As I mentioned in the last post, I apologise for the visual repetition, I cooked these two dishes together on the same night.
This recipe is the green daal pictured in the back of the photo.
Its from the blog 101cookbooks by Heidi Swanson, and it’s been one of my standby recipes for years. It’s so easy to make, all you need is time (it takes about 2 hours in total, but really only 15 minutes of effort within that). Perfect for a dinner party because you can get it all on the stove, and let it bubble away while you pick up your mess.
The recipe calls for white daal (urid daal), but to be honest I’ve made it with every kind of lentils over the years, and it’s always delicious.
- 1 cup / 185 g white urid or urad daal, (or any other lentils or mung beans) picked over and rinsed
- 6 cups / 1.5 liters water, plus more if necessary
- 1/2 pound spinach, washed and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 medium green chile peppers, minced
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon pure red chile powder
- more salt to taste
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- In a large pot over medium-high heat combine the daal and water. Bring to a boil, then add the spinach, ginger, turmeric, 3/4 of the green chiles, and all of the tomatoes. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the lentils are extremely soft. You may need to add a bit more water during the cooking process to keep the lentils soupy. After an hour and a half, stir in the salt.
- In a separate pan, heat the butter and cumin and fry until the cumin seeds start to pop. Now add the red chile powder and fry for another 30 seconds. Add this butter mixture to the lentils and allow to cook for another five minutes. Taste, and season with more salt if needed. I also enjoyed a touch of lemon juice added at this point. Serve topped with the cilantro and the remaining green chiles.
Punjabi Matar Paneer
This recipe is from the genius Maunika Gowardhan, who is a really wonderful Indian chef. Her recipes are easy to follow, quick to make, and healthy.
I think Indian is one of the cuisines in the world where meat is really necessary. The vegetarian options are so countless.
The photo you see here is the same as the next post (Palaak Daal)- because I cooked them together, and I only took one picture #fail. So sorry for the visual repetition.
- Vegetable oil
- 500g paneer
- To make the curry;
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 250gms white onion finely chopped
- 2” ginger roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
- 1 heaped tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp mild chilli powder
- 400g tinned tomatoes blended to a puree
- Pinch of sugar
- Salt to taste
- 200ml water
- 200g frozen green peas
- ½ tsp garam masala powder
- Handful of coriander for garnish
- Blend the ginger and garlic with a splash of water to a smooth paste and set aside.
- Dab any excess moisture from the paneer on kitchen paper and cut into bite size cubes.
- Heat vegetable oil for shallow frying in a pan over a medium heat. Add the paneer cubes in batches and fry. Make sure they get an even colour and go a light brown (this should take around 2-3 minutes) Drain over kitchen paper and add to a bowl of warm water. Let it soak while you make the gravy.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 12-14 minutes. Stir well as they begin to change colour turn the heat low and add the ginger and garlic paste. Fry well for 2 minutes stirring continuously.
- Add the cumin and coriander along with the turmeric and chilli powder. Fry for a minute and add a splash of water making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and continue cooking the raw flavour of the spices for a further minute. Tip in the blended tomatoes simmer the curry over a low heat for 8-10 minutes with lid on. Stir a couple of times through the cooking process. Add 200mls water along with the sugar and salt. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.
- Add frozen green peas along with the garam masala. Drain the water from the paneer and add the cubes to the curry. Stir well making sure to coat all the pieces with the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes and turn the heat off. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice.
Chewy Molasses Cookies
These were SO GOOD, try them immediately. Not too sweet, not too sharp from the ginger, just right. We did debate whether or not the sugar coating is required… and I firmly believe that it is. You need good quality molasses, that’s important.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup mild-flavored (light) or robust-flavored (dark) molasses
- 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- Coarse sanding or raw sugar (for rolling)
- Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 375°F. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk egg, butter, granulated sugar, molasses, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Mix in dry ingredients just to combine.
- Place sanding sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop out dough by the tablespoonful and roll into balls (if dough is sticky, chill 20 minutes). Roll in sugar and place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2" apart.
- Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed, cracked, and just set around edges (over-baked cookies won't be chewy), 8–10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.
- MAKE AHEAD: Cookie dough can be made and rolled into balls 2 weeks ahead. Freeze on a baking sheet; transfer to resealable plastic bags. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before rolling in sugar.
Hainanese Chicken Soup
This recipe reminds me so much of a recipe my mother makes- we always called it scallion chicken.
This is basically the soup version of that. A chinese spiced ginger and scallion broth with shredded chicken, fresh coriander, and served on a bed of rice. YUM.
If possible, use homemade chicken stock and the chicken leftover from your last roast. I roasted a chicken last Sunday with the sole purpose of making this dish afterwards and oh dear was it worth it.
