5:28am lentil soup

Because of this whole Julia Child thing, I really want to cook. I really want to cook for a lot of appreciative gourmet types. I really want to serve my cooking on china with linen table cloths, excellent wine and sophisticated conversation (truth be told, sophisticated conversation usually leaves me fuming, but I'm working on a vision here...).

The fact of the matter is, however, that I am home in Dubai in a semi-furnished house with three young children who are currently sleeping from four in the afternoon until two in the morning. Our tableware runs the gamut from chipped Ikea plates and Nutella jelly glasses to company-issued flatware which is falling apart... We need to make a few changes in order to bring the dinner party vision to fruition.

In the meantime I'm eating spicy lentil soup in the belief that spicy food will hasten the shedding of Eastern Standard time and get me onto GMT +4...

Curry Lentil Soup
1 carrot
1 large shallot
2 cloves garlic
1 thumb ginger
1 stalk of celery
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup red (or French) split lentils
4 cups vegetable stock
8oz sliced mushrooms (button, shiitake, crimini etc.)
1 tablespoon yellow curry paste or more to taste.
2 cups cooked brown rice
green onions

In a large stock pot, saute the vegetables in the olive oil until softened and slightly browned.
Stir in the lentils until well coated with oil
Add the vegetable stock and turn the heat down to a simmer.
When the lentils are soft, add mushrooms and the curry paste.
Simmer until the mushrooms are cooked through.
To serve, mix in 1/4 cup cooked brown rice, top with green onions and fresh coriander, a dollop of plain yogurt or a splash of lemon juice would be nice too.