Date Archives January 2019

Carrot & Red lentil Dhal


or no reason other than me, my other half cooks…rarely. But he can cook. Well and naturally. Its the ideas bit that, like many people, makes him begrudge the thought of it, especially for someone else.

But tonight was my night! Or his night I should say. A late spinning class for me and a WFH day for him meant he was on duty and as I pumped out the sweat of a long day I thought wildy about what he had chosen.

Door open – curry house smells. Good start.


hilst I know he can cook, I never know quite what to expect. He once told me he was making orange chicken. Yes, quite literally chicken cooked in orange juice which, after I laughed (and gagged) our way home, was delicious. So I’ve learned to trust him. And what I like most is the imagination of someone else that makes me eat things I wouldn’t have thought of.


here are occasions when you try something for the first time, where your brain stores the sensory information and captures it with a special binding memory. These occasions when you think back to that first taste. Where the memories are supported by the moment, the place, the need or desire for that food, the weather! These are memories that get better with time and sit on thrones in your mind ready to be disappointingly not as good as you remember.

This I found out the easy way as I recreated this dish for him this evening. One which I see being a weekly dinner staple. That first taste was devine. A mix of ‘not-having-a-clue-what-on-earth-this-would-taste-like’ and pure desire.


weet, filling, hearty and can be eaten with pillowey soft flatbreads or naan and fingers if you really want. He did. We enjoyed it.

Adapted from Healthy Food Guide (for which I will now read more often)


Serves 3 hungry people, add a handful more lentils for 4. 

  • 1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 500g carrot, grated
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 100g red lentils
  • 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 4 naans/flatbread (see here)
  • Coriander to serve
  • Yoghurt to serve, add some lime for a zing
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the mustard and cumin seeds and let them sizzle and pop. Stir in the carrot and the curry powder and let the carrot sweat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils and stock and stir. Simmer for 30 minutes until cooked and reduced.
  3. Loosen the peanut butter with a bit of hot water if thick, and then whisk it into the lentil, making sure it disperses.
  4. Season and simmer for a few more minutes until a nice thick consistency (up to you).
  5. Serve on, or alongside warm pitta, naan bread or homemade flat breads. Add a dollop of yoghurt and some coriander and serve.

Green Harissa & Cauliflower


his surprising condiment needs little introduction.  A fridge of left over herbs and a quick google search led me to this ever so pleasing and fiery paste. Taken from one of my favourite food magazines ‘bon appetit‘ for which makes me wish I was American (there are not many things that make unpatriotic), this recipe needed no amendments.

Fiery, spicy, fresh and packed full of flavour. I can’t wait to devour this on cream cheese laden toast or add it to my next batch of guacamole.


  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • Bunch fresh coriander
  • Bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Juice from 1 large lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  1. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a hot dry frying pan until fragrant and set aside.
  2. Add all the ingredients (except the oil) to a food processor and blend to a puree. With the motor running, add enough olive oil to get a nice loose but not too runny consistency. It should be thick like jam.
  3. Store in a jar in the fridge for a week or so. The options are endless…

Uses: Rub for fish, spread on toast with cream cheese, pimp out your guacomole, use in place of pesto for a spicy kick, stir into yoghurt to top soups, refried beans, roasted with vegetables….which leads me to my next point.

Roasted Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Salad

Ingredients (Serves 3-4 as a side dish)

  • 1 whole cauliflower, florets picked and chopped if large
  • 1 big sweet potato (add another if cooking for hungry guests), peeled and cubed into dice size
  • 1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • Handful flaked almonds
  • 2 x little gem lettuces
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, flaked chilli
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • Green harissa
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Mix the chopped cauliflower, sweet potato and onion on a large flat baking tray.
  3. Sprinkle over the ground spices and drizzle with a good glug of sunflower oil. Season and stir to combine and coat everything well.
  4. Roast for about 20 – 30 mins or so in the oven until crisp and deliciously golden. Blast them at 220°C for 5 minutes at the end if you want them really crisp.
  5. While they are roasting, toast the flaked almonds in a dry frying pan until beginning to turn golden. Remove and set aside.
  6. Finely chop the little gem lettuce into thin shreds and scatter oven a large serving dish. Squeeze over the lemon juice. Add a few small spoonfuls of green harissa and mix the lettuce to coat in the paste.
  7. As soon as the vegetables are ready, remove from the oven arrange on top of the salad leaves.
  8. Scatter with the almonds. Finally, add small spoonfuls of green harissa across the roasted platter ensuring that each bite receives some spicy sauce! Serve with some lightly fried fish, or some tender chicken.