If not possible, not to worry, the directions below explain how you can use bouillon & poach your own chicken in the broth.
The recipe itself is largely based on one from the Hairy Bikers: Chicken & Egg cookbook, given to me by my lovely Bibbsles!
- 1.2 liters chicken stock
- A long thumb sized piece of ginger
- 1 bunch spring onions (that’s right, an entire bunch)
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 3 star anise
- a few peppercorns (I used mixed and not just black, but as you prefer)
- 4 skinless chicken breasts (optional, if you don’t have already cooked, leftover chicken)
- a tablespoon of butter
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- a smaller chunk of ginger, peeled and grated
- 300g jasmine rice
- Sriracha chile sauce
- A handful of cooked, shredded chicken
- Fresh coriander, washed and chopped
- Soy sauce
- First make the broth. Thinly slice the ginger (no need to peel it). Slice the spring onions, and set 2 aside for use as a topping at the end.
- Pour the stock into a saucepan and add the ginger, sliced spring onions, garlic, star anise, peppercorns, and a half teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- *If you are poaching your own chicken, add them at this point and let them simmer gently for 7-8 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the chicken to stand for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside to cool before shredding with your fingers*
- If you are not cooking new chicken, just let that broth bubble away while you make your rice.
- To make the rice, heat the butter in a saucepan with a lid, and add the garlic and ginger. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the garlic has softened but don’t let it brown at all. Add the rice, and stir until all the grains are glossy.
- Measure out 500ml of the stock and pour it over the rice. Season with salt, bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down and cover the pan leaving it to summer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit to absorb any excess water for another 10 minutes.
- To serve, warm the remaining chicken stock (strain it if you need to- sometimes all the chunks sink to the bottom and it’s not necessary). Put a ladleful of rice in each bowl, and cover with shredded chicken. Pour a ladleful of stock on top, and then garnish with spring onions, coriander, and let people top with sriracha and soy if they wish.
Zoodles with Roasted Whole Tomatoes & Pesto
- 5 large zucchini
- Sea salt
- 1 jar of high quality pesto
- 1 pound vine-ripened tomatoes, stems attached
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 cup basil, julienned
- 3/4 cup shaved Parmesan Pinch of red pepper flakes Fresh lemon zest, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Using a spiraliser, slice the zucchini into noodles. Lay the zucchini “noodles” on a dish towel and sprinkle them with sea salt; let them sweat for about 20 minutes, then blot and gently squeeze out the excess water with the dish towel.
- Keeping stems attached, rub the tomatoes with a thin coat of oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast them on a rimmed baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes until they just begin to collapse.
- In your largest frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the white beans, a hearty pinch of salt and pepper, and saute just to warm through. Add the zucchini and gently saute for 5 to 6 minutes until warmed (too long and they’ll get soggy). Gently toss them in 1/3 cup of the pesto (add more to taste) and half of the pine nuts, basil, and Parmesan.
- Serve each bowl with a generous garnish of Parmesan, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a fresh grate of lemon zest. Serve the tomatoes alongside the noodles.
All you need is a spiraliser to make the zucchini into noodle shape. Alternatively you can always pop to Marks & Spencer where they sell pre-spiralised zucchinis.
This recipe is based on one from the Sprouted Kitchen, but now that I didn’t make my own pesto, it doesn’t bear enough resemblance to say it’s the same recipe!
Cornmeal Molasses Rolls
These are perfect for a side dish to a thick black bean stew. That’s how I made them most recently, but unfortunately the soup went too fast for a photo, and is hence not featured on the blog.
I invited some of my closest friends over for a dinner, to tell some of them about the recent engagement (squee!!!), and I was so excited and in the zone that I actually forgot the yeast… had to unroll ALL of the dough balls, add it back in… and reroll them all. Catastrophic situation.
Anyways, surprisingly, this still worked, so I can’t imagine how delicious these rolls would be if you just followed the instructions.
One note, is that they are delicious fresh out of the oven. They are NOT delicious (barely edible in fact), the next day. So only make them for a crowd, otherwise you’ll eat the whole thing out of guilt and feel terrible.
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (1 package or 1/4 ounce)
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup boiling water
- ½ cup medium-ground cornmeal
- ¼ cup molasses
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 3- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- Grease a 9-inch round pan and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast and the lukewarm water. Set aside for 5 minutes to proof (the yeast should look puffy on the surface after that time).
- Pour the boiling water into a large bowl and slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking as you pour to make sure there are no lumps.
- Add the molasses, butter, and salt to the cornmeal mixture. Stir until the butter is melted.
- Add the egg and whisk thoroughly.
