2 recipes posted in under a week? If you are guessing that I must have something really important to do, and that this is the perfect form of procrastination – then indeed you are right. This is pretty mild procrastination compared to the lengths of my desperation yesterday. I actually entered myself into this month long novel-writing challenge and while I should have been analysing identity theory, I was in my own fantasy world writing pages and pages about an impending apocalypse. I have serious issues when it comes to work motivation.
This recipe is SO easy but I know when it comes to new lunch ideas for kiddos that it is always useful to find a new meal. Ivy is admittedly a fantastic eater but she seems to usually reserve all her open-mindedness for dinner. While I am cooking dinner she is usually so desperate for food that I can get her to literally eat anything. I’m not even kidding. This kid snacks on raw pepper and spinach like its chocolate spread on ice cream. What kind of toddler does that? But when it comes to lunch, she is usually strictly a scrambled-eggs-and-toast kinda gal. A few days ago we had almost nothing in the kitchen and due to my inability to cope with a minor cold, I was still in pyjamas and didn’t fancy venturing out the house, so I came up with this. And it was surprisingly incredibly tasty, made even more enjoyable by watching Ivy shovel down huge chunks of raw tomato and cucumber. You could add anything to this salad, I would have added some chopped parsley or coriander if it weren’t for the still-in-pyjamas issue, and I was going to add black olives but Ivy was getting so stressed out watching me try to open the jar for 15 minutes that I decided it was best for all of us if I just gave up.
Anyway, this is a yum recipe and would make a good side dish to a dinner of falafel, pitta and tzatziki.
Vegetable Couscous Salad (serves 2)
300ml vegetable stock
1/4 large cucumber, cut into chunks
1-2 salad tomatoes, de-seeded and cut into chunks
1 teaspoon cumin
A dash of lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pour the stock on the couscous, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes or until soft. Combine the rest of the ingredients and serve.
Evidence (the serious look on her face means she is enjoying it):
Right, back to the apocalypse.
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?
I KNOW, I KNOW.
So, we are here. Ivy is already completely in love with Brighton, as are we. The only catch being that our landlord seems to have the most questionable taste in decor I have ever seen, but thankfully has allowed us to change it as much as we like – so we are staying with my mum while Dom makes it semi acceptable. When and how could anyone ever think that royal blue walls and green carpets look good together? I totally imagined my first summer in Brighton relaxing in the sun on our local beach but thanks to this crappy weather we have been stuck inside for the most part, slowly developing cabin fever.
This isn’t my own recipe, and it is due to Ivy’s grabby hands that I found it. My mum has a freakishly large collection of recipe books (despite the fact that I can recall her making no more than 3 of the recipes since I was, I don’t know, 3) and Ivy is completely OBSESSED with Jamie Oliver’s cheeky little face. She stands by the books constantly pointing at him going ‘J-J!’ and trying to feed and kiss him – its weird and adorable in equal measure. So yesterday she was pulling out all the recipe books and placed an old Waitrose recipe card on my lap and I thought that anything with the words ‘sweet potato’ and ‘cake’ sound right up Ivy’s street. It would be a nice change to the usual sweet potato wedges that I make every time I’m feeling lazy.
Grating the sweet potato took fucking forever but you could be not as cheap as me and invest in a food processor, next time I think I’ll prepare them when Ivy is in bed and keep them chilled in the oven, I served them with veggie sausages and peas but they would make a great healthy lunch too. I only made half the recipe but they were so popular I will definitely make the full batch next time!
Sweet Potato Cakes
750g sweet potato, grated
100g goat’s cheese, crumbled
1 small onion, finely sliced and halved
1 garlic clove, minced or finely chopped
2 medium eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 220c. Heat oil in a pan and add onion and garlic until softened and browned. Add sweet potato, eggs and goat’s cheese and stir until mixed, shape into cakes (could make 4 large cakes but I made 8 mini ones). Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 25-30 minutes.
So we may have a house of mismatched colours and the rainiest July on record, but it could be worse, right?