Food + Drink

February 23, 2014

It’s Still Winter. Deal With It.

More articles by »
Written by: Melanie
Tags: , , ,

There’s always that one warm week in March.

It gets really really warm and most, if not ALL of that dirty disgusting slushy snow melts, all the soggy cigarette butts smoked over the frigid winter are exposed and Montreal begins to see concrete and—GRASS!

The city transforms. Coats are unbuttoned, people pull on their “cute” boots (the ones you would never want salt stains on), you begin to remember what it’s like to feel the sun on your face, people are out on the streets chatting and you’re even giving money to homeless people.

“It’s spring!” you’ll all declare, “The summer is almost here!”

Your mind will start to wander to that cute maxi dress you saw in the window of Simons, or that BBQ you’ve always fantasized about finally buying…

But you’re a fool. And you know it.

For that one week Montreal is in total denial. Even though it happens every year, we will ourselves to forget that March will get cold again. It will snow again. Fuck, I remember it snowed once on Mother’s day—WHICH IS IN MAY.

Montreal, Winter
Photo Credit: Henri Hadida


Here I will be presenting you with a lovely list of delicious and cozy soups to help get you through those final weeks of winter. You can do it! It’s like the final mile of a marathon (half mile? Kilometer? I don’t know dick about marathons).

Embrace those last few weeks of staying in after work and on weekends because you can’t be bothered to leave the house. It’s too cold. Enjoy the grey skies because let’s face it, a sunny sky forces you to get out and “make the most of the day!” and we’d all really rather be on our couch, watching Netfilx and eating soup.


So eat soup!


Spiced Butternut Squash
and Red Lentil Soup



Best Cooked When:

Slightly drunk off mimosas, on a Sunday afternoon.

What you’ll need:

  • One butternut squash (mine was pretty small but I don’t really think size matters in this case)
  • About half a cup to one cup of red lentils, rinsed
  • Half a cup to one full can of coconut milk (I used 200ml)
  • 3-4 cups of hot chicken or veg stock
  • One red or yellow onion, chopped
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • Some crushed dried red chillies
  • An assortment of Indian spices: Turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander etc.
  • A little bit of brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • If you’re not vegan, BUTTER! (if you are vegan, oil)
  • Fresh lime and coriander (optional)


What to do:

Cut the squash down the middle and brush with salt pepper and olive oil or lots of butter. Roast in the oven open side up, until the squash is cooked through and soft. While you’re waiting for waiting for the squash to roast, drink some wine?

In a large saucepan, sauté the onions and garlic in MORE BUTTER until soft and fragrant.  Once the squash is soft, scoop it out of the shell and add to the pot. Add the lentils and cover with the stock. Let this simmer for a few minutes until everything is very soft, season with some salt and turmeric.

Transfer the soup in 2 batches to a stand blender (of course, if you have an immersion blender use this!) and puree the soup until smooth.

Pour the soup back into the pot and add the coconut milk, sugar and remaining spices. Warm through and serve!


Coconut Lime Chicken and Mushroom Soup


Best Cooked When:

 You’ve woken up from a post-work nap on a Friday evening. Not only have you convinced a friend to come over, but you even got them to pick up some spring rolls from Thai Express!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • Soya sauce
  • 2 big cloves of garlic (pressed or finely chopped)
  • 1 thumb of ginger (grated or finely chopped)
  • Scallions/spring onions (chopped)
  • One fresh red chilli chopped or dried chilli flakes
  • One package of shitake mushrooms (or just regular mushrooms) sliced
  • Limes

What to do:

In a large soup pot, fry the garlic and ginger with the chilli and scallions in some oil on medium heat. When everything sizzles and becomes fragrant, add the chicken–stir so the chicken is coated with the mixture and continue to stir until the chicken is nice and white on the outside.

Add the hot stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and then let simmer. While the soup is simmering, fry the mushrooms in a very small amount of oil on high heat. This way the mushrooms will get nice and crispy!

Add the mushrooms to the soup. Season the soup with soya sauce, lime juice and salt and pepper. When the chicken is cooked through you’re ready to eat!



Cauliflower Cumin and Gouda Soup


Pre-blended soup pic, cause those saffron threads are oh-so-pretty.


Best Cooked When:

You’re hungover, but you bought all the ingredients yesterday—organization, people!

What you’ll need:

  • One medium sized head of cauliflower chopped
  • One large yellow onion, chopped
  • I like to use some celery (about 4 stalks)
  • 4 chopped cloves of garlic
  • About 300ml of milk or light cream
  • 4 cups of hot veg or chicken stock
  • About half a cup or more of grated gouda (or gryuere) cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Butter (optional)
  • Some ground cumin, ground coriander and turmeric (I also used whole cumin seeds)
  • If you have some–SAFFRON!

What to do:

In a large sauce pan, heat a bit of olive oil and if you’re using cumin seeds, throw them in the oil first. After a minute or so, add the celery and onion, stirring until they become soft and translucent. Add a healthy hunk of butter, the cauliflower, chopped garlic, and give everything a good stir. Then add your spices, the cumin, coriander, turmeric and saffron. Stir again. Cover and let the veggies sweat for about 5 minutes.

