I’ve lost count of how many cold, dark winter days we’ve had, in succession, this year. I think I’ve burrowed so far down into my nest, finding my way out may be an issue.
This day was no exception plus it was an hour or so before dinner and I hadn’t done much of anything aside from attempting to keep warm. Standing in my pantry searching for inspiration, I was happy that I tend to over stock items like lentils, because they’re an easy fix for a hot, hearty meal. Fresh tarragon from the market earlier in the week, toasted pine nuts ~in and top of the soup, toasted coriander, a little leftover fennel, carrots, sweet onions, and what’s always in our fridge these days, kale. Done.
It’s hard to have soup on a cold day and not wish you had hot bread to go along with it. I remember a soda bread recipe I came across not that far back from this blog. I remembered one key point about the recipe ~ it would take 5 min to get together and only 30 minutes in the oven.
We even had the buckwheat flour and buttermilk from a recipe that Gabriella made a few days ago.
Settled, Yellow Lentil Soup and Rosemary, Almond, Cranraisin Soda Bread would be our dinner ~ in about an hour.
If you’re wondering about the bird’s nest, it’s from a barn that was being taken down, and I was allowed to bring a few of them home with me. Before doing so, they and the location served a beautiful purpose (for me) in their own environment. I’ll be able to share some of those images at a later date.
Now, they are adding more beauty sitting proudly on a shelf in my home waiting for another perfect use. Thank you Richard Stewart of Carriage House Farm and, of course, to the birds who created them for their own hatch-lings.
Yellow Lentil Soup and Rosemary, Almond, Cranraisin Soda Bread
(even the lighting on that day was darker, colder, moody)
Lentil Soup Recipe
2 tbsp. olive oil plus extra for drizzling
1 large sweet onions, roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
2 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted and finely ground
1 tblsp. fresh chopped tarragon, plus extra for garnishing
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tblsp. toasted pine nuts plus extra for garnishing
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1½ cups red lentils, rinsed and drained
Handful of washed, coarsely chopped blanched kale
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add coriander, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add stock/water and lentils and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft, 15–20 minutes.
2. Add the toasted pine nuts and purée with an immersion blender until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Keep warm over low heat.
3. Serve soup topped with kale, tarragon, toasted pine nuts, ground toasted coriander, and a drizzling of olive oil
Rosemary, Almond & Cranraisin Soda Bread Recipe
- 100g buckwheat flour
- 150g all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2-3 sticks of rosemary, shredded
- 1/3 cup cranraisins
- 1/3 cup almonds, cut in small pieces
- 200 ml buttermilk
Heat your oven to 200*C (400*F) with a baking tray inside. I used a bread/pizza stone.
Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the buttermilk and mix. The dough will be sticky, if it’s not, add just a little more buttermilk till it comes together, but still quite sticky.
Turn out the dough on a floured surface and create a bowl. It’s ok that there is a flour on it. Place the dough on a hot tray covered with a baking paper (unless using a seasoned stone), cut a deep “x” on the dough and bake for about 30 minutes or until browned and hollow sounding when tapped.
Mine took about 38 minutes.
Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
This recipe makes a smallish bread of about 8 inches in diameter, that it is very dense and very filling.