Tag Archives: children

Lentil Dal with Cucumber and Mint Raita

So, I learnt a new lesson this week. Dal doesn’t photograph very well. After an entire weekend in London of Ivy-free vodka and beer binging I was too impatient to to spend longer than approximately 5 seconds trying to take a flattering picture of my first proper meal in 3 days. Hangover hunger is scarily powerful. Evidently Ivy had a similar weekend because she wouldn’t even give me 5 seconds before inhaling her own dish.

I am in turmoil here guys. What is better, to post a recipe without photographic evidence at all or to post a picture that could potentially put you off eating dal EVER AGAIN? It kind of looks like baked beans…I really really really dislike baked beans. At best, you will just gently chuckle at my complete lack of photography skills. I actually enrolled in a photography course once, but never went back after the first session as I couldn’t face the judgemental glares after rocking up to the first session without a god damn camera. Fuckin’ pretentious hippies. I’m not bitter at all. Well, I’m sure if my sixteen year old self knew that I would be regularly taking photos of food to show off to people on the internet,I may have either thought twice about quitting or changed my entire life plan.

Anyway, here is the recipe. I definitely recommend making the raita alongside it as they taste delicious together and it is particularly good for anyone with a kiddo that isn’t too keen on spice. So please try it, it really is delicious, plus very cheap and easy to make. If it really is as gross as it photographs, then maybe I will eat nothing but baked beans for an entire week as some kind of macabre punishment.

Lentil Dal (serves 4)

200g yellow lentils

1 medium onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, minced

1cm ginger, finely chopped

1 tablespoon mild curry powder

1 teaspoon tumeric

1 teaspoon cumin

350ml vegetable stock

For the raita:

200g natural yoghurt

1 bunch of mint leaves, finely chopped

1/2 cucumber, grated

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Heat butter or groundnut oil in a large pan and add onion, frying for 4-5 minutes until browning. Add garlic and ginger and fry for a further 1 minute, then adding all the spices for another minute. Add the lentils and stock, stir, cover and simmer for at least 40 minutes until the lentils are very soft. Add water if necessary. For the raita, place the grated cucumber in a sheet of paper towel and squeeze out the excess water. Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. Serve the dal and raita with wholemeal chapattis or a small serving of rice.

Ok, you ready?

Please just…

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I KNOW, I KNOW.

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Lentil Lasagne

I just wrote a very long and detailed entry about all that we have been upto over this month, and then accidentally pressed the backspace and the entire thing was wiped out. I literally said ‘NOOOOOO’ in the most film-ish way. Why is it so easy to delete a new post? Can’t you be more like hotmail and ask me if I’m sure that I want to leave the page? I can’t believe I am wanting anything to be more like crappy hotmail, but there you go.

So because I simply do not have the will to type out everything again, here are the keywords from the post: last minute camping trip, late nights, unpacking, toddler tantrums and huge argument with psychotic neighbour. Maybe I should just write all my entries like this, to save myself any future backspace accidents. I fear I may break my laptop in some kind of hasty vengeance next time.

I am going to be frank; I really hate making lasagne. There is too much chopping, frying, baking and subsequently washing up for my liking, but because it tastes so good every couple of months I finally stop being so lame and make one. This is the first time I used lentils in one and my boyfriend was very hesitant, but the entire dish was completely annihilated and he said he would have happily eaten double the amount which is probably a good sign. I used merchant gourmet puy lentils but to be honest, it seemed like a shame to add them to a sauce when they already taste to delicious on their own, so next time I would probably just use regular canned lentils. You could use dried too, but only if you have more patience than I do because cooking dried lentils takes waaaaaayyy longer than my brain will allow me to wait.

