (again they get the same response), dicing pumpkin, potato and carrot when he cautiously asked me what I was making.
"lentil soup"was my reply.
"Oh the one with yogurt and lemon on top? I LOVE that soup!"
This is when I couldn't resist asking him why then does he say he HATES pumpkin, mushrooms etc..?
"Oh, I don't know. But when it is in this soup it just tastes yummy" with that he turns and runs off to play more of his Harry Potter game with Alex and I'm left none the wiser.
My recipe is very much slap dash but it seems to work. I know your suppose to soak lentils but today I just went ahead and cooked them straight out of the bag. It takes a little longer but nothing to worry about, especially when it is a rainy, dull day outside. If you are going to make this, I'd advise to make a big pot, because the flavours just keep on getting better. Guess what the boys will be having for school lunch tomorrow with a few carrot sticks and tortillas to sop it up with!
Brown lentil and veggie soup*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 1/2 cups brown lentils
2 teaspoons salt
4 potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
11/2 cups pumpkin, peeled and diced
5 mushrooms, diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4-5 cups beef stock (or vegetable....even water is fine)
In a large pot, heat oil on medium heat then add onion, garlic and garam masala. Stir for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
Add lentils and salt then continue to stir until lentils are well coated, about 3 minutes.
Add all your vegetables and sweat for 5 minutes, then add your stock, making sure the liquid covers your veggies and lentils by at least half and inch.
Bring to the boil, stir then reduce to a medium low heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check your lentils are softening then continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes.
Once your lentils are soft but not falling apart and your vegetables are all soft, grab a stick blender (or potato masher) and blitz it for a few seconds, just to make a soother consistency. Turn off the heat and proceed with the next step.
1 tablespoon oil or butter
1 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander, ground
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
Heat a separate saucepan on medium heat.
Add oil and add onions, stir to combine and leave for 1-2 minutes.
Add ginger, garlic and saute on low for 3 minutes.
Add remaining spices, stir to combine and cook for a further 3 minutes on low heat.
Add your onion mixture to your pot of lentils and stir to combine.
Leave standing so the flavours meld together for a few minutes then serve with a drop of natural yogurt, a squeeze of lemon juice and a few chili flakes and fresh coriander (or basil).
* I really do throw in what ever vegetables I want to use up, so one day I'll use parsnip the next it will be beetroot or turnips- any root vegetable is perfect.