Add the stock so that it covers all the vegetables, bring to a boil and let this boil uncovered, stirring often for about 20 minutes or until everything is nice and soft. Turn off the heat and stir in the milk/cream.

In two separate batches, puree the soup in a blender; If you’ve got an immersion blender, even better.

Transfer the pureed soup back into the pot and add the grated cheese. Warm up the soup so the cheese can melt, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!


The Mushroom Soup of Your Dreams


Best Cooked When:

Trying to impress.

What you’ll need:

  •  About 1 pound of mushrooms. I used a few Portobello mushrooms but mostly “regular” (read: cheap) mushrooms.
  • 3 small red onions, or maybe 6 shallots
  • 1-2 leeks
  • A couple cloves of garlic
  • Half a cup of red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • Half a cup of  heavy cream (milk if you wanna be lame)
  • About 2 cups of hot veg or chicken broth
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried or fresh rosemary


What to do:

Chop the ends off the leeks (so that you’re just using the white and light green parts) into small pieces. Warm a couple table spoons of butter and some olive oil in a large saucepan and toss in the leeks. Lower the heat and let the leeks chill out in there, caramelizing, and stir occasionally.

Preheat the oven to about 400°

Chop the mushrooms into large chunks, and place on a baking tray covered in foil drizzle with olive oil, lots of salt and pepper and some rosemary. Cut the onions into halves or quarters, place on another baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar and some sugar, salt and pepper. Place both trays in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the mushrooms and onions are soft and cooked, remove from the oven and add to the leeks. Add the wine, and turn up the heat to medium and stir until the wine is absorbed.

Drink a glass of wine.

Then add in your broth and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream.

Now, using an immersion blender, or a food processor or regular blender, puree the soup. (If you’re using a food processor or blender, use a ladle to puree the soup in batches, maybe 3-4 ladle-fulls at a time, otherwise you’ll have a lovely unwelcome hot molten lava soup surprise all over your kitchen).

The best way to serve this up is with some big croutons, or some mini baguette toasts. I made toast covered with Swiss gruyere, broiled them and put it on the soup.



For more delicious soup recipes, check out the “Soups” section of my cooking blog! 

About the Author

I'm a proud Montrealer who recently uprooted to cold rainy Northern England. I have spent many months living and working in Bhopal, India (home of the world's worst chemical disaster). I am fucking crazy about Indian food and I love to cook; I also love to take obnoxious photos of the food I cooked. I currently work in the charity/NGO/international development field. I need to make more money. I enjoy sarcasm, deep fried foods, Haitian music, and reality TV. My food blog: My India blog:



Tongue Trials 1: Dim Sum

La Maison Kam Fung 1111 St Urbain St Metro Place D’Armes Dim Sum is kinda like the Chinese version of Tapas but way more fun. Bite sized portions of Chinese dishes are served on small plates or in steam baskets that are c...
by Sarah

Kitchen Bitchin'

If You Can’t Enjoy Quinoa, You’re Dead To Me.

Rant first; recipes later I guess I’ll start by addressing the recent controversy associated with quinoa farming and the ways rich white peoples’ demands for copious amounts of quinoa has driven up local costs of quinoa...
by Melanie


Does Reading About Middle East Politics Just Make You Crave Falafel?

Well then you’re not alone. And I’m not trying to be irreverent here, I’m serious. I love Middle Eastern food and when the word “Syria” or “Israel” appears in the news, sometimes I just...
by Melanie



Kitchen Bitchin’: Salad isn’t just for skinny girls

Loving salad really isn’t anything to be ashamed of. At least that’s what I used to believe living the hipster life in Montreal—pot-lucks with friends, picnics in Parc Lafontaine, terrace hopping on St. Denis… But now I...
by Melanie


Kitchen Bitchin’: What To Cook For That Obnoxious Friend Who Just Got Back From Thailand…

You know who I’m talking about. It’s not enough that you distractedly clicked through 239 of their photos on facebook, but they insist on coming over so they can show you the EXTENDED iPhoto album plus their Photoshopped fa...
by Melanie


Kitchen Bitchin’: Fuck Loblaws! How To Throw An Indian Themed Dinner Party for Under $30

Fuck Loblaws. Seriously. If you’ve ever been inside an independent grocery store (and I don’t mean IGA) you’d know how much money you could save by just supporting your local immigrants. Local independent grocery stores a...
by Melanie



DISH THIS: Pomegranate And Orange French Toast

When it comes down to a breakfast item, I will 95% of the time pick salty over sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I will never turn down a pancake or french toast or waffle, but I prefer them as a side to my eggs, and cheese and ...
by Erika


Evan’s Kitchen: Adventures with Mushrooms

A while back I received a rather pricey bottle of wine from my friend Andrea as a birthday gift. She gave it to me with the caveat that I had to make her dinner to pair with the wine. At first I thought this was a great idea un...
by Evan


One Comment

  1. Ty

    Mr. Baker and I are making the cauliflower one tonight! Yum!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *