Here’s one for my vegetarian friends (or only one friend that I know of)! This will be a short post as I am very busy with school work at the moment. This week I started working with Cupcake Kids! teaching kids from five years and up about nutrition and cooking. We make whole wheat pizzas and talk about the food pyramid and where our ingredients come from. I am really enjoying it and I think it is a great experience for me. Whenever I have some spare time I try to go for a walk and take in the beautiful fall colours. New York is still nice and warm; hopefully it will stay that way until Christmas. This weekend I went to Billy’s Bakery and Magnolia Bakery for the first time, with my friends Anisha and Martin from London. Both bakeries are very popular and have a very similar selection of cupcakes and cakes. Since Magnolia was featured in an episode of Sex and the City it is obviously the most well-known of the two, but is it the best? I decided to take on that challenge and find out. It’s hard work, but someone’s got to do it, right? Instead of trying the cupcakes I had banana cream pie, something I’ve never had before. Which pie was the best? They were both very good and very rich, but I have to say that Billy’s was the overall winner, even though Magnolia’s pie had the best crust. I hope this information has helped you so that you can make the best choice whenever you are in NY, craving some pie. Hopefully I’ll get to try more from their selection, but I really don’t think I should do this little test too often!
On to the recipes. Lentils are a great substitute for meat as they are high in protein and fibre and low in fat. They are usually cheap and can be found in many different colours. If you buy canned lentils they are ready to be used, but dried lentils need to be soaked in water overnight. I used canned lentils for the soup and dry lentils for the dahl. The dahl recipe is from my dad, I’m not sure where he got it from. This will be a first for this blog (and probably last): the soup recipe comes from my sister! As some of you may know she rarely cooks, but this was her go-to recipe during the last two years in London if I was ever fed up with doing the cooking all the time. According to my sister this recipe serves one, but I had enough for lunch two days in a row so I would say it serves two for lunch.
Nora’s Lentil Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small chilli, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 stock cube, broken up into little pieces
Fry these ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat.
1-2 stalks celery
1 can lentils (with the liquid)
½ can water
Add the celery, lentils and water to the saucepan. Bring to the boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Mix in a blender until the soup has a creamy consistency with smaller bits of lentils (just a few seconds). Be careful not to put too much soup in the blender at a time, about a cup worked fine for me. “And tadaaa, the world’s most complicated dish!” as my sister wrote when she sent me the recipe. I had my soup with whole wheat toast, a dollop of non-fat yogurt, some dried roasted onions, and some coriander.
(serves 4 as a side dish)
300 g lentils (soaked)
300 g finely chopped vegetables, preferably carrots and onions
1 large garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 tbsp butter/oil
6 tsps curry powder
A pinch of chilli powder if you like it hot.
- Heat the butter or oil (I like to use a mix of the two) in a large saucepan.
- Add the curry and fry until it foams and then add the garlic. Be careful that the garlic does not burn.
- Add a dash of water and let it boil for a minute or so.
- Throw in the rest of the ingredients and let simmer on a low heat for at least 20 minutes. I like to let it simmer for about one hour but then I usually have to add some more water along the way.
- Add salt to taste. If it is too hot, add some cream or yogurt.
I served my dahl alongside fish that I cooked in curry paste and yogurt, some tsatziki, and nan-bread.