Vegetable Lentil Dahl

Easy lentils for easy meals, Simples.

Ingredients

tbsp olive oil

1 cloves garlic

1 x finely chopped onion

1 x grated courgette

3 x grated carrot

1 x veggie stock cube

350 gms red lentils

salt and pepper for seasoning

Herbs of your choosing (I like a sprig of rosemary)

Method

Fry the onion, courgette and carrot in the olive oil in a big saucepan or frying pan until the mixture softens and starts to go brown. Mix in the stock cube and a splash of boiling water. Continue to stir for 2 mins. Use a hand blender to blitz the mixture in the pan so it’s quite fine. Gradually add 750ml of boiling water. Once the water is combined pour in the lentils and simmer for 20-25 mins. Use a hand whisk to help the lentils break down (if you’re using your best pan try using a silicone whisk to prevent scratches.) It’s done once the lentils have soaked up the liquid and have gone nice and soft.

After cooking you can eat straight away as a side dish or on it’s own with some salad and bread. Russell discovered by accident that it tastes good as a topper to hummus on toast!

You can vary the vegetables you use depending on what’s in your fridge, great for using up veg that might be on the turn.

Keep leftovers in the fridge in a tightly sealed tupperware container for up to 3 days.

Happy cooking!

Jessica x

Week Two

 

Kitchen Garden

This week I’m talking about growing your own herbs. I’m a total novice so knowing where to start with a kitchen garden was quite daunting.   

 

 

What a week! Russell and myself have been suffering with various food poisonings/tummy bugs so it’s been a bit chaotic here. I hope all your weeks were much calmer! Penny has so far managed to escape unscathed and lets hope that continues. Anyway, to business and this post is about my experiment with growing herbs.

We are a household that likes to cook. Russell likes to experiment with curry flavours and I’m especially fond of Italian, which means that we get through a wide variety of herbs. Fresh supermarket herbs are expensive, shockingly so in my opinion. I’ve been biding my time for a while though, as I thought starting a kitchen garden with a newborn was probably a little optimistic. But now we are achieving “sleeping through” so I took the plunge in March and got some little starter kits from Wilko’s.

They were only 75p each and came with the pot, soil and the seeds and some basic instructions. I started with basil, coriander and rocket. Whilst the little basil pot has flourished beautifully, the rocket and coriander didn’t fare so well. Both failed to thrive after a good start and to be honest I’m not really sure what went wrong. I think I may have planted too many seeds in one go.

I could have got disheartened and given up but in fact it spurred me on. I loved seeing the little shoots coming up and knowing that it was due to my (totally haphazard) care. So over the last two months I’ve gradually added to my kitchen garden. I now have:

basil, lavender, oregano, rosemary, sage, curry leaf and mint

You don’t need much in the way of tools either, I just have a little watering pot for herbs that cost 80p and the herbs themselves aren’t that expensive. I think the most I’ve paid was £2.99 for the curry leaf plant. I’m also looking into ways to kitchen compost so I won’t have to buy that either, although I may have to wait till we move to embark on that journey.

I’m really enjoying using the herbs in my everyday cooking, it’s very satisfying to pick them fresh and put them straight into the pan. Oregano and basil have been brilliant in making big batches of tomato pasta sauce, which I freeze in small portions and take out as necessary. The curry leaf was really great in a lentil dhal I made for a dinner party last week. The only one I haven’t really used is the lavender, but I’m working on finding a drying technique so I can make my own pot pourri.

I use the word garden a little liberally I think. What I actually mean is kitchen windowsill. The word garden always brings big country rose bushes and hydrangeas to mind. But still, it’s my garden even if it’s small. I’m very proud of how much it’s growing and now I’ve got a bit of confidence I’ve started growing some flowers.

I currently have a trough of sunflowers growing on the lounge windowsill and a newly installed hanging basket outside my front door. All of the info on each plant promised they were easy to look after, which I’m definitely hoping is true! I’ll post a picture of the basket once the flowers are in bloom.

Sunflowers

I’d always put off growing my own, because I live in a first floor flat, having always thought I would be better off waiting till we moved into a house. I’m so glad I’ve finally got started though, as it”s been so successful that I wish I hadn’t waited so long. I’ve realised you don’t need much space and actually starting with just one or two plants worked best for me as I could focus on getting those right before adding more.

If you’ve been thinking about starting your own kitchen garden I hope this has inspired you to get growing. Start with your favourite herb and see where it takes you!

There’s a lot more I want to grow but I’m running out of windowsill so I’ll have to find some more space.

I hope you found this post useful, as always comments are welcome and please feel free to share any hints and tips you might have!

Happy Friday

Jessica x