Minister makes

Our minister, Rev Peter Fairbrother, celebrates comfort eating!

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As you're probably aware I've a particular interest in self-care and exploring ways in which we can better look after ourselves. An important aspect of self-care is how we look after our physical body. In particular, what we consume as food can have a profound effect on how we are, not just in terms of fuelling our physical processes, but also in relation to our psychological state and wider emotional wellbeing.

As the nights grow longer and the weather colder, it is easy to feel drawn towards 'comfort eating' at this time of year. Sadly, however, it seems that comfort eating appears to have gotten a bit of a bad name for itself of late, often associated with the excessive consumption of sugary and fatty foods. And I think that's bit of a shame. Dependent on what we're putting into our mouths, comfort eating isn't always a 'bad thing' for either our physical or emotional wellbeing.

As we hurtle towards the winter solstice, I'd like to share with you a recipe for a comfort food favourite of mine: faki soupa – my version of Greek lentil soup. Its nutritious, cheap, easy to make, and very, very tasty. A soup for the soul!

Time to do a 'Delia'.

To make my version of faki soupa you'll need a big pot (its very moreish, so best be prepared, I say) and the following ingredients:

• A couple of tablespoons of olive oil.

• 500g brown lentils (green are ok, but NOT red).

• One large or two medium-sized onions, finely chopped or grated.

• Three or four cloves of garlic, crushed. (Add more if you like garlic. And powdered garlic is just as good if you don't like fiddling about with the cloves).

• A good sprinkle of dried oregano and rosemary (say a tablespoon each).

• A couple of bay leaves.

• A good dollop of honey (a couple of tablespoons).

• Half a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard.

• A small carton of passat or a tube of tomato puree.

• Salt and pepper.

Method, step by step:

• Place the lentils in the pot, and pour in water to cover.

Place over medium-high heat and bring to the boil, cook for 10 minutes, then drain the lentils and leave aside.

• Dry pot, pour in olive oil and place over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic - cook until the onion has softened and turned translucent. This should take about 5 minutes. Pour in the lentils, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaves. Add water, filling the pot. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

• Stir in the passat/ tomato puree, add the honey and mustard. Cover and simmer until the lentils have softened, which usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add additional water if the soup becomes too thick.

• Once the lentils are cooked, add salt and pepper to the pot (quantities according to your personal preference).

• Ladle into soup bowls, and serve with fresh bread.

I think this soup tastes better if it is left to 'rest' overnight. It develops a richer, deeper flavour. However, it requires considerable willpower to leave it alone for so long. I'm often in with the spoon as soon as its off the heat!

Bon appetit! Wishing you a happy and healthy November.

With love, Peter