Cheers to Friday!
This one’s for the South Africans who, like me, have been freezing lately. Being from Illinois, I’m pretty used to the cold, in fact, I love it. I love boots (in case you hadn’t picked up on that one…), soups, tea, red wine, snow, etc. Winter is splendid. It used to be all about the holidays and Christmas for me, but since I moved to the Southern hemisphere and Christmas became a summer holiday, I think what I love the most now, are the fashion and food changes. I adore all seasonal changes, but there’s something so comforting about cold weather food, and as for fashion transitions, well I’ll take any excuse to go shopping.
Last night I made an old favorite of mine that was originally inspired by a tasty tomato lentil soup I had at Olympia Cafe in Kalk Bay once upon a wintry day. This soup is delicious, healthy and even better the next day. Enjoy it with some fresh bread and red wine for comforting winter dinner or lunch.
Italian Tomato Lentil Soup Recipe
1 cup of dried brown lentils
2 TBS of cooking oil (preferably coconut oil)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of minced garlic, plus 1 clove*
1 large carrot, grated
2 ½ tsp of Oregano
1 tsp of Thyme
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp of Cayenne Pepper if you like a bit of heat
Splash of red wine
1 can of tomato puree (if you can find in a carton, that is preferred, tins aren’t great)
1 can of chopped tomatoes + their juice (again, carton is preferred)
3 tsp of sugar or sweetener of choice (just make sure it equates to the sweetness of 3 tsp of sugar)
4-5 cups of vegetable broth or stock (Kallo is my favorite) depending on how thin or chunky you want the soup
Salt and pepper
2 TBS of chopped fresh basil and more for garnish (optional)
1) Place 1 cup of dried brown lentils in a bowl, cover with plenty of water and soak overnight. The lentils will absorb most of the water so be sure they are submerged at least 2 inches under water.
2) After soaking, drain and rinse the lentils very well.
3) Heat oil in a soup pot, if using coconut oil, allow it to melt. Add onion and stir with a wooden spoon until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes, reduce heat to medium.
4) Add the 3 cloves of garlic and grated carrot to the onions and stir for an additional 2 minutes.
5) Add oregano, thyme, bay leaves and cayenne pepper and mix thoroughly. Then add a splash of red wine (preferably from the glass you’re sipping on) to deglaze the bottom of the pot and give the mixture a stir.
6) Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, sugar and lentils to pot, stir and bring to a simmer. Then add the stock and bring to a simmer again and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and let the soup cook for 30-40 minutes, giving it a stir every few minutes to ensure it isn’t burning on the bottom.
7) After 30 minutes, have a little taste and adjust the flavour with salt and pepper. Then, stir in the remaining clove of garlic* and basil, and allow the soup to simmer for 2 more minutes.
8) Garnish with basil leaf, serve and enjoy!
*note: I am a garlic fiend. The more garlic the merrier, in my book. I like to add a bit of garlic at the end for a stronger flavor, but use your discretion when you taste the soup to see if this is necessary.
And now for the clothes… The beauty of South African winters is that they’re cold enough to wear winter clothes, but not so cold that you have to cover up with a massive parka. Here are some winter looks I’m loving and excited to wear this winter. (side note: if I could pick one boutique to stock my closet for the rest of my life, it would be Free People . A girl can dream).
Free Bird by Steven Phoenix Boot at Free People
Faux fur vests and knit hats (source)
Boot Socks (source)
Floppy felt hats with knits (source). My boyfriend is not a fan of my floppy hat, but I think it looks amazing with over-sized knits and is a fun winter accessory. Psh…boys…
Stay warm or get a tan depending on where you are! But most importantly, enjoy your weekend!