Saturday, 19 March 2016

Lentil curry ~ with apple, onion and capsicum

Spice things up with a tasty lentil curry - this one is a favourite, and always popular in our household. Raw lentils, as pictured, look the dullest things imaginable, but once cooked they can become a great basis of easy, tasty and nutritious meals.

This vegan curry is easy to make and very flexible:
  • Ingredients can be adjusted or substituted according to what you have to hand.  
  • It keeps well if refridgerated, and indeed, is likely to be even more tasty the next day - if you have any left, which is fairly unlikely.  
  • Expecting guests and wondering what you can prepare ahead of time?  This curry is an excellent choice as it can be cooked the day before and is easily reheated.
  • It's a crowd pleaser!

Ingredients:
  • Lentils, brown or green - 1 to 1+1/2 cups of cooked lentils.  Note that the raw ones pictured are labelled 'green'.  They look brown to me!
  • Onions - 2 large - chopped
  • Oil - 2 Tablespoons, approximately
  • Capsicum / bell pepper - 1 - chopped
  • Apple - 1 - chopped - peeled if you wish
  • Sultanas - 1 Tablespoon - approximately
  • Curry powder - 2 teaspoons.  I use 'mild'.  Choose the degree of heat that suits your taste.
  • Kikommen or other soy sauce - 1 Tablespoon
  • Salt to taste.  I use about a teaspoon.
  • Enough water to ensure that the ingredients all soften and cook through - perhaps a couple of cups. 

    Cooked lentils:
    These take a while to cook - I would say anything from 30 - 45 minutes - but are simple enough: they do not need to be soaked; just boil in water, add a teaspoon of salt for every cup of dry lentils, and put in a bay leaf if you have one.

    I keep a supply of cooked lentils in the freezer, in pottles containing about a cup to a cup and a half.  This greatly speeds up any meal made with them.  They defrost rapidly in hot water, and in this recipe this same water can be added to the other ingredients as needed.

    Method:
    • Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan, and add the oil to it, then onions and capsicum.  
    • Once these are well cooked, add the apples and sultanas.  Add a little water if needed, but only enough to prevent them from sticking to the pan.  
    • Then add the curry powder and stir carefully while it cooks, which is likely to be short time, perhaps a few minutes.  It's easy to burn spices, which is why it needs to be stirred carefully at this point.  
    • Once the aroma of the curry is evident the water can be added and the kikommen sauce.  
    • Add the cooked lentils.
    • Allow it to cook through, keeping an eye on the liquid, which will fairly rapidly be absorbed and steam away, so keeping a lid on the pan will help conserve it until cooking is complete by which time any excess moisture can be allowed to evaporate.  
    The consistency of the curry is hard to describe: it holds together and can easily be served using a slotted spoon.  It is not a stew, which would be served in a bowl.

    This curry can be served with either rice or potatoes, and accompanied by salad or a combination of steamed vegetables.

    If you like toasties you could serve it on toast.  

    Those who enjoy cheese would very likely enjoy grated or melted cheese on top. 

    My other recipes and food articles can be found via the link below:
    For a range of vegetarian and vegan mains dishes set out by protein type you can follow this link:
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    Saturday, 12 March 2016

    While the weeds grow ... flowers continue to bloom ~

    Rushleigh has been silent recently, while I've had way too much going on.  However, although silent it has continued to be in my thoughts.  I look forward to sharing some of these thoughts when a slower pace allows.

    These glorious day lilies have finished flowering now, but were lovely while they lasted - true to their name, each bloom lasting just one day. 


    My garden, like Rushleigh, has been left similarly untended and weeds grow amidst the flowers.  Fortunately there are just enough flowers for me to continue to fill a bucket each time I visit my mother.  Ellen's well-being is more important to me than writing or tending my garden.  She delights in the vases of flowers which crowd the top of her chest of drawers.  She always says "They lift my spirits!" and I can see that they do by the smile on her face and the light in her eyes.

    This energetic coprosma which grows across the garden path is excellent in flower arrangements, long-lasting and helping to fill space and gives elegance with its glossy leaves.  My little cat Louisa, is my constant companion as you can see!


    I piled these rose petals on Ellen's tea tray after I had done the flowers, taking out the old ones.  The petals had been just about to fall.  They would wither overnight, but for one last evening they were glorious. 


    So I haven't forgotten Rushleigh - am just otherwise occupied at present. 

    In the meantime I wish you all the fragrance and grace of Nature's bounty.
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