January 25, 2013

When life needs warmth and spices...

It hurts to look at the clouds, but it also helps, like mots things that cause pain.
Matthew  Quick

Cinnamon-Scented Chickpea and Lentil Soup

Life is tricky. Oh, yes, it is. One minute it's full of joy, happy glitter, and that super-sunny vibe cheerfully penetrating into your bones... whereas the other - it takes everything away. Everything you could not even think you had. Everything you thought cannot be taken. Everything you are and everything you considered you would be. It simply takes it all and leaves you standing, barefoot and homeless, desperately trying to grab into that last image of what once used to be perfect...

But that''s life, and it is not supposed to be viceless, I guess. It's not supposed to give you things for granted or just because you want them. If it gives you something you did not worked for, it will take away. I know that. Cause you have to deserve everything. And even if you do, it might take it as well...

Chickpeas, Lentils, and Marble Beans

As you probably notices, my new years is not as amazing as I would like them to be. Not even close. Quite the opposite. They are scattered. Broken. Smashes to shivers. Torn to ribbons. And I'm still reluctantly trying to make peace with it. To move forward. To let the joy once again come into my playground. Cause what else can I do? 

One of the ways to have my way on  - is to blow off the dust from a box of old memories. Good memories.  Warm memories. One of the best memories. When our days were mischievously careless, and our nights were crazy as hell. When we were dancing till the very dawn, forgetting the time, counting only the starts, and having soup for breakfast. Those were my Turkish days. At the heart of Istanbul, echoing alongside some glorious mosques and the unforgettable smell of fresh bread resting in the oven. At one of those on bakeries on our way home, where you can always find it nicely warm and crispy. An essential accompaniment for soup. Our morning soup. Perfectly filled with spices. Perfectly filled with joy.

  Cinnamon-Scented Chickpea and Lentil Soup

Cinnamon-Scented Chickpea and Lentil Soup
from The African and Middle Eastern Cookbook

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of saffron threads
1 can / 14 oz (400 g) canned chopped tomatoes
1 tsp brown sugar
3 oz (90 g) green lentils, rinsed
3 1/2 oz (100 g) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained and boiled until tender
3 1/2 oz (100 g) dried marble beans, soaked overnight, drained and boiled until tender
3 1/3 cup (800 ml) vegetable stock or water
freshly ground black pepper
small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped

Heat  the olive oil in a stockpot or large pan. Add the onion and stir over a low heat for about 7-10 minutes, until soft.
Add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and saffron. Then add the tomatoes and sugar. Stir in the lentils and pour in the stock or water. Bring the liquid to boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
Stir in the cooked chickpeas and beans. Bring back to boil, then cover and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper according to your own preferences. Finally, stir in the fresh parsley, leaving some for garnishing.
Serve hot with some fresh bread on the side.

Cinnamon-Scented Chickpea and Lentil Soup

More ideas for soup:
- Winter Squash and Red Bell Pepper Soup
- Milky Carrot Soup with Lemon Balm

Smells like Middle East:
- Red Rice Pilaf with Fish, Dried Fruits, and Almonds
Moroccan Snake


  1. This soup looks so fresh and healthy! Definitely exactly what I need to warm my senses, comfort my belly and put a smile on my face! I could eat endless bowls of this soup and am looking forward to trying it. ;)

  2. It certainly looks comforting and tasty! Hope your days start getting better very soon!