Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Bingeing on Comfort Food, by Judith Hudson

Today it is bright and sunny. A real gift in late November here on Vancouver Island. But cloudless days mean cold days, and that means soup for lunch.

I surprise myself by how often I write about food and cooking in my Fortune Bay books! It seems when I want to show a connection between characters or a sense of stability, I often include comfort food in the scene.  

I don’t consider myself a foody, but we have always enjoyed big family meals, and all of our family gatherings seem to happen over a meal.

Last winter my sister came out from Ontario for a visit here on the Island, and together we went to visit our brother on Salt Spring Island, a short ferry ride away. Because our elderly mother lives near me, we usually visit here, so it was nice on that sunny January, pre-Covid day, to go to his house in the forest for lunch. His wife Susheela served a hearty soup that was a revelation to me. Although I often make soup, it’s usually chicken-noodle, and now that my husband and I are on a strict no-wheat diet, the soups were looking a little thin.

The soup Susheela served that day was wonderful. Thick and creamy with aromatic eastern spices. I phoned her the next day to get the recipe and was happy to learn it was perfect for my husband’s Parkinson’s-fighting diet. Since she gave me  the recipe over the phone, it may have changed a bit in the sharing, but I’ve always been a what’s-in-the-fridge kind of cook anyway, and so is she. 

I called it Coconut Lentil Soup. Now, don’t let the coconut part scare you. It's the secret ingredient! It refers to the canned coconut milk you stir in at the end to thicken the soup and make it deliciously creamy.

Here’s the recipe: (Print it out from my website)

Sauté, in lots of ghee (Susheela) or olive oil (me) –
1/2 a large onion – chopped to dice
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 tbsp curry powder – or to taste. (Our new curry powder is really hot! so I’ve since reduced the amount.)
1 tsp ground cumin

Add 4 cups chopped vegetables – Winter vegetables like carrots, turnip, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, kale, potato or sweet potato work well. Whatever you have in your fridge.
Add broth (home made is best of course. I save chicken bones and veggie bits in bags in the freezer and cook them up every few weeks. Makes the kitchen smell devine!)
Then add the lentils. Red or brown. Canned would be fine.

I like it a little chunky so when the vegetables are soft I put about 1/3 of it in the blender, or use my immersion blender until the soup is the thickness and smoothness I like. Then add
½ a large can, (or one small can) of high fat coconut milk to add the final creaminess.  
Season with Salt and pepper.

A hearty soup, made from scratch, it warms you from the inside out. I think I’ll make some today.

Find the print recipe here.

Do you make soup from scratch? It's not as hard as you may think. What’s your favourite?

Canadian Thanksgiving was in October, but I want to wish all our American friends a happy holiday. We used to be 14 for Thanksgiving, always at our house, but now our numbers have dwindled and this year we were five. Probably a good thing in these days of Covid lockdowns.

And next month will be Christmas! Oh my! 

To get a jump on your Christmas reading get Starlight and Tinsel, a Fortune Bay Christmas novella, on sale on Amazon from now until Christmas for 99¢.

Stay home, keep your gathering small and above all, stay safe.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Judy Hudson


  1. That sounds SO good. Thanks to you and your sister-in-law!

  2. A secret ingredient! That sounds like it might a line from a book. Great cover for your Christmas book.

    1. Thanks Nora. I love this cover too. It's one of the new ones.
      In Home for Christmas I do call the Christmas cookies Santa's Dark Secret. 😉

  3. sounds delicious! And so does Starlight and Tinsel!

    1. Try it Bonnie. You are a soup maker aren't you?

  4. Yum. The only soup I make from scratch is turkey or chicken. Gotta do something with those leftovers. I make handmade dumplings too. This recipe sounds delicious and very Indonesian. Thanks for sharing. Many, many sales for your book.

    1. Sometimes I put left over chicken in the soup too. Like I said, anything in the fridge.

  5. I'll probably make a nice turkey soup with Thanksgiving leftovers this year. I also love making beef stew. That is for sure one of my comfort foods!

    1. Aww! Turkey soup. You lucky Americans - enjoy the holiday. And the turkey.

  6. Thanks for the recipe. It's amazing how many hearty soups can be made without the addition of wheat products. Daughter makes one similar to this and a couple of weeks ago made one that was awesome. You won't believe it, but the base was butterbeans she had cooked and put through food processor to puree.


Due to the high volume of Spam comments, we are forced to install Comment Moderation and Word Verification. We apologize for the inconvenience.