Monday, 13 January 2014

Meatless Monday: Lentil Sloppy Joes

I was finally home early for a change today, but also incredibly hungry. I'm not sure why. I had lunch but it was small. The easiest thing when you're hungry and want something fast - sandwiches! I remembered some leftover cooked lentils I had in the refrigerator and decided to make me a sloppy joe... vegetarian style! It was quick and delicious, even though I didn't have any good bread. It is also quite hearty with a lovely texture that you don't even miss the meat. The list looks a little long but the quantities of each are small and it's things we always have.

Lentil Sloppy Joes
  • 1 can Lentils (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 small Onion (chopped into fine cubes)
  • 1 small Bell Pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 small Carrot (chopped)
  • 1/2 stalk Celery (chopped)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 small Tomatoes chopped (with juice)
  • 1 Tbsp. Ketchup
  • 1/8 C. Tomato Sauce (or 1/4 C. if you like it "sloppier")
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Roasted Geera (or regular cumin)
  • 1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp. Soy Sauce
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional; contains anchovies)
  1. In a little olive oil or butter, sauté garlic and onions until fragrant, about two minutes.
  2. Add bell pepper, celery, carrot, tomatoes and pepper flakes. Sauté for another couple of minutes.
  3. Add lentils and cumin. Mix well.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, sauté for another 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Adjust seasonings.
  5. Served on toasted buns with lots of cheese!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Spaghetti Carbonara (and a late Christmas gift!)

Two days ago, another late Christmas present arrived and I am excited! I've always found French cuisine to be quite intriguing. My sister knew this and bought me this wonderful book!

This book should work wonderfully with a few of my resolutions; I am eager (and nervous) to read it and try some recipes. It will give me an opportunity to expand my culinary horizons. Everyone loves French cuisine!

On another note, I have hardly been cooking for the year thus far, I've been quite busy with work and other things but that's just another opportunity to challenge yourself. What's fast and delicious, easy and cheap? One of my absolute favourite pasta dishes of course... Spaghetti Carbonara!
Traditional spaghetti carbonara is super easy, and incredibly flavourful, even with just three ingredients besides salt and black pepper, and the optional parmesan. Pasta, bacon and eggs! Sounds like a good breakfast too when you list it like that. Mmm, I'm thinking about it now, I can do with a little carbonara.

Spaghetti Carbonara (serves 4)
  • 400g Spaghetti
  • 200g Bacon (cooked and crisp)
  • 4 Medium/Large Eggs (or 6-8 egg yolks)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parmesan
  1. Salt water well and boil until al dente.
  2. Crack and beat eggs in a large bowl, add black pepper.
  3. Using tongs, add spaghetti directly from boiling water to eggs a little at a time and toss, coating the pasta with eggs well.  We add a little pasta at a time to ensure that we don't scramble eggs.
  4. Mix in bacon and grated parmesan if desired and toss to distribute evenly(ish).
  5. Serve hot! Carbonara is not the same when cooled/cold.
If you're in a hurry or on a budget but still want a flavourful, restaurant-quality meal, try some carbonara. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

2013 was a challenging but good year. I've got a whole new year, with opportunities for whole new experiences, ahead of me and I am going to try to make the very best of it. I've only got a few resolutions, trying to keep them all as realistic as possible.
  • I am going to work on my writing style; there's quite a bit of room for improvement.
  • I will try more new recipes, and accept more challenging ones.
  • I will be more consistent in my writing, as long as I have the time and opportunity. I'll also try to make more time, when possible.
  • I will work on my food photography and styling.
  • I will travel more often, whenever the opportunity presents itself.
I received a wonderful late Christmas present to help me out with some of those resolutions and I'm super excited about it.

This book also contains practical exercises at the end of each chapter so I can put what I learn to immediate use. And what better way to improve other than doing?

In my last post, I spoke about passions: children, travelling and food. I mentioned before that this combination of things can easily be transformed into a more fulfilling life - charity! Travelling and doing good for people, which will not only be fulfilling because of personal passions but also because of that incredible sense of fulfillment that you get from doing charity. However, I can't do it as much as I would like to... Yet! Once I have the opportunity however, I will be giving more, trying to create happiness and children's lives, as they do for me so often.
There are quite a few things on my list of things to make this year, and I'll try to get as much of them done as I can. Included in this list are quite a few vegan and raw recipes, as well as perfecting some classic recipes. I don't intend on trying to finish it all in one year... The end of the year or the duration is not final. I would simply like to try a little harder and do a little better in everything I do.
Happy New Year!!!