I have a problem.
Yes, I'll admit it: I like to read cooking blogs. I look at the wonderful recipes these bloggers make on a consistent basis and dream of being able to make similar things. I suppose I could attempt to do so here in the UK...but to be honest, it would cost too much to buy the staple ingredients that you only end up using 2 tbsps of, or to buy all the necessary equipment. And so I read these blogs and plan on making some of these recipes when I come home for Christmas break. I've already discovered three Christmas cookie recipes that I want to try, but am going to refrain from mentioning what they are because I want to make them as a treat for my family/boyfriend.
I suppose that is the real motivation behind my recent desire to 'learn how to cook right proper' : my boyfriend. One day I want to be able to cook Drew a real meal - something more than the cheesy bacon & eggs pasta I made him or the haggis. I want to prepare something that says 'yes, I am a modern woman who can travel the world, go to grad school, and have a career...AND I know how cook (which remains one of the chief ways to win over a man -- although I waited until well, well after Drew & I had started dating before I attempted to feed him anything. I'm not stupid. Food poisoning does not bring people together. (Disclaimer: He did not get food poisoning!)) Because, like it or not, one day far, far, far in the future, I may have to feed other people besides myself. And whilst I can survive off tomato, hummus, and avocado sandwiches, I am not entirely sure that others can.
And so I recently attempted a recipe that was something new for me: Lentil soup. I found a recipe on the internet, realized that I didn't like half the stuff in it, and so decided to improvise.
Rebecca's Lentil and Vegetable Soup/Stew Hybrid
1 onion (with a bit cut off from dinner the night before), thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
2 1/2 carrots (the other half was consumed during the chopping process due to the chef's hunger), sliced
1 large parsnip, cut into cubes
1 medium sweet potato, cut into cubes
1 cup diced tomatoes (the kind that you get from the supermarket in cans (or, due to the UK's new recycling initiative, boxes)
4 cups water (for broth)
1 cup water (for later)
2 cups red lentils (A nice replacement for the 'Country Soup Mix' from the grocery store, which you found out needed to be soaked overnight immediately before you attempted to add it to the soup.)
1 chicken bouillon
1 vegetable bouillon
1. In a large pot, heat 4 cups water to boiling. Add chicken and vegetable bouillons and reduce heat. Stir until dissolved.
2. In large skillet, stir-fry onion, carrots, garlic, parsnip and sweet potato until onions are lightly browned and everything else is slightly tender. (I like my carrots to still be a bit crunchy when in the soup, but if this isn't to your taste, cook the vegetables until they are the desired tenderness. Remember: they will cook further when the soup is boiling.)
3. Add onion, carrots, garlic, parsnip and sweet potato into the pot with the broth. Stir.
4. Add diced tomatoes and 1 cup water. Add 2 cups lentils. Stir. Add black pepper, paprika, and thyme to taste. (I lile relatively bland food, but if you prefer lots of spice, go crazy with the seasonings.)
5. HEat, covered, until boiling.
7. Reduce to simmer for 10 minutes or until lentils are tender.
8. Eat. (But wait a fair bit or else you will end up with a marked lack of taste buds, like me.)
9. Best served with crusty bread.
It's been over 24 hours since I consumed my first bowl (just had my second a few minutes ago) and I haven't died, so I suppose it turned out well.