Lentil Lasagne (serves 3-4)

250g puy lentils

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato puree

100ml red wine (optional – depending on how comfortable you are with putting alcohol in your child’s food. I personally am borderline TOO-relaxed)

1 red onion, finely chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 celery stick, finely chopped

1-2 carrots, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1 bay leaf

Approx. six lasagne sheets, soaked in warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

Pepper, to taste

Grated cheese (I use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella)

For the white sauce:

25g butter

25 flour

300ml milk

A handful of grated cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 200c. Heat olive oil in a pan and add onion, gently fry for 2 or 3 minutes. Add garlic, pepper, celery and carrots and cook gently for a further ten minutes. Add the red wine if using and turn up to a high heat for a few minutes, then add tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, bay leaf, sugar, lentils and black pepper and turn down to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan and stir in flour to form a paste. Remove from the heat and stir in milk slowly, to avoid forming lumps. Put back onto the heat and bring to a boil and then down to a simmer. Add cheese if using and continue stirring until smooth.

In a pie or baking dish, make a thin layer of the lentil sauce, put lasagne sheets on top (you will probably have to break them up into pieces to spread evenly across) and add a generous layer of white sauce. Repeat until you are at the top of the dish – will probably make 3 layers. On the top layer, add white sauce and then sprinkle with cheese.

Put the dish in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until you can put a knife through and feel that the lasagne sheets are soft and cooked, and the cheese on top has browned. Serve with salad or vegetables.

Boring post, but TELL ME THIS DOESNT LOOK DELICIOUS:

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And proof that it wasn’t just the adults in the house who had second helpings:
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Stewed Apple with Manuka Honey

So I have a poorly Ivy this week. I hate seeing her feel rubbish but hey, its an excuse to stay in pyjamas and watch Peter Pan on the laptop so Ivy is coping, little soldier

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It is so tough when they aren’t old enough to verbalise how they are feeling, but going by the fact that she had a temperature last night, a little puke and has been refusing to eat any solid foods today I am guessing that she has some kind of throat infection. Feeding her a cup a soup (her first full sentence today was ‘more soup please’, after saying ‘more please soup’ about 5 times) I just NEEDED to get some vitamins into her, watch her gulp down those horrid salty crappy tasting soups was painful for me.

So I decided to make some stewed apple, then remembered the manuka honey sitting in my cupboard, unused after all those months ago when my mum called me repeatedly and barked the health benefits at me until I finally relented and bought a jar to appease her. Apparently manuka honey is great for healing wounds, sore throats and other general cold and flu symptoms. Usually, I am a bit skeptical of anything that claims to miraculously heal you and make you live to 100 when the prices are usually insanely high, but I figured it was worth a try and it would probably make the stew taste a little nicer anyway.

Here is the very simple recipe. It feels like kind of a waste of a post but given that I haven’t cooked anything for 2 days it was either this or instructions on how to boil water and stir it into soup mix.

Stewed Apple with Manuka Honey (serves 2)

2 dessert apples; I used pink ladies

1 teaspoon cinnamon

15g raisins

1 tablespoon manuka honey

75ml water

Peel and core apple and chop into small cubes. Place the apple in a small saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients, stir, cover and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until very soft and mushy, stirring occasionally. Next time I make this, I think I’ll try sprinkling some oats and adding a dollop of greek honey and the end, so I can trick myself into thinking I’m eating apple pie.

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It went down well

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As a side note, has anyone else watched Peter Pan recently? I don’t remember him being such an asshole, geez.

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Easy and Quick Chickpea Korma

My boyfriend has just taken Ivy out on his fortnightly ‘daddy-daughter day’ to the Aquarium, (so glad I am not included in this, octopus give me nightmares) so because I am nursing a mild hangover I am choosing to ignore my messy house and talk about food instead.

Chickpeas are definitely one of my favourite pulses. I have this weird thing about Quorn, something about the texture about it makes me feel all funny and grossed out, so I usually end up resorting to either chickpeas or lentils. For a long time Ivy refused to partake in any chickpea-eating activities much to my chagrin, until I discovered that if I call them ‘chicken peas’ she will laugh hysterically and then shovel them all down. That’s a bit weird, right? So now we have chickpea meals at least once a week, chickpea fajitas being my most recent discovery but a chickpea korma is definitely our favourite. I never thought I could say chickpea so much in one paragraph.

