Lentil Soup with Frankfurters

Tonight we’re having lentil soup with Frankfurters. The weather is exactly right for it. Cold, damp, foggy … simply horrible but perfect for being indoors with a nice, hot soup!

Ingredients

1 pound Puy lentils
olive oil
3 chopped onions
2 chopped leeks (leave the dark bit out!)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 chopped bunch of celery (about 8 stalks)
4 chopped carrots
¾ litre of chicken stock
1/2 small tin of tomato puree
2 tbsp. malt vinegar
1 pack of Frankfurters cut into bite size pieces
freshly grated parmesan
1 bunch of chopped fresh parsley

Soak the lentils in boiling water for about 15 minutes. If you can’t get dried lentils, use the ones from a tin, they are just as good. I like green lentils, they have a peppery flavour and keep a firm texture after cooking.
Heat the olive oil in a big pot over medium heat and sauté the onions, leeks, garlic, salt and pepper, thyme and cumin for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and almost translucent. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for another ten minutes. Add the stock, tomato puree and the drained lentils. Stir, cover and bring to a boil. Now reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for a good hour. Taste to see if you need more seasoning. Add the vinegar, Frankfurters and the parsley. Once the sausages are heated through (they change shape once they’re hot) the soup is ready. Sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesan once you’ve ladled the soup into bowls.
This makes a lot of soup. If you don’t want to feed the army, just take half of the ingredients. I like making lots as I freeze some of it to have “for a rainy day” 😉

Rhubarb Lemon Muffins

Saturday’s shopping resulted in a bunch of rhubarb and a whole net of un-waxed lemons… so I immediately thought rhubarb and lemon muffins… I wonder if there’s a recipe out there. And voila, I found one at tasteofhome but since I didn’t have any buttermilk at home I had to change the recipe slightly. I had to use yoghurt (double the amount) instead, I also added vanilla extract and lemon essence to enhance the taste. I used soft brown sugar instead of white granulated sugar and furthermore I glazed them with lemon syrup.

Ingredients for 12 muffins:

2 cups flour

1 cup soft brown sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. good vanilla
½ tsp. lemon essence
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
2 eggs
1 cup of plain yoghurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups diced rhubarb

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix thoroughly. In another bowl mix the oil, eggs, vanilla, lemon essence, yoghurt and lemon zest together and then add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir. Fold in the rhubarb.
The dough was quite hard to mix, you needed a lot of elbow grease and it was almost not enough liquid. That’s when I added another half a cup of yoghurt to make it one full cup in the end.
Fill paper lined muffin cups to about two thirds full. Sprinkle tops with some granulated sugar. Bake at gas mark 5 for 25-30 minutes (depends on your oven).
Take them out of the oven and let the muffins cool down for about five minutes.

In the meantime I made a quick lemon syrup by dissolving 1/3 of sugar into 1/3 of water. Once the mixture is clear and has bubbled up turn the heat off. Then spoon the syrup over the muffins.

I thought the muffins were a bit stodgy, but all my friends loved the moistness of them and the taste. I think they taste even better with the addition of whipped cream 😉