Easy Comfort Food for Cold Days

It’s hard to believe it’s February already. Where did January go? It’s been a dark, fairly windy and wet start to the year for us but in the past fortnight the lengthening of the days has been a welcome sight.

To be fair though we’ve also had a handful of stunning days and we’ve managed to do a few great walks with my family. Some of you will know I love walking and for 2020 we have given ourself a challenge to do 20 walks we haven’t done yet. So far we’ve done two – one of them was Deepdale on the West side of Shetland. And it instantly became one of my most favourite walks. Here are some more photos from our recent adventures.

Deepdale

I’ve also enjoyed cooking simple comfort food and have been trying to use local ingredients as much as possible, especially as in winter the weather can disrupt the food deliveries to Shetland. I think we have become far too dependent on getting food shipped here rather than relying more on what we can produce and use locally.

Here are a couple of my favourite staple recipes for cold days that are easy enough to make and don’t require much in terms of ingredients.

I’m particularly happy with the loaf as it is very easy to make and requires a minimal amount of time to make. I love experimenting with sourdough but sometimes you need something quick, simple and bulletproof.

And the lentil soup is an absolute favourite served on my Shetland Wool Adventures tours. I often get asked for a recipe so finally here it is. Enjoy!

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup_LR

Serves 8

Ingredients:

250g red lentils

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

3 medium onions

250g carrots

1.5l vegetable stock (or 2 stock cubes + 1.5l water)

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper

  1. Chop the onions finely and fry in olive oil. 
  2. Add finely chopped carrots and fry them for a few minutes with the onions
  3. Add the spices, salt and pepper
  4. Rinse the lentils under a running tap and add them to the pot. Stir for a few minutes.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and chopped garlic
  6. Add stock and stir well. 
  7. Cook for 25 minutes. 

Now for your favourite texture – either you can leave the soup as it is, blitz it with a hand blender a little or you can blend it completely smooth if you prefer.

Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and chopped flat leaf parsley. And of course fresh crusty bread.

Easy Loaf

Easy bread_LR

400g strong white flour

80g wholemeal rye flour

60g wholemeal flour 

12g dried yeast 

10g salt

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp coriander seeds (optional)

400ml lukewarm water

1tsp olive oil (for greasing the loaf tin)

24 x 14 x 7cm loaf tin

Put all dry ingredients in a bowl and add the water. Mix together until you have a nice smooth dough. There is no need to knead the dough at this stage. Place the bowl in a plastic bag (I have a dedicated one I keep using for making bread) and leave it in the fridge overnight. 

In the morning grease the loaf tin with olive oil. Tip the dough on a generously floured surface, knock the air out and knead for a short time. Place the kneaded mixture into the tin, cover loosely with the plastic bag and rest for approximately one hour in a warm place. Preheat the oven to 220°C fan oven, put the tin in and immediately reduce the temperature to 180°C. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the loaf from the tin and place it directly onto the oven shelf and bake for further 10 minutes.

Note on the flour – you can really experiment here and see what works best for you. I like darker bread so I usually add wholemeal rye flour. If you prefer white loaf you can just use strong white flour.

 

3 thoughts on “Easy Comfort Food for Cold Days

  1. Thanks for the lentil soup recipe. i followed it exactly and we loved it! It took me a bit to get the liters converted to cups and quarts but thank goodness for the internet and a conversion chart.

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