Lentil Curry Soup

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Soup is truly a divine gift. It’s one of the most versatile meals to make because of it’s ‘throw it in the pot’ attitude. Living on the west coast means cold and wet winters, falls and springs. It means hot comforting meals are served on many an occasion. I think one of the reasons I enjoy soup so much because there are just so many different kinds! So many flavours, colours, textures and possible combinations of ingredients all in one pot! To say it bluntly, I. LOVE. SOUP!

My lovely mother makes soup every week, and last weeks soup was lentil curry soup. It was SO. AMAZING. She found it in an old edition of Martha Stewart, and since my mother and I are quite the fans of Martha and all her goodness, she made the soup! Lets just say I wanted to eat it for an entire week. You know you really love something when you could eat it over and over and not get tired of it! The soup is also quite a nasal passages clearer. If you have a cold (like I did) you may want to accompany this soup with a box of tissues. Don’t put the tissues in the soup of course…okay I know you aren’t that silly. I do warn you this soup is a tad spicy, so be prepared.

I know I actually didn’t make this soup, but I thought it was just so delicious it needed to be rewarded. I have a feeling there will be a few more soup recipes to come…

Also, a very happy Easter to you!

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons safflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (4 tablespoons)
  • 2 carrots, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • Coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems, plus 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, shallot, and carrots and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 cup coconut milk, 4 cups water, and the lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils and carrots are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour 2 cups soup through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving solids. Puree strained liquid with remaining soup in a blender until smooth. Reheat after blending. Stir in reserved solids.
  3. Reserving some for garnish, stir cherries and cilantro stems into soup, and ladle into bowls. Swirl in remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk, and garnish with cherries and cilantro leaves.

New York Wandering

Last week I traveled to New York City with thirteen other kids from my high school band, and it was amazing. We saw everything a tourist would see in that lovely city. Walking through Central Park was divine, looking at the city from the top of the Empire State Building was exquisite and listening to the London Philharmonic at Lincoln center was breathtaking. Although this trip was fantastic, not everything can be. It was a school trip, so therefore you are with your good friends and not so good friends. When going on a trip, I am one of those people who wants to do as many things as humanly possible. I want to see, do and experience it all. So naturally during this New York adventure, this was the case. The issue was, that some of my acquaintances did not feel this way. Some decided they would rather sleep the entire trip…which I just do not understand!!

Although New York was breathtakingly beautiful and the architecture was devilishly handsome, there’s just something I love about Canada. Not that I’m biased or anything…

Due to twelve hour days of walking and subway rides, I could sadly not bring my baby…my DSLR camera that is. So here are a few not as top notch as I would like photos from my wanderings through lovely New York City.

IMG_8958      Central Park

IMG_9054     IMG_9023

IMG_9100     IMG_8591

IMG_9117       IMG_9118

IMG_9094

Walnut Cake with Caramelized Walnuts and Chocolate Espresso Sauce

To start off this blog, I thought I would begin with one of my ultimate favourite things! Cake!

 My parents are part of a “fancy dinner club” in my town. There are five couples in it, and once a season they head on over to one of the couples’ houses each with part of the five course meal in hand. You see I am always very jealous because I don’t get to take part in the eating of the ox tail soup, blood orange salad or crazy good looking food.
This time around my parents were hosting the party, but sadly my brother, sister and I were not allowed to eat the feast. Except my Mom let us be the guinea pigs for her course (a very delicious chicken asiago), so that was good. I was still not satisfied though, so I decided to look for a recipe that us kids could eat without feeling too left out. So I of course went to Julia, and found this. Enjoy! We sure did. 🙂

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Gàteau aux Noix-Le Saint-André (Walnut Cake)
from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 2

The Cake
1 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons kirsch (optional)
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Grease and flour a 9 by 9 square cake pan and line the bottom with wax paper.
Grind half the nuts and sugar in a food processor and place in a bowl. Grind other half of nuts and sugar and add to bowl.
Mix in the flower with a rubber spatula and smooth out any lumps.
In a smaller bowl beat the butter till it is a mayonnaise like consistency.

In an electric mixer beat the sugar and eggs with the kirsch and salt for a moment at low speed to blend, then increase speed to high and beat several minutes (it was a good 5-7 minutes for me) until mixture is pale, fluffy, doubled in volume and holds in soft peaks.
Scoop a 2-spoonful dollop of egg mixture into the softened butter and mix with a rubber spatula, being careful to deflate the eggs as little as possible. (my butter wasn’t quite ‘mayonnaise’ enough, so I ended up mixing the life out of it and most definitely deflating the eggs…)
Sprinkle 1/3 of the ground nuts over the egg mixture and delicately fold them in with a rubber spatula. Fold in another 1/3 of the mixture till that is incorporated, than add in the last 1/3.
When the last 1/3 is almost incorporated add the butter mixture and fold that in.
Pour it into the pan and bang lightly on the table.
Bake for 30 minutes.-if you are using a circular pan, the cake is ready when it has sunk slightly leaving a faint line of shrinkage around the edge)
Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the cake and reverse onto a rack. In about 5 minutes the cake will fall out of the pan onto the rack, then peel the paper off.

The Chocolate Espresso Sauce
4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon espresso powder or instant coffee
1 1/2 tablespoons both butter and heavy cream.

Break up the chocolate and combine with water and coffee in a small saucepan.
Stir slowly over medium-high heat until chocolate is melted and smooth, then set inside a bigger saucepan over simmering water and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Beat in cream and butter.

Caramelized Walnuts
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Walnut halves (half a cup)

Oil a baking sheet lightly.
Combine sugar and water in a saucepan set over medium high heat. Swirl pan slowly by its handle, but do not stir sugar with a spoon while liquid is coming to a boil.
Continue swirling for a moment as the liquid boils and changes from cloudy to perfectly clear.
Cover pan, raise heat to high, and boil for several minutes until bubbles are thick and heavy.
Uncover, and continue boiling, swirling gently, until syrup turns a nice caramel brown.

Now just take the pan off the heat and drop the walnuts in and fish them out with a fork. Placing them on the oiled baking sheet. Wait for syrup to cool and you are done!

Top the cake with whip cream and caramelized walnuts, and serve over sauce. ENJOY!