Aside

way to go with WOOD…

photo 3 photo 2 photo 1Whether a gorgeous set of skittles from here, the best wooden stacking toys from here, or a beautiful hand be down abacus from my cousin and her three children, there is nothing quite as good as the traditional wooden toys for your little one. We love them here at home and Little O’s walker, from family too, has been a huge hit. You can get one like ours from hereIMG_0036 1.

 

 

Aside

talking of DAHL…

photoSo we mentioned Dal in another post and here is a little piece from Sophie Dahl, mum, writer, cook, model… The list goes on! However this is a rather funny and special book of mine, which I can’t wait to read Little O. It’s beautiful illustrations with their smudged outlines and crazy funny faces and colourful flowers take you on a love-ly journey!

photo 2 photo 1 You can buy yours here

Aside

we all love a bit of DAL…

We really do all need a good dal from time to time and here I have my version of your standard but oh-so-delicious dal, totally inspired by Chloe, whom I’m sure I will mention again.

The word dal is also used to name the thick stew prepared from these pulses, an important part of IndianNepaliPakistaniSri LankanWest Indian andBangladeshi cuisine. It is regularly eaten with rice in southern India, and with both rice and roti (wheat-based flat bread) throughout northern India and Pakistan as well as BangladeshEast India, and Nepal where Dal Bhat (literally: dal and rice) is the staple food for much of the population. Dal is a ready source of proteins for a balanced diet containing little or no meat.

Here the dried yellow dal, whether chana for a smoother texture or moong for a more textured stew is left to soak in water for a minimum of 30 mins and then rinsed a few times in about 3-4 changes of water or until the water runs clear.

Prepare your ingredients…

  • 250g/9oz chana dal/moong dal (yellow dried split peas), rinsed until the water runs clear
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • Thumb size ginger, peeled and chopped or grated
  • a bunch of curry leaves, off the stalk
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped into quarters
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1-2 red chilli, sliced (I like to see flecks of red in mine, but chop finer if you prefer or add more/less)
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¾ tsp garam masala
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp Nigella/kalonji seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 900ml/1¾ pints water 
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh coriander to garnish

In your saucepan, which is on a low heat, add the oil, onion, chilli, spices, cumin seeds, Nigella seeds, ginger and curry leaves and stir so everything is covered and combined. Nothing quite beats the smell of fresh and dried indian spices over heat really! When your onion starts to soften add your dal and stir through so they are nicely covered. Once everything has had a chance to mix through and together, add about 900ml/1¾ pints of water to the pan, stir until boiling and then turn the heat down, cover the saucepan and let simmer covered for about 30-40mins or until lentils are just tender, adding more water if necessary.

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After you have let the lentils simmer for that time and most of the water has evaporated, and let simmer some more but stirring now, rather vigorously so has to smooth the lentils to a more dal texture or paste, adding more water if necessary. Season and taste as you go. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with some fresh coriander.

I love to serve with warmed chapati’s…