I feel like a bit of a cheat including this because I don’t make the paste myself but it is such a great meal to make if you have had a busy day, got home late and in a rush to make dinner before the little ones crash out. Sometimes in that situation I find myself resorting to making some pretty dull and not particularly healthy meals so this is a great one to have planned. I usually use Marks and Spencers korma paste but I’m sure any would do, or you could even make your own ahead of time and keep it in the fridge!

Chickpea and Spinach Korma

1 medium onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1cm ginger, finely chopped or minced

1/2 jar korma paste

1 tin of coconut milk

1/2 yellow pepper, diced

200g fresh spinach

1 tin of chickpeas

Vegetable oil

Basmati rice, to serve

Heat oil in a large pan and add onions, cook until softened. Add ginger and garlic and cook for a further minute, then add the paste and stir fry until aromatic. Pour in the coconut milk, bring to the boil, add chickpeas and yellow pepper, then turn down to simmer. Cover and simmer for approx. 20 minutes until chickpeas and pepper are softened. Stir in spinach until wilted and then serve with steaming hot rice.

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heh heh heh heh. Chicken peas.

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Smoked paprika butter bean and roasted veg pasta

I don’t particularly like long, drawn out introductions so here are the basics:

My name is Lucille

I have an almost-two year old gorgeous little terror called Ivy

I am a part time Psychology student

I’m 23

I bloody love to cook!

 I know how difficult it is to come up with healthy, easy meals for our little ones; I quickly found that just steaming plain vegetables and putting them on a plate simply doesn’t cut it for Ivy. I am constantly coming up with new ideas for nutritious and quick meals that are veggie-friendly but still full of flavour and thought it was about time I share!

 This week I had it in my head that I wanted to eat butterbeans. I find that pulses and beans tend to come second to salty meat like bacon and sausages in most meals, they don’t get nearly enough credit. Following my discovery of real smoked paprika last week, I realised that the strong, smokey flavour could easily substitute real meat. I wasn’t sure whether to go with pasta or couscous but Ivy makes most of the decisions in this household and is growing increasingly suspicious of couscous, so tagliatelle it was. So,while simultaneously watching Ivy and her toddler boyfriend dancing to The Paragons and smearing play doh artfully into my cream carpets, I came up with this dish and MY GOD was it delicious:

Roasted vegetables and smoked paprika butterbeans with tagliatelle. (Serves 2 adults, 1 hungry kid)

You will need:

1 red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 half of a red pepper

1 half of a courgette

Half a packet of cherry tomatoes – around 150g

Butterbeans

Smoked paprika (pimenton)

Fresh parsley

Olive Oil

Tagliatelle

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6

Chop the courgette into quarters, the red pepper into chunks and halve the cherry tomatoes

In a bowl, mix with a good amount of olive oil, and season

Put in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until cherry tomatoes begin to caramelise

Meanwhile, boil a pan of water and add 200-250g tagliatelle, depending on how much you like your carbs!

Slice the red onion into half strips and heat olive oil in a pan.

Gently fry the onion for five minutes and then add 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and the butter beans and fry for another 5 minutes.

Take roasted vegetables out the oven, mix in with the butter beans, add fresh chopped parsley and pour over the pasta. And hopefully it will look a little like this:

(Without the blob of pesto on the side of the bowl. Long story.)

While the roasted veg could probably be substituted for any other vegetable, and the butter beans could be swapped for other beans or pulses like chickpeas or cannellini beans, the two most essential ingredients are the smoked paprika and the cherry tomatoes. I am totally obsessed with roasted cherry tomatoes, they create such a delicious rich and slightly sweet flavour – very appealing for the little ones. Even the boyfriend was impressed by this one and he is one of those annoying people who disregard any meatless meal as proper food, what a philistine.

Right, back to unsuccessfully scraping play doh off of my poor carpet.

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