Crazy About… Sautéed Lentils

Lentils veg 7Easy! Tasty! Healthy! Check, check, check. I do enjoy a culinary trifecta! This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to cook (it takes me longer to put my face on), it’s packed with flavour, it’s low-carb and low-fat, and can be served as a side dish or a main meal. Last night we had it with honey and mustard chicken breasts, and this afternoon I had it alone for lunch. It was delish as both. Here we go…

Sautéed lentils

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: Less than 15 minutes (no, really)
  • Difficulty: super duper easy
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Supplies:

500g lentils, cooked
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
500g baby tomatoes, halved
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 sprig rosemary
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil

Making It Happen:

Lentils veg 81. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic on medium for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sliced peppers, and rosemary and simmer for another 5 minutes.

 

 

Lentils veg 6 12. Add the lentils and lemon juice, and simmer for 2 minutes.  Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

 

Creamy Split Pea Soup with Bacon (Obviousy)

Split pea soup 6

This, my friends, is the shizzz. This creamy, bacon-y pea soup is the only pea soup you’ll ever need! And need I do. I need this in my life. Regularly.

Creamy Split Pea Soup with Bacon

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy peasy juice squeezy
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Supplies:

Split pea soup 1200g streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
1 large onion, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 leeks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and thinly sliced
2 cups green split peas, rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
250ml cream
Sea salt to taste, reserve until the end
Freshly cracked black pepper
Parsley to garnish
Fresh bread, toasted

Making It Happen:

Split pea soup 21. In a large pot, fry the onions and garlic in butter on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the onions are soft.

 

 

Split pea soup 32. Add the split peas and paprika and stir well. Pour the stock and water into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid partially covering the pot, for minutes 30 minutes(check your package instructions) until the peas are tender.

 

Split pea soup 43. While the peas are simmering, cut the bacon into small pieces and fry in the canola oil until slightly crispy. Set aside, reserving the bacon juices. Once the peas are tender, remove the pot from the heat and blitz the soup, either in a food processor, or with a handheld blender. Return to the heat, add the lemon juice, cream and bacon, including the bacon juices. Simmer for a further 5 minutes until the soup is well-heated.

Split pea soup 54. At this point, taste the soup and season with salt if necessary, and pepper. The bacon will make it salty, so it’s important not to add salt until this stage. Garnish with parsley and serve with toasted bread.

You can refrigerate this soup in advance for up to two days.

 

Crazy About… Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon

Stuffed mushrooms 9I belong to the school of thought that believes bacon makes everything better (next week’s recipe: split pea soup with, you guessed it, bacon). However, if you don’t do bacon, you can make these stuffed mushrooms without. I grow spinach in the garden, so I’m always looking for ways to use it in yummy dishes. I mean, we have an abundance of it. Why can’t I just grow bacon? WHY?

These mushrooms are filling, so you can serve them as a starter or a side dish. I tried them both ways (The Husband was a willing participant) and they were sufficient as either and the ricotta cheese adds a delicious creaminess. Bacon.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes total
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Stuffed mushrooms 14 large mushrooms
200g streaky bacon
200g spinach, steamed until just wilted
150g ricotta
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt and pepper

 

 

Making It Happen:

Stuffed mushrooms 21. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Cut the bacon into small pieces. Fry in canola oil on medium heat until cooked. Set aside, reserving the pan juices, and reserving 4 tablespoons.
Meanwhile, cut the spinach into small pieces and steam until just wilted, about 1-2 minutes.

Stuffed mushrooms 62. Remove the mushroom stalks. Mix the spinach, bacon and bacon juices. Add half the cheese, cut into small pieces, to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

 

 

Stuffed mushrooms 83. Spoon the bacon and spinach mixture into the mushrooms. Slice the remaining ricotta and lay on top. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon reserved bacon over the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

 

Crazy About… Asparagus and Green Bean Salad

Asparagus green beans 5This recipe is eeeeasy, people, and delicious, and healthy. I’m down! Ready in minutes, and served either warm or chilled, it’s tasty, low-fat, and delicious. Did I mention it’s delicious?

