I am finding it a bit strange adjusting to the weather patterns of Toronto when I am so used to the predictable rain of Vancouver. It’s been sunny for what feels like forever; while part of me is rejoicing over this fact, another part of me feels a bit suspicious of this lack of rain. It has however been getting a bit chilly, perfect weather to curl up with a bowl of soup and some reading (though I do wish it wasn’t Economics for Business, especially when I have Nigella Lawson’s new cookbook Kitchen sitting, temptingly on my desk).

Last week I came across this recipe for tomato soup on deliciousdays.com and while I’ve changed it slightly based on what I have on hand, it is everything I want a soup to be on a chilly evening. You know a recipe is fabulously easy and the results are delicious when I make it twice in one week. Astounding really when you consider that these days I am only cooking for me, myself, and I.

2 tbsp butter (the original recipe uses ghee, but I didn’t have any so I substituted)
1/4 tsp cumin
a dash of cayenne and 1/4 tsp chile flakes (the original recipe uses 2 chiles, freshly ground but again I think this is flexible)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1/3 cup red lentils
15oz. can of diced tomatoes, including juice
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp turmeric
fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (optional garnish)
plain yogurt or sour cream (optional garnish)

1. Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add cumin, cayenne or chiles, garam masala, and diced garlic. Let this cook about a minute, the spices will start transferring to the butter, making it change color.

2. Add the lentils, tomatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil before adding the turmeric and salt.

3. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, this isn’t a very fussy recipe so if you get tied up doing something else for a few minutes it’s fine. Test to make sure the lentils aren’t hard and see if the seasoning needs adjustment.

4. Ladle into bowls and, if desired, garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley and yogurt or sour cream.