Tag Archives: tomato

Tomato and Lentil Dahl with Toasted Almonds

DahlSomeone asked me for this recipe recently so I thought I’d post it here.

Tried and trusted, it gives the most delicious result, making for a light but nutritious vegetarian meal, rich and full of flavour (although mild, rather than mind-blowingly hot).

Serve it with some warm naan bread and maybe some cool, refreshing natural yoghurt.

Tomato and Lentil Dahl with Toasted Almonds

Serves 4

Ingredients

*As usual, my suggested substitutes for the ingredients have been included and have worked well when the original are unavailable (or you can’t be bothered with peeling and de-seeding tomatoes!).

30ml / 2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 carrot, diced

10ml / 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds (*sub: same quantity of grainy mustard)

2.5 cm / 1 inch piece root ginger, grated

10 ml / 2 tsp ground turmeric

5 ml / 1 tsp mild chilli powder

5 ml / 1 tsp garam masala

225g / 8 oz / 1 cup split red lentils

400 ml / 14 fl oz / 1-2/3 cups water

400 ml / 14 fl oz / 1-2/3 coconut milk

5 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (*sub: 400g tin chopped tomatoes, drained)

Juice of 2 limes

60 ml / 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

25g / 1 oz / 1/4 cup flaked almonds, toasted, to serve

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Method

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan.  Sauté the onion for 5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic, carrot, cumin, mustard seeds and ginger.  Cook for 5 minutes until the seeds begin to pop and the carrot softens slightly.

Stir in the ground turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala, and cook for 1 minute or until the flavours begin to mingle, stirring to prevent the spices burning.

Add the lentils, water, coconut milk and tomatoes and season well.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils sticking.

Stir in the lime juice and 45 ml / 3 tbsp of the fresh coriander, then check the seasoning.  Cook for a further 15 minutes until the lentils soften and become tender.

To serve: Sprinkle with the remaining coriander and the flaked almonds.

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From: ‘Vegetarian’ The Greatest Ever Vegetarian Cookbook, publisher LORENZ BOOKS, ISBN 0 7548 0090 3

Nutrition notes:

Spices have long been recognised for their medicinal qualities, from curing flatulence (useful when added to a pulse dish) to warding off colds and flu.

Lentils are a useful source of low-fat protein.  They contain good amounts of B vitamins and provide a rich source of zinc and iron.

You need to eat food rich in vitamin C at the same meal to improve absorption of iron.  Limes are a good source, but you could also serve a fresh fruit dessert containing apples, kiwi fruit and oranges.

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Authentic Bolognese (Italian Ragu Sauce)

Spaghetti BologneseBolognese – the mainstay of the British student population.  It’s a wonderful, easy to make sauce that we all know and love, so much so that even those who don’t normally cook will defend their version as being the best.  Yes you can add ‘stuff’ to it and yes it will doubtless taste delicious but did you know that there is now an ‘official’ Bolognese Sauce?  Oh yes there is!  In 1982 the Bologna Chamber of Commerce asked the Accademia Italiana della Cucina to come up with the town’s official version.  As decreed by them therefore, it should contain: beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, white wine and milk***.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  If you want to cook up the official version, may I suggest the recipe below (based around a recipe by great cookery writer Elizabeth David). 

***We don’t like the addition of milk in this sauce and like all home cooks I’ve tweaked this recipe ever so slightly to suit our family’s tastes.  If you want to follow my recipe, you’ll find it here.  (And, naturally, like all home cooks, I think mine is better)!

Authentic Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients:

8 oz lean minced beef

3 oz pancetta , cut into small pieces

A small amount of butter (about 1/2 oz)

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of concentrated tomato puree

1 wineglassfull of white wine

2 wineglassfulls of water

1 wineglassful of milk

Salt and pepper to season

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Method

Melt a little bit of butter in a saucepan and gently brown the pancetta. 

Add the onion, carrot and celery and when the onion is golden, add the raw minced beef.  Keep turning so that it browns evenly and breaks up in the pan.

Add the tomato puree and white wine.  Season with salt (remember that the pancetta is already salty so season with a light hand) pepper, and finally add the water.  Give it all a good stir, then cover the pan and and let it simmer very gently for 30-40 minutes.

Finally, add the milk and let it finish heating through for a few minutes.

The correct way to serve this is to put the cooked spaghetti in a heated bowl and then mix in the sauce so that the pasta is well covered with the sauce.  Add a knob of butter if you wish and then hand around freshly grated parmesan separately.  

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Bolognese Sauce a la Gentle Voice

Spaghetti BologneseNo apologies for the closeness of this recipe to the authentic Bolognese, (recipe as decreed by the Bologna Chamber of Commerce in 1982 ).  You will notice, however, that one major difference is that we like our sauce!  I figure this will feed 4 – 6 people.  (My occasional ‘extras’ to ring the changes in this sauce are also noted below).

Bolognese Sauce a la Gentle Voice

Ingredients:

1 lb (450g) lean minced beef

4 oz (120g) of  pancetta or, failing that, smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 x 450g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon of concentrated tomato puree mixed into half the above tin of water

1 wineglassfull of white wine

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt, pepper, grated nutmeg to season

To serve: Grated fresh parmesan cheese  to spinkle on the top

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Method

Gently heat the olive oil then add the pancetta and cook until browned. 

Add the onions and celery and when the onion is golden add the crushed garlic.  Stir for a minute or so (garlic should not be allowed to brown), then add the raw minced beef.  Keep turning so that it browns evenly and breaks up in the pan.

Add the wine, a little at a time so that it is absorbed into the meat.  Then sling in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and water.

Season with salt (remember that the pancetta is already salty so season with a light hand) pepper and a light scraping of nutmeg.  Stir well. Partially cover the pan and allow it to simmer very gently for at least an hour.  Just keep checking the pan to make sure that the heat isn’t too high and it is therefore drying out.  If it looks like this is happening you can add a little more water + tomato puree, and make sure that the heat is down low.

Just before serving, check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.  For a slightly richer taste add a small knob of butter and stir.

Strictly speaking, the correct way to serve this is to put the cooked spaghetti in a heated bowl and then mix in the sauce so that the pasta is well covered with the sauce.  Hand around freshly grated parmesan separately.  

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Occasional Gentle Voice extras and variations to that can the above basic ragu sauce

1-2 finely chopped chillis (to taste) – added with the onions and celery, or

1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (added with the other wet ingredients), or

A few sprigs of fresh thyme, de-forested of their little leaves, or

A few torn fresh basil leaves, added at the very last minute

Butter (as mentioned above)

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