There are three questions I am frequently asked in emails.
- Why do you have those upturned flower pots on the posts in your garden?
- How can I start living simply and start to save money?
- Do you have any more recipes I can try?
I have two from scratch recipes for you today. Spicy lentils and fruit cup cordial.
This is a variation of the spinach dhal recipe in the fabulous Women's Weekly Slow Cooker recipe book. This recipe is very tasty and could be suitable for vegans and vegetarians if you substituted the butter for olive oil and used vegetable stock or water. It's not hot, although it does have chilli, pepper and curry powder in it, it just gives it a good spicy note. Served with crusty bread, it makes a delicious winter meal.
- 500 g/1 pound yellow spilt peas (or green) or split orange or red lentils
- 45 g/1 ½ oz butter
- 2 medium onions - chopped
- 4cm piece (1 ½ inch) fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 fresh chilli - as hot as you want it to be
- 3 tablespoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 800 g/28 oz tinned tomatoes
- 1 litre/quart of water OR half and half water and homemade stock
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- bunch silverbeet or a pack of frozen spinach
- Rinse the peas well until they are clean and the water running off is clear. Drain them.
- Heat the butter in a large frying pan, cook the onions, ginger, garlic, chilli and curry powder until the onions are soft.
- Add the onion mixture to a slow cooker.
- Stir in the tomatoes, water/stock, sugar and peas and mix well.
- Cover and cook for about 10 hours on low.
- About 30 minutes before serving, add the chopped silverbeet or defrosted spinach.
FRUIT CUP CORDIAL
Pick whatever juicy fruit you have in the backyard, or buy oranges, lemons and passionfruit.
- Sugar syrup - one cup sugar boiled in one cup of water until the sugar is dissolved. Or use whatever sweetener you usually use
- Juice of four oranges
- Juice of one lemon
- Juice from about 10 passionfruit - sieve to keep the seeds out, but reserve about a tablespoon of seeds
- Zest of two oranges
- Zest of one lemon
- Combine all the ingredients in a large jug, then add the tablespoon of passionfruit seeds.
- Pour into a clean bottle, seal and store in the fridge for up to three weeks.
- Make up the cordial with tap water or sparkling mineral water and ice to your taste. It's not as strong as commercial cordial so we use about ⅕ cordial to ⅘ water.
I went back to the neighbourhood centre yesterday and worked on getting a solar grant so we can cut down on their $1,200 per quarter electricity bill. Finished that and will start writing notes for workshops today. I loved being back there with the other volunteers and workers, and seeing the Flexi students; some of whom were doing the Naplan tests. There are 28 students there now! I feel like I've gone back to my real life.
Tomorrow we are driving south to see Jamie, Sunny, Kerry, Sandra and Shane. All is well in my world.