mushroom, lentil & walnut soup.
prayers & wishes.
paper wishes.

I made soup, and also wishes!

It's segues like this that keep you coming back, I know.

The slips of paper tied to the trees here are actually omikuji (おみくじ), paper fortunes found at shrines and temples with random predictions on them; if you tie them to the branches of the trees then good fortunes come true and bad fortunes are averted. This was the tiniest of shrines that I came across on a walk last Sunday evening, but even so there were thousands of white fortunes decorating each tree, since everyone's been visiting shrines for shougatsu (正月), New Year. The aesthetic is beautiful, but so is the hope behind it. Fresh starts, guys! Fresh starts for all! ...she says, writing on Friday the 13th.

So here is my fresh start, since blah blah blah, I've struggled a bit recently, a change in medication's turned me both upside-down and inside-out; whatever, you're over it. I don't know about you, but for me the first thing to go in a situation like that is Eating Properly (you have to imagine those words in my mother's voice): this called for pre-prepared lunches to take to work! and protein! and photographing vegetables against wood grain!

Am I using too much punctuation today? It's okay, you can tell me.

This soup (and more walking) made me feel better about my life and my choices, and that's pretty much the most you can ask from your lunch.

Mushroom, Lentil & Walnut Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 smallish onion, chopped
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
300g (10oz) mixed mushrooms, roughly sliced
100g (1/2c.) dry green or brown lentils
750ml (3c.) vegetable stock
1 Tbsp soy sauce
plenty of black pepper
50g (1/2c.) raw walnuts + 120ml (1/2c.) water; leave to soak

Prep yo' veg. Heat olive oil in a large pan, then add the chopped onion and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, until it softens and turns transculent. Add the garlic and allow to cook for a minute before adding your selection of mushrooms - the ones I used are pictured above, but alas! I couldn't read their names - lentils, and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, until the lentils are soft - perhaps 25-30 minutes.

While the soup cooks, put the soaked walnuts and liquid into a blender (I used my food processor; it didn't blend it so smoothly but it got the idea) and whiz til as smooth as possible; it will look like a thin cream. Pour this into a small bowl and set aside. Don't clean your blender out, because once your lentils are cooked you want to add the walnuts to your soup and blend that too, til it's nice and smooth (once again, my food processor did not exactly rock at this). Add the soy sauce, and black pepper to taste, then stir in the walnut cream. Reheat if necessary to serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

1 comment

  1. Not that I want to appear to oversimplify life's difficulties, but something has to be said for the power of a yummy meal. Mushrooms, lentils, and walnuts all chalk up to major comfort flavors in my book, so I can totally see how this dish would have such restorative powers. And those mushrooms are so preeety! :D


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