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Sunshine in your belly

                                                       From start to finish . . . the delicious spiced lentil and lemon soup, ideal for the winter

What's cooking with Lisa Brink

AS I WRITE this, international news channels are showing spectacular footage of the Niagara Falls frozen solid, and the Internet is awash with creative interpretations of the extreme weather conditions. Some of these video clips are very clever. I was intrigued, for example, to watch a man step outside in the bitter, US cold, holding a wet T-shirt aloft. Within 60 seconds, the shirt was frozen solid, and he was able to balance it upright on the ground like a mannequin.

I also loved a chilly, young mother's pictorial account of blowing soap bubbles with her kids, only to see them instantly form crystal-like spheres, filigreed with intricate, snowflake patterning.

Along with these creative demonstrations, there were others that were not that well executed. During this period, hospital emergency rooms reported a surge of patients admitted with severe burns, caused by hapless snow bunnies seriously scalding themselves, as they threw kettles of boiling water in the air to see how quickly it would turn to snow.

Of course, the weather in Israel hasn't been anywhere near as extreme, but you'd think otherwise based on our preoccupation with this year's unseasonably icy winter.

I am the first to admit that I'm a total wimp when it comes to the cold and, the lower the temperature drops, the less inclined I am to even leave the house. 'When cold … make soup' is my motto, and my giant soup pot has been a permanent feature on my stovetop the whole winter through. The truth is that, it won't be very long before the need for warming soup, turns into an awareness that the weather itself is distinctly soup-like. Cue complaints at this point about Israel's punishing summer It's for this reason that I urge you to 'make soup while the sun doesn't shine'. This zesty broth is enough to lift even snowed-in Jerusalemites spirits and, as it is made in minutes with minimal ingredients, you can quickly hurry back to the living room, and bag the best position in the direct line of the heating. Go on, Winter…do your worst. With a bowl of pure sunshine in your belly, you're set for anything.

Winter warming spiced lentil and lemon soup


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 ½ cups red lentils

7 to 8 cups pareve chicken stock*

Zest of one lemon, finely grated

2 cups spinach leaves, chopped Salt and pepper

*I use 1 heaped teaspoon of Knorr pareve chicken stock per cup of boiling water.

To Serve

1 cup plain yogurt

3 tablespoons coriander (cilantro), chopped


1: Heat the oil, add the onion, cumin and ground coriander, and cook for 6 minutes or until the onion is lightly golden.

2: Add the lentils, stock and lemon zest, bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes till the lentils are soft.

3: Stir in the spinach leaves and cook a further 5 minutes and then season with salt and pepper.

4: Mix yogurt and chopped coriander and spoon onto servings of soup if desired.

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Friday, 24 May 2024

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