chili

Curried Lentil Soup with Carrot + Coriander Dumplings (Gluten Free + Vegan)

curried lentil & dumpling stew
We spent our entire saturday morning in 3 carpet/wood flooring superstores and it was sooooo bad. Bad because I hate these places at the best of times, bad because I feel I should take a greater interest and enthusiasm for the flooring that goes down in our home (especially considering the financial outlay) and bad bad bad because we just couldn’t make a choice – oh golly! Instead we left with several quotes and unfinished business but I’m never going back there, no way. I really do want some nice flooring but it’s the time (it’s a lot) and effort that goes into choosing whilst getting caught up in the maze of DIY-ers frantically filling their trolleys like they know exactly what they’re doing. I guess I just need to be one of those people, someone who loves everything DIY, but I’m not. I’m the person who likes the nice house but without ever entering a huge superstore, I’m more than happy to choose online, at home and in comfort! The thing is you just can’t choose flooring online, it just doesn’t feel right….oh I know, first world problems hey!

lentil dumpling stew

Anyway, it’s food like this that gets me through car crash mornings such as hanging out in DIY stores in a confused state!! A real good, homely, comforting, major silly healthy lentil stew with the best dumplings ever. Oh yes.

curried lentil & dumpling stew

I’m gonna put myself out there now and say this is probably one of my favourite meals just for how wonderfully feel good and delicious it is. This is a complete meal in itself with plenty of protein and four servings of veggies served with grain and dairy free dumplings. I just gotta say these dumplings are better than those dumplings you used to love…..you know the ones and with healing onion, garlic, chili, ginger and turmeric this stew is sure to warm and nourish you all winter long….spring and summer too.

Right, time to call the DIY superstore and finally make that decision!

curried lentil & dumpling stew

Curried lentil soup with carrot + coriander dumplings

(serves 2)

soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
small piece of ginger, chopped finely
2 sticks celery, chopped finely
2 large carrots, chopped into small pieces
1 cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, turmeric + cinnamon
1 heaped teaspoon curry powder
2 handfuls greens, shredded
chili + coriander for dressing

dumplings:
1 cup chick pea (gram) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 small carrot, grated
1 tablespoon coriander, chopped
2 tablespoons soya yoghurt
1/2 cup water

method:

1. Heat the olive oil over a low heat + add the first 6 ingredients, stirring until softened + aromatic.
2. Add the lentils, broth, spices + greens, keep on a low heat for 15 minutes. You may need to add more water if it over thickens, or add a teaspoon corn flour if it needs thickening.
3. Whilst the soup is simmering make your dumplings by combining the flour, salt + baking powder. Once combined add the carrot, coriander, soya yoghurt + water to form a sticky cookie dough mixture.
4. Form 6 dumplings by hand or alternatively spoon the mixture directly into the soup. The balls should sit on top without sinking. Cover the pan + simmer for a further 15 minutes.
5. Serve dressed with chopped chili + coriander.

Healing Miso Noodle Soup (Vegan)

Healing Miso Noodle Soup
Have you ever read the back of a pot noodle pack? Don’t do it, it’s really quite scary. Instead make yourself these 5 minute instant ‘pot’ noodles that are crammed to the brim with goodness. Loads of it.

Healing Miso Noodle Soup

This is the polar opposite of a pot noodle. It’s a healing miso noodle soup!Healing Miso Noodle Soup

A soup to cleanse. Heal. Invigorate. To simply feel good. Just what you deserve.Healing Miso Noodle Soup

Buy some miso soup right away, the stuff is an amazing health tonic. Just add hot water. Chop a little veg with a little love. A lotta love. Get some really nice noodles (wholegrain always). Put it all together and smile at what you just did.Healing Miso Noodle Soup

A great big heaping bowl of healing goodness. Make this your winter soup. Your cold fighting, immunity boosting broth. Your go to ‘I need to feel good food’ food, flavoured with garlic, ginger, a little chili, onion and mighty miso. Healing Miso Noodle Soup

I defy you to eat this and not feel really good after. It’s impossible. Use this as a weapon, a powerful weapon against getting ill, run down or coldy and you’ll be smugly dodging all those seasonal nasties. Good stuff.Healing Miso Noodle Soup

Super quick + healing miso noodle soup

(serves 2)

150 grams brown rice noodles
3 teaspoons miso paste
thumb size piece ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled
large handful broccoli florets
6 mushrooms quartered
handful baby leaf spinach
1 chili, deseeded + finely chopped
2 spring onions, chopped finely

Method:

  1. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions + set aside. Heat the miso paste over a low heat with 4 cups water + turn off just before it reaches boiling point. Add all the vegetables to the broth.
  2. Refresh the noodles with cold water, add to the miso broth + vegetables. Stir well to combine.
  3. Serve immediately topped with spring onion + a little chili. Actually top it with whatever you like. Smugly slurp on your own wonderful pot noodle.

