Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spiced Lentil Soup

With our first winter storm en route to Ottawa and the first signs of a sinus cold creeping in, I decided a warming soup was just what I needed.  I went back to an older recipe - I have no idea where it came from - that I used to make more often than I do now.  I think maybe the Mister didn't love it back then, so I stopped making it.  His taste buds have changed so dramatically since moving here, that I'm thinking it's time to reintroduce it.  He is away for the time being, so I made a half batch for myself and my developing cold.
This soup introduced me to lentils, wee tiny du Puy Lentils that I could get at Pete's Frootique in Halifax.  I found these at the Bulk Barn (non GMO yay!) just labelled as 'Organic French Lentils'

The ingredients are aromatic and I hope they give my cold a good solid punch

I love that soup tastes bright and flavourful right away.  Our general rule here, is that soup tastes better the next day, but here you don't have to wait!

You could add more veggies to this to bulk it up - if I had baby spinach right now, I'd throw a handful of that in.   I have no excuse for not having a better selection of veggies, working at a grocery store that has the freshest of the fresh!  However, I do like that there is fairly minimal chopping for a soup so loaded with flavour.

Spiced Lentil Soup

2 Large tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chili, deseeded and minced *
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp turmeric
1 whole star anise
1 cup du Puy lentils, rinsed
4 1/2 cups stock
2 tbsp fish sauce
juice of a lemon
100grams creamed coconut
salt and pepper to taste

     Peel and seed the tomatoes, then chop to a small dice.  Heat oil in large saucepan or stock pot over medium heat.  Saute onion, garlic, chili, cardamom, turmeric and star anise.  Add tomatoes and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in lentils and stock; simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are soft, about 25 minutes.  Add the fish sauce, lemon juice and coconut cream, stirring until the coconut has melted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

* remember to wear gloves when chopping chilis!!!!!

garnished with finely chopped green onions
I hope you give this lovely soup a try on a cold blustery day- xoxox

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Starting early for Christmas

I don't think it's too early for this - after all Remembrance Day has past.  I think limiting Christmas stuff until after that important day is respectful.

Poinsettias!  I had Pinned a link to Sweetsugarbelle's tutorial on some adorable little poinsettias, some time ago.  I thought they seemed a little easier than the Wilton ones I used to make.  I had some leftover royal icing from another project, so these were the first thing to come to mind.

I used the handy template that came with the tutorial, but I did find that the tip #66 tricky to use - I've never had much success making leaves with a #66 or #67.  I switched to a #352 and had a much better go of it.  Once you get piping, they really go quite quickly.  It will be great when it comes time to bake for Christmas and these will be ready to pop on cookies or cupcakes.

I also didn't have the gold sugar sprinkles, so I shook my plain clear sprinkles with some gold lustre.  Worked like a charm!

These aren't quite finished yet - I have to get ready for work, so they will have to wait for another day.  I will add a little leaf to the side for a splash of complementary colour.
When finished I shall post more pictures.

Give these sweet little flowers a try and if you don't always have all the items you need - look around, sometimes you can substitute with great results!

Here is a direct link to the tutorial - it's beautifully done!   Tutorial - Sweetsugarbelle