Yellow Dal with Curry Leaves

The scent of spices cooking in the kitchen always gives me a sweet nostalgia for our days in India. It spins me off into long daydreams about our adventures. Using our hands to scoop up dal and rice. The sweet, comforting smell of chai dancing through the train carriage. Thick clouds of steam drifting off our plates of biriyani.

Yellow Dal with Curry Leaves

Being the foodies that we are, we talk about these moments (and food in general) a lot. But we also love spending time trying to recreate these special flavours at home. We make this Yellow Dal nearly every week, as we love it so much! It’s simple to prepare, has incredible flavour and is perfectly comforting without being too rich. Our Millet Flatbreads are an amazing side to this, or else it's really delicious served with short grain brown rice. 

Fresh curry leaves are the star of this dal. Tempered with spices and coconut oil, then added to the dal at the end, they add such an aromatic, tasty flavour to the whole dish. They also have some incredible health benefits - including anti-oxidant properties. Some studies have even found that the chemical constituents in curry leaves are helpful in fighting cancer! You can find fresh curry leaves in an Asian supermarket, avoid the dried ones, as they don't have any flavour.

Even if you haven’t been to India, we hope the scents and flavours of this dish transport you to some place warm and special …

Ingredients (Serves 4-6 with rice or breads)
for the dal:
2 cups split red lentils or tur lentils, well rinsed and drained
1/3 cup tomato pasata or 2 medium tomatoes
1 large onion, finely sliced (half for the dal, half for the tadka)
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
25 fresh curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder or grated fresh turmeric
2 green chillies (optional) 
2/3 tsp salt

For the tadka: 
2 tblsp coconut oil
1.5 tsp black mustard seeds
15 fresh curry leaves
1 dried kasmiri chilli (optional)

Method:
Put the rinsed lentils into a large pan and cover with water by 4-5 cm. Add in all of the remaining dal ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for around 30 minutes (45-60 with tur dal). The lentils should be very soft, use a potato masher or a wooden spoon to mash them into a creamy texture. You can add more water or simmer for longer depending on the consistency you like. We like ours like a thick soup. 

For the tadka, heat the coconut oil in a small non stick or small heavy bottomed pan. Then add the mustard seeds and cook for around 20-40 seconds until they are all popping. Then add the remaining half of sliced onion, the curry leaves and the chilli if using. Stir fry on a medium to high heat for 5 or so minutes until the onions just start to brown, then add the whole mixture into the lentil pan. Mix very well and then leave covered for at least 15 minutes for the flavours to infuse before eating. 

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Wishing everyone an incredible New Year! 

Quick & Easy Banana Flapjacks

Its a busy time of year. As everyone seems to be running around buying presents & making last minute preparations, you can find us in the kitchen - baking treats and drinking hot chocolate by the fire. These flapjacks are perfect for busier times.... they're simple to make, really delicious & are equally perfect as an afternoon treat or breakfast on the go.

Quick and Easy Banana Flapjacks

A few weeks ago we were sent some natural malt extract by Potter's Herbal, which goes perfectly in this recipe. Made using pure barley extract, this is a great substitute for refined sugars and also gives a delicious flavour to the flapjacks. If you don't have this, feel free to use honey or maple syrup instead!  

Ingredients (Makes 12)
2 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of seeds (we use a combination of sunflower & pumpkin)
2 tablespoon sesame seeds
3/4 cup of raisins or sultanas
1 cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened) 
1/4 cup of coconut oil
3 tablespoons of malt extract (could be substituted with honey or maple syrup)
3 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons of chia seeds (mixed with 8 tablespoons water)
1/3 teaspoon of salt

1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 5. 
2. In a cup, thoroughly mix together the chia seeds with 8 tablespoons of water & set aside.
3. In a small pan gently melt the coconut oil. Then in a small bowl, thoroughly mash the bananas.
4. In a mixing bowl combine all the other ingredients, drizzle in the malt extract using a spoon and mix well. Then mix in the melted coconut oil, chia seed gel and the mashed bananas.
5. Now using your hands press out the mixture onto a greased medium sized baking tray. We normally make them just under an inch thick. 
6. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes or until nicely golden on the top. Allow to cool slightly, then cut them up into squares and enjoy!

(Optional tip: For extra deliciousness, after cutting up, you can spread them individually on a larger baking tray and cook for another 5-10 mins so they are even more caramelized)

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We hope everyone has an incredible Christmas full of love, health and good food <3 

Millet Flatbreads (Gluten Free)

We're always on the look out for healthy alternatives to our old favourites. So when we find something that's even tastier than the original, there's definitely a reason to celebrate. Millet is one of our favourite ingredients right now ... it's delicious cooked as a grain (tastes similar to couscous) and the flour makes these incredible indian flatbreads. Perfect with a curry or with some warming winter soup, they're also completely natural & wholesome . No gluten, no weird ingredients that you find in gluten-free products and no rubbish feeling afterwards! 

