Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Reports of winter's demise premature.

Here, Saturday was the coldest September day in seven years.

So the soups and stews haven't quite gone away yet. (Not that there's anything wrong with soups and stews in warmer weather. One of my favourite hot weather dishes is a curry so hot it has you sweating.)

We made a lentil and vegetable soup like this:

Brown lentils soaked overnight.

Next day, into a large pot with a couple of meaty beef soup bones or some gravy beef. (Meat optional, use your favourite stock.)

Cook for an hour, skim if necessary.

Add a chopped onion, a stick of chopped celery, half a diced carrot, a potato chopped into small cubes and a scored clove of garlic.

Add a teaspoon each of cumin and dried coriander, a generous dessertspoon of tomato paste and a good sprinkling of sumac, say half a tablespoon. Salt and pepper.

Cook for another hour. Remove bones, remove and shred meat, return meat to soup.

This made a nice Saturday lunch with crusty bread after a shopping trip to the market where, despite the weather, we still managed coffee in the outdoor mall. A coat and scarf does wonders. The regular guy selling the socialist workers' newspaper was being severely upstaged by the Greens who, like the major parties, are into full election mode. Stickers everywhere, pamphlets blowing around in the wind, shocking waste of trees.

However, both groups were upstaged by the First Moreland Scout Group fund-raising sausage sizzle stall. The aroma of onions and sausages drifting across the mall was almost irresistible ... they were doing some serious business.

I saw one of the Greens tucking into a sausage. Reducing meat consumption is in their platform. Then again, how much meat is there in a sausage?

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