Two lentil soup
The last couple of weeks have been busy with food events and other local activities. First was the International women’s Day dinner organized by local chef Aman Dosanj. You can read about here.
Next, our “foodie crew” attended a cooking class at Mission Hill Winery, the Tuscan-like sprawling estate on top of the hill overlooking the Okanagan lake. Recently,Vancouver Magazine declared the winery “the anchor piece of architecture in the entire Valley”, and for good reason. At the cooking class, Chef Adam Vaughan cooked spring fare that was quite inspiring, matched with Mission Hill wines selected by their in-house Sommelier Arnaud Baril. I’ll share a recipe from the class in my next newsletter. Sign up (on the right column) if you wish to receive exclusive recipes and hear from me every now and then about my world adventures.
Next was a annual general meeting for the Kelowna Opera. I was invited to attend the meeting by the stylish and ultra talented founding artistic director Dr. Alexandra Babbel. Kelowna opera is in its fourth year of operation and getting the national and international attention it deserves thanks to the gifted artistic director and a hard working and enthusiastic board of directors. The main production this year is Puccini’s La Boheme, on stage August 18 and 19.
At the end of the meeting we were invited to sample exceptional chocolates hand crafted by professional chocolatier Peter Johner, a Swiss Canadian who although retired, takes special orders for his chocolates during the winter, especially at Christmas. We sampled delicious chocolates and truffles, my favourite being chocolate covered plums picked from his back yard, macerated in whiskey, covered with ganache made with the macerating liquid and then dipped in tempered chocolate. I could have had more than one but restrained myself in consideration of the other guests. I did taste a few other varieties and wish I had them in front of me right now. To place your order email Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to the kitchen. The weather is still cloudy and grey and soup is still appropriate for dinner. A quick and hearty soup may sound like an oxymoron but not in this case. Red lentils cook very quickly to velvety softness and comforting flavour with a little texture added by the green lentils and vegetables. I keep the flavour simple but you can bring the level of spice up to your taste with “silk road” spices such as cumin, coriander, cardamom, fenugreek and curry. The colour of the soup comes from the turmeric I added at the beginning, to allow it to permeate the lentils and create the luminous golden hue.
So, are you going to try it?
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 celery rib celery, with leaves attached, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 cup green or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
6-8 cups stock or water
Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, add the onion and cook until translucent.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the carrots and celery and cook until they begin to soften.
Add turmeric and cumin and stir to blend.
Add the lentils and stir.
Add stock and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer until the lentils are cooked through, about 30 minutes, adding more stock or water as needed.
Add salt and pepper top taste.
Garnishes: spiced oil, cashew cream or chopped flat leaf parsley.