Lentils and cordial

11 May 2011
There are three questions I am frequently asked in emails.
  1. Why do you have those upturned flower pots on the posts in your garden?
  2. How can I start living simply and start to save money?
  3. 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
  1. Rinse the peas well until they are clean and the water running off is clear.  Drain them.
  2. Heat the butter in a large frying pan, cook the onions, ginger, garlic, chilli and curry powder until the onions are soft.
  3. Add the onion mixture to a slow cooker.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, water/stock, sugar and peas and mix well.
  5. Cover and cook for about 10 hours on low.
  6. About 30 minutes before serving, add