Millet Flatbreads (Gluten Free)

Originating from Africa & China, millet is a really nutrient-rich grain, full of iron, calcium and B vitamins. In India, it's often cooked as a sweet porridge breakfast dish, but these breads are hands down our favourite way to use it. You can find millet flour in most health food shops, asian supermarkets or online (it may be labelled as 'Bajri' flour' in an asian food shop).

We've added in some coriander to the dough to give the breads a really nice herby flavour too. If you're looking for some main dish inspiration,they would go great with the following dishes: 
Fragrant Coconut Curry
Baingan Bharta (Aubergine Curry) 
Mung Bean Dahl

Millet Flatbreads (Gluten Free)

On a side note, we're not completely 'gluten free', but we do avoid eating gluten in our day-to-day cooking. I think there's a lot of misconception about gluten and gluten-free products in society right now. From all the research we've done and from listening to my own body, I don't think gluten is good for a lot of people. There are definitely better choices to make food wise. But equally, I don't think it's healthy to go and buy a 'gluten-free' loaf of bread made with a huge list of ingredients from unnatural sources. I looked at some savoury gluten-free wraps recently that had sugar as one of the main ingredients - definitely not cool or healthy. I think the only way to navigate through this problem is to try and stay as natural as possible. See what works for you, read labels, make your own food & find trustworthy companies who are transparent with their ingredients. 

Anyway, back to these delicious flatbreads. We hope you love them as much as we do! 

Ingredients (makes 10 small flatbreads)
2 cups millet flour (Bajri)
1 large handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
80ml water (approx)

1. In a pestle and mortar, make a  smooth paste with the ginger, garlic and a splash of water.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and coriander. Then add the ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice and olive oil and mix very well. Finally add the water slowly and kneed until you have a smooth dough. You may find the exact amount of water you need varies, but you want a dough that just holds together and isn't too wet. If you have problems rolling it out then its probably too wet, so kneed in a little more flour.
3. This is the tricky bit, rolling out the breads. Take 2 clean sandwich bags and using a rolling pin, roll them out one by one between the two bags, so that they are around 10-12cm in diameter. You should find that you can gently remove them from the bags onto the palm of your hand, and then flip them into the pan. It can take a few goes to get the hang of this but it is well worth it!
4. Cook them in a heavy bottomed frying pan, on a medium heat, for about 60 seconds on each side until golden. For added flavour you can finish them off with 20-30 seconds directly above the flame on your hob, this gives them a charred and smoky flavour typical of Indian breads made in tandoor ovens. If you do this use tongs and keep flipping the breads so that they don't burn too much!

Have you ever cooked with Millet? 
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Roasted Celeriac with Lentils, Mint & Tahini

Celeriac may not be the prettiest root vegetable, but it has a delicious, sweet & nutty flavour that goes so well with fresh herbs. We've loved experimenting with this underrated root recently... it's equally delicious roasted or mashed & it's currently in season in the UK, so it's a really sustainable option too!

Roasted Celeriac with Lentils, Mint & Tahini

Seeing as Tahini is one of our favourite ingredients, it also seems fitting that the two foods go perfectly together. Made from ground sesame seeds, tahini is a really versatile, rich ingredient used in a lot of Middle Eastern recipes. We seem to get through a lot of tahini every week, but thankfully it's full of goodness & is completely delicious! It's also a great source of calcium, B vitamins, iron and potassium. If you can, try and buy tahini made with un-hulled sesame seeds, as they keep more of their nutritional content (we love the organic version by Meridian). 

Bay Leaves - Roasted Celeriac with Lentils, Mint & Tahini
Mint Leaves

There are a few steps to this recipe, but it's well worth the effort and time! This dish works great as a main served with salad and pickled vegetables, but it would also work well as a side dish or part of a mezze. We hope you enjoy it! 

Ingredients (Serves 4 as a main dish with a side)
1 Large celeriac (Approx 1kg)
A large bunch of fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp tahini
150g of green/put lentils, well rinsed
6 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp of dried thyme
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or fire cider
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt & pepper

Method
-First, add the lentils, thyme and bay leaves to a pan. Add plenty of water and boil gently until just cooked through (20-30 minutes depending on the lentils).  They should retain their shape. 
-While the lentils are cooking prepare the celeriac. Chop into 1 inch pieces and parboil in salted water for 6-8 minutes until just soft. Drain and add to a deep baking pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Then roast in the oven for around 30-40 minutes until crisp and golden. 
-Once the lentils are cooked, drain them well and remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. In a bowl mix the lentils, while still hot, with 1tbsp of olive oil, the vinegar, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
-In a small bowl, mix the tahini with 2-3 tbsp of warm water until smooth and pourable. 
-Once the celeriac is cooked removed from the oven and mash some of the pieces in the pan for a good texture.
-Then divide the lentil mixture evenly over the celeriac. Generously scatter over the chopped mint and drizzle with half of the tahini dressing. 
-Serve the rest of the tahini individually at the table with even more chopped mint.

Roasted Celeriac with Lentils, Mint & Tahini

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Have you ever cooked with Celeriac? We'd love to hear your experiences!