Asparagus and Green Bean Salad

  • Servings: 4 sides
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: ridiculously easy
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Supplies:

Asparagus green beans 1170g asparagus
200g green beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 disc low fat feta
Peppadews/ piquante peppers, halved
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

 

Making It Happen:

Asparagus green beans 21. Slice the asparagus and green beans into thirds. Steam them until al dente.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and add the asparagus, green beans, and peppadews. Fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.

 

 

Asparagus green beans 32.Crumble the feta over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #12: Ayam Kapitan (Captain’s Chicken Curry)

 

Happiest one year anniversary, my dearest Ann!

Happiest one year anniversary, my dearest Ann!

This month marks my and Ann from Grubbs n Critters‘ one year Monthly Mystery Munchies anniversary, and what a pleasure it has been! I’ve been challenged to create new recipes by thinking outside the box, pushing my gastronomical boundaries, and devising new ways of cooking, tasting and thinking about food. It’s been a tasty treat for sure, and I’ve had an immense amount of fun doing it. Happy one year anniversary Ann, and thank you for coming up with this fabulous idea! This has tremendously broadened my horizons (and waistline, but oh well).

Captain's Curry 10This month we did a culture swap. You see, Ann is originally from Singapore, although she’s been living in Thailand for over a decade, and she’s about to move to Holland. Sheesh, busy times! I’m from South Africa, no exciting worldly experiences for me. What a pleb. However, we have so many different cultures here, and thus so many different influences, one of them being Malay. I love curry! I mean, I’m obsessed. So when Ann suggested we ‘swap’ countries, I was thrilled. Just one thing: there’s a lot of food commonly used in Singaporean dishes that we don’t have here. Crap. Not to worry, I found a spice shop close by. Some women spend hours shopping for (faffing over) clothes, shoes, accessories, whatever. I, on the other hand, can easily get lost in a food shop. I was totally enthralled. The Husband wasn’t eager to spend hours there (his loss), so I grabbed the stuff I needed and promised to return. Probably on my own. With his credit card.

Back to my Singaporean dish – behold Ayam Kapitan. Yeah, I also had no clue. Turns out it’s a chicken curry, using interesting and exciting ingredients, some of which I wouldn’t usually use. Some of the ingredients I already had in my cupboard, others required a slight search. No worries, I enjoy a challenge. This dish uses some of my favouritist (that’s a word, ‘kay?) food – oh hi garlic, ginger, coconut cream, lemon grass (homegrown in my very own garden, no less) – basically I love every single ingredient. I’d never cooked with tamarind paste before, so that was an intriguing experience. I mean, I felt so *exotic*! Anyways folks, this dish is absolutely delectable. It perfectly fuses all of the ingredients to create a creamy, spicy (but not too hot), citrus-y beauty of a meal. By The Husband’s instruction (sometimes I allow him to think he has a say), I will be cooking this meal again. And again, and again, and then again. Here you go:

 

Ayam Kapitan (Captain's Chicken Curry)

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1 hour 30 mins, incl prep and cooking time
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Captain's Curry 71 teaspoons tamarind paste
1 red onion
3 leeks
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 green chillies (I leave the seeds in)
3 tablespoons macadamia nuts
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chicken stock
3 tablespoons lemon grass stalks
4 lime leaves
1 tin (400ml) coconut cream
1/2 tin (200ml) coconut milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
Freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper
Coriander to serve (optional)

Making It Happen:

Captain's Curry 51. In a blender, blitz the tamarind paste, onion, leeks, garlic, ginger, chillies, 1 tablespoon macadamia nuts, turmeric, and chicken stock, to form a paste. Add the coconut cream and give it one last blitz. Pour the mixture over the chicken, marinating it for an hour (or overnight).

 

Captain's Curry 32. In a large pan or pot, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and fry 4-5 minutes per side, until browned.

 

 

Captain's Curry 113. Pour in the remaining marinade over the chicken and add the coconut milk and cinnamon stick. Cover and boil for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat and partially cover, simmering for 45 minutes – 1 hour until the chicken is tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve on a bed of rice. Garnish with macadamia nuts and coriander.

Captain's Curry 4Remember to remove the lime leaves and cinnamon stick before serving!