Spicy Tomato Spelt Spaghetti (Vegan)

Spicy tomato spelt spaghetti Are you a creamy or tomatoey person? I’m definitely the latter but regardless, everybody needs a solid go to tomato pasta sauce in their life, I know I do. I’ve always loved spaghetti coated in a rich, vibrant, sweet and spicy tomato based sauce. It doesn’t get much better than that. It was one of my favourite meals as a kid, oodles of spaghetti piled high and tossed in a rich red sauce. I used to have fun eating it too, relishing in the fact the table was set with spoons and forks as opposed to the traditional knife and fork (why can’t I get excited over such things anymore?!). There’s only one thing I don’t like about this meal and that’s the noises, you know the ones – sucking, slurping, general pasta suction techniques, we’ve all done it. I can’t deal with my emotions when I’m subjected to this. Surely, you can ONLY do this when eating alone and isn’t this the reason why you never order spaghetti on a first date?Spaghetti topped with parmesan

This spicy tomato spelt spaghetti is a 15 minute meal that couldn’t be more simple. It’s too true, the simple things are often the best. This is so speedy, it’s quicker than picking up the phone, ordering take out and waiting for it’s delivery. A basic italian inspired tomato spaghetti that’s delicious as is but would work really well powered up with your favourite veg, especially chestnut mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, a handful of rocket or a sprinkle of lemon zest. It’s a truly versatile dish. I like to use spelt spaghetti for the lower gluten and higher vitamin content but any wholegrain pasta would make a worthy nutritious and filling meal.Simple spaghetti ingredients

In my book a perfect tomato sauce needs good quality tomatoes, a good glug of olive oil, generous garlic, correct seasoning, a little sweetness and some spice. I like it really spicy but then again I do have a slight addiction to all things chili so if you prefer it a little milder then use a little less spice. It’s a great idea to make a large batch of the sauce and freeze half as it’s so versatile you could use it for another pasta dish such as lasagne, mixed with butter beans, poured over veggies or as a base for stuffed veggies. Just a thought. Two bowls of spaghetti

So, are you a creamy or tomatoey pasta person?

What’s your view on spaghetti eating etiquette?Spaghetti twisted on fork ready for slurping!

Spicy tomato spelt spaghetti

(serve 2)

200 grams spelt spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chili, finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano + 1/2 teaspoon crushed chili
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt + pepper
generous handful of black olives
fresh basil leaves, torn

Method:

1. Place the spaghetti into salted boiling water + cook according to packet instructions.
2. Heat the olive oil + add the garlic, chili + oregano stirring until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, sugar + seasonings simmering for 10-15 minutes.
3. Drain the spaghetti + set aside. Add some of the pasta water to the sauce if it needs a little thinning. Stir the torn basil leaves, black olives + cooked spaghetti through the spicy tomato sauce.
4. Serve immediately + garnish with extra olives + basil leaves.

The Ultimate Vegetarian Lasagne with Roasted Romano Pepper + Pumpkin

Roasted red pepper + pumpkin lasagneRuss and me cook together every night. Occasionally one of us will suggest we’ll cook alone to free the other up but we just kind of like cooking together. We enjoy it, it’s relaxing, plus it takes half the time and we get to chat about our day whilst chopping, stirring and getting ready to eat fabulous food. The thing is, yeah it’s a habit but a good one surely – well you gotta eat and we get to feast on delicious, fresh and nutritious meals every night. Cooking together is a lot more fun than cooking alone but we seem to have definitely assigned ourselves set roles, Russ does most of the chopping and salad bits and I crack on with the actual cooking, timings, table arranging, flavours and cleaning. Well we both share the cleaning but I’m starting to think I got the raw end of the deal being a slave to the hob! I’d challenge Russ to swap with me but his knife skills are too good and I always prefer salads made by another! We’ve both just slipped into these roles and seem to get on with them like a well oiled machine- funny how habits form over time without us really noticing. Maybe I’ll challenge him to get down and dirty with the cooking whilst I sharpen my knife skills….yeah maybe. He can keep the bathroom cleaning duties though, I don’t want to share that one or bin change day!Slice of lasagne

I adore vegetarian lasagne but I don’t buy into complicated lasagnes at all. To me, the most important aspects are the flavours and good quality pasta sheets. I’ve made a full on traditional lasagne from scratch before and it seemed to take an age, but this recipe is just perfect and takes less time, especially if you’ve pre roasted vegetables to hand. I have to say when cooking in tandem (Hi Russ!) there really isn’t any recipe that’s too much so I really have no excuses. However, this is so jam packed full of fresh and vibrant ingredients it really doesn’t need a lot of fuss and time.Roasted vegetables

I use a cheats white sauce to quicken the lasagne process further and only spread this on the top layer as opposed to traditionally distributed throughout. I find this enough but if you prefer a creamier dish then just double the creme fraiche mixture and add to as many of the layers as you like. The roasted vegetables give this lasagne a beautifully sweet flavour, transforming the plain old chopped tomatoes into a sweet, rich and extremely moreish sauce. I like to add a little chili for a spicier version, actually I add chili to almost everything so just ignore me.Lasagne - ready for assembly!

Here is a fact and an opinion: Fact first, this is much healthier than traditional meat lasagnes. The tomatoes, peppers and pumpkin make this dish extremely nutrient dense and the cheese, creme fraiche and lentils provide an excellent protein content too. Now opinion, well I believe this is tastier than any other lasagne by miles, meat or non meat. It’s the ultimate vegetarian lasagne.

Do you have quirky routines/habits around cooking?Lasagne + Russ' salad is perfection

The ultimate vegetarian lasagne

(serves 2 hungry people)

200 grams pasta sheets (I used gluten free)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 romano peppers
2 cups cubed pumpkin or squash
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon, oregano + thyme
1 white onion, chopped finely
1 can chopped tomatoes + 1 can water
1/2 cup lentils
chopped parsley

cheat’s white sauce:
1 cup creme fraiche + a little water to loosen
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1 cup mozzarella, grated

1. Pre-heat oven to 190ºC. Place whole peppers + squash in an square 12″ oven proof dish. Season + drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil + roast for 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil, add the onion, garlic + seasonings stirring until fragrant + translucent. Add the tomatoes + water, keep on a low simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are roasted.
3. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven. Peel the skins off the peppers (they should fall off) + chop roughly. Add both to the tomato sauce.
4. In a small bowl, combine the creme fraiche with a little water + stir through the parmesan. It should be a pourable consistency.
5. Assemble the lasagne in the square dish starting with a base layer of sauce, followed by the lasagne sheets. Continue for 3 layers of tomato base + pasta. Pour the white sauce over the assembled lasagne + place in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes depending on pasta sheets used.
6. Remove 5 minutes before the end + add the mozzarella. Place bake in the oven until the cheese is lightly browned + bubbling. Serve immediately with a big salad + garlic baguette.

Keep refrigerated, delicious eaten cold + freezable on day of making.

Spinach, Butternut Squash + Lentil Curry (GF + Vegan)

Lentil, squash & spinach curryI’m convinced I was Indian in a former life, seriously! I should have been born Indian though because I love all things Indian and of course it’s my favourite food ever. This particular dish is my number one. Everyone has a certain dish they love and are pretty proud of, this is mine. My beloved spice tray is one of my most prized possessions ‘cos without it there is no curry! I’m going back to India this Christmas and I plan to get fully involved with some Indian cookery classes to brush up my curry skills and make me feel like a pro! To me, this curry is too delicious, it’s my curry and of course in my head it’s the best but still, I’d be nervous to give this to my Indian friend! I hope they’d rate my favourite curry creation. Roll on December, I’m excited and eager to learn some fabulous recipes to bring home and use for years to come.Simple & quick process

Curry is comfort food. Lentils are comfort food. So you can only imagine how comforting this lentil curry is. It is very, don’t take my word for it  though, just try it yourself!Pappadums & curry

I love how something so delicious can be so immensely healthy too. This dish is packed full of healing spices including turmeric, coriander and cinnamon. The lentils, squash and spinach provide an almighty helping of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants too. Lentils may be small but they pack a nutritional punch – full of B vitamins, cholesterol lowering fibre, protein and iron. Lentils have endless health benefits, are easy and quick to cook and fill you up, not out! These are perfect for those watching their weight as they satiate, regulate blood sugar and are very filling too. Lentils get a bad rap but I really don’t know why as they give a smooth creaminess to dishes and with a little less cooking time a harder texture to other dishes such as burgers. Lentils of any variety are a staple for me, definitely a veggies best friend. Curry, pickles & India

I’ve been making my own curry for over ten years now and I usually just a play around with a pretty basic recipe. I used to try different recipes but over the years I’ve always come back to this for it’s simplicity, flavour and overall deliciousness. Indian is probably the simplest yet healthiest food to make – once you have couple of the basic spices you’re set to go. This particular dish uses only ground spices for ease with very few overall ingredients in comparison to other curries but feel free to add coconut milk, yoghurt or cashew cream for a creamier curry. I usually dollop the lentils with a heaping tablespoon of the creamiest cashew cream.

This is a dish I crave lots. It’s too too good served with basmati rice, pickles, salad, eggs, papadums and chapatis. I must say though, after I’ve piled my plate sky high it doesn’t look the neatest dish out but it sure does taste delicious!Lentil and the rest!

Spinach, butternut squash+ lentil curry

1 tablespoon ghee (or coconut oil for vegan recipe)
1 small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaped cup butternut squash, cubed
1 cup dried red lentils
1/2 can tomatoes + 1 can water
salt + pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric, coriander, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, chili + 3 teaspoons garam masala
6 nests frozen spinach (2 handfuls of fresh is fine)
handful coriander, chopped

Method:

1. Heat the ghee over a low heat in a non stick pan. Add the onion & fry gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic & cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the squash, lentils & tomatoes to the onions, stir through. Add the spices & simmer on low for 30 minutes. Be sure to add a little more liquid if required.
3. Add the spinach & chopped coriander & cook for a further 5 minutes.

Note: If adding coconut milk be sure to adjust water quantities.