How to make extra tasty spiced dal

Extra tasty spiced dal

The secret to making a good dal is to make a temper and the secret to a really good dal is to make a really good temper!

Tempering a dal is the act of adding the cooked dal to a pan containing a mixture of fried vegetables and spices and heating it through before serving. This imbues the rich flavours into the dal in a way that can never be achieved though cooking the dal with the spices from the start.

This recipe is really quick and simple to make and can be done with red lentils just as easily as with the moong dal used here. I can personally guarantee that it is exceedingly delicious!

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Supreme vegan roast vegetable pasta bake

A cheezy sauce topping gives the finished bake a wonderful contrast between crispy and creamy.

Tonight we wanted to make something lazy, but fancied something more than just a good tomato sauce on our pasta, so we added loads of roast vegetables, topped with a cheezy sauce, and baked in the oven.

I loved this recipe, it was so yummy! The cheezy sauce gave both brown crispiness and a moist creaminess. I would therefore recommend the sauce topping method (instead of grated cheese) to any non-vegan readers too!

This recipe has a lot in common with our ultimate vegan lasagne, but is quite a lot less effort as you just stir everything together then top with cheezy sauce.

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Savoury pastry hearts

Best eaten fresh from the oven!

We made these yummy crumbly flaky pastry hearts to celebrate John’s birthday and valentines day falling in the same week. They are quick, easy and yummy, and make a great snack, starter or accompaniment in place of bread.

This was so simple. I just took 1 batch of my home made vegan pastry and rolled it out. I then folded it over a couple of times (this gave them a lovely flaky layered texture, which led them to rise slightly), and rolled out to a thickness of about 1 cm. It was then ready to cut into heart shapes using a plastic cutter, and brush with olive oil. I included some garlic powder with the olive oil for extra tastiness. They took about 15 minutes in the oven at 180°C, but check them after 10 and take them out when they look golden and lovely.

Happy valentines day!  ♥

Sourdough starter made simple – 3 Key principles, and establishing your own starter!

The starter will bubble away as the yeast release Carbon Dioxide.

Since meeting John I have got really into sourdough. He introduced me to the concept, and I dipped into my housemate’s copy of Andrew Whitley’s ‘Bread Matters’ to establish my own starter and learn a basic sourdough loaf recipe. The idea is to allow wild yeast to colonise some flour/water mix, which, once well-established, can be used as a raising agent in cooking. It also has the benefit of adding a distinctive (and delicious) sour flavour to your food.

It’s been more successful (and tasty) than I could have imagined! The sourness (caused lactic bacteria that co-exist with the yeast in your starter), gives things a really unique flavour, that I just can’t get enough of!

Sourdough is really versatile, and now, in just a couple of years, I find I’m dependent on it, even taking it on holiday with me recently so that I didn’t have to miss out on my favourite dishes! Loads of my best recipes use it, for example our yummy vegan pizza, cheeky spiced garlic bread, and ethiopian sour injera pancakes.

As you can expect to keep seeing posts from me that use it, I thought I’d better tell you how to make your own! It’s really much simpler than I was expecting, and after daily attention for a few days at the beginning to get it started, it has been really low maintenance – I keep it in the fridge and only bother to feed it when I’ve used some. I’m really slap-dash with my techniques and quantities, but the yeast seem to be quite happy with this semi-neglectful arrangement and continue to thrive (I suspect it may even make them tougher).

If you’ve been put off by overly-complicated sounding processes in the past please read my method and consider trying again. Wild yeast are fairly simple little microbes and with a few very basic principles you can easily start your own colony! Don’t be intimidated, give it a go.

Three main principles of yeast-keeping are explained here, to enable you to keep your starter going indefinitely with minimal effort, as well as a simple technique to get your starter established.

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