- Add the flour and the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes. The dough will be on the stickier side, but it shouldn't completely stick to your hands: You should be able to knead it. If it's much too wet, add up to 1/2 cup more flour (just a bit at a time) until it's sticky but you can knead it.
- Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. I recommend using a digital scale for accuracy. Weigh the dough on a piece of wax paper, then divide by 16. Pinch off pieces and weigh each one to make sure they are the proper weight. This will ensure your rolls look beautiful and uniform but it's not mandatory!
- With floured hands, roll each piece of dough into a ball and place it in the prepared pan.
- Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
- Just before the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 375° F.
- When the rolls have risen, bake them for about 30 minutes. They should be golden and sound hollow when you tap on the surface.
- Remove the rolls from the oven. Brush lightly with melted butter if you'd like them to look nice and shiny.
Andalusian Cabbage Stew
I love cabbage. And I love tomatoes. This soup is an excellent one to have on hand over the holidays, when you have people visiting, getting hungry at different times, and you need to have a healthy snack on hand at all times.
This soup is vegan, and packed with flavour. What makes it so unique is the splash of vinegar that gives it some punch.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves, to taste, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds), cored and shredded or diced (about 6 cups)
- 1 small dried red chili pepper
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, lidded skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and bell pepper. Cook, stirring, until the pepper has softened slightly and the pan is fragrant, about three minutes. Add the cabbage. Cook, stirring, until the cabbage has softened slightly and lost some of its volume, about five minutes. Add the chili pepper, sugar, tomatoes, salt and paprika. Raise the heat slightly, and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly and the mixture smells fragrant, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the vinegar and pepper, and taste and adjust salt. Simmer another 10 minutes. Serve with thick slices of country bread or with rice. This will taste even better if you refrigerate it overnight and serve it the next day.
Really Easy Duck Confit
This is actually the perfect holiday dish. It’s superbly easy, and you get lots of credit because it’s incredibly tasty and moist.
Plus, you get duck fat leftover, which means you can cook your eggs in it a few times, or make a potato gratin with the fat (unforgettable).
You’ll want to serve it with some cheesy potato gratin (or potato cabbage gratin), and a fresh green salad made with some bitter greens like arugula.
Lastly, a disclaimer: I’m not 100% proud of this photo… in my defence, it was dark out so we had no natural light. It’s no reflection on how delicious the final result was!
- 8 moulard duck legs (not trimmed)
- 1 bay leaf, crumbled
- 1.5 teaspoons of thyme
- 1.5 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 24 hours before you are ready to cook, mix together all of the ingredients for the rub, and rub it into the duck legs, which are laid out on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- At least 3.5 hours before you want to eat, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Place the duck legs fat side down (note, that’s NOT skin side down), in a thick pan over medium heat. Let cook for 20 minutes, or until ¼ inch of fat is in the bottom of the pan.
- Flip all of the legs so they are skin side up, cover the pan with foil (if you feel they need more space you can transfer to a baking sheet at this stage), and bake at 325f for 2 hours.
- Remove the foil, and cook for one further hour.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Spiced Holiday Pecans
These are a Christmas season staple on Beckwith Rd… and it ain’t for nothing.
They are addictive, and delicious, and (comparatively) rather healthy.
The key is to find fragrant rosemary. The other key is not to burn the nuts.
- 2 Tablespoons of butter
- 1-2 Tablespoons brown sugar or honey
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1-2 teaspoons of salt
- ¼ cup rosemary (just the spikes, ripped off the stalks)
- 1 baking sheet full of pecans, in a single layer
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Arrange the pecans on the baking sheet, and when it comes to heat, pop them in until fragrant (5-10 minutes). Don’t let them burn- stay attentive.
- While the pecans are baking, melt the butter in a pan, and add in the cayenne, honey or brown sugar, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Just before the nuts come out of the oven, chop the rosemary coarsely.
- When the nuts come out of the oven, pour them quickly into a large bowl, toss with the rosemary and the butter mixture.
- Toss quickly to combine fully, and let cool.
Mandelsplitter (Chocolate almond drops)
German Christmas cookies part 3: These ones are super easy, and actually don’t require any cooking! They are held together by hardened chocolate, so they are also on the healthier side of Christmas cookies. No flour, no regular sugar.
In fact the only naughty thing in here is the powdered sugar, the rest is arguably healthy.
- 125g splintered almonds
- 150g powdered sugar
- 25g cocoa
- 20g coconut oil
- 2-3 tablespoons of hot water
- Mix the cocoa, powdered sugar, coconut oil, and hot water together. The consistency should not be too liquid (rather on the firm side).
- Add in the almonds, and stir to combine.
- Using two spoons, form tiny lumps, and drop them onto parchment paper.
- Allow to dry and harden for 1-2 hours.