Whoever said that Sydney doesn’t really have a winter is a big, fat liar! This is my fifth Sydney winter and I can safely say, it does get cold, it does get wet, it definitely does have a winter. I have made the assumption that Australians are in denial about winter because every time I meet some Aussie friends all bundled up in woollen scarves and hats, I am told “This is the first time it gets so cold, this year I have to buy a heater”. Luck for me, I am now prepared for what’s ahead of me in the months to come and , along with coats and boots I have an array of weather-appropriate recipes like stews and soups.
Ingredients for 4 people
3 French Shallots or 1 medium sized brown onion, chopped up
3 tablespoons of Extra-virgin Olive oil
1 medium sweet potato, chopped, skin on (well washed!)
1 chunk of smoked pancetta, ham hock or speck (or chorizo)
2 cups of vegetable stock
1 cup of puy lentils
2-4 leaves of cavolo nero or kale, chopped up, stalked removed
Parsley, chillie oil or chillie, lemon zest to serve
1. Stir-fry the shallots in a medium saucepan with 3-4 tablespoon of extra-virgin little olive oil. Add the chopped up sweet potatoes (skin on, thoroughly washed) and the smoked pancetta, or smocked ham hock. Stir-fry together with the onion for a few minutes, add the lentils, the stock and enough water to cover the vegetables. Simmer on medium-low heat for 35-40 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft and the lentils are cooked.
2. Add a couple of shredded cavolo nero* leaves (stalk removed) and let the residual heat wilt it.
3. Serve in a bowl drizzled with chillie oil or chopped up chillies, parsley leaves and finely grated lemon zest, if you like a bit of kick.
Curl up on the couch with a blanket, your favourite book or your favourite person…
* Cavolo nero is an Italian dark-green cabbage. You can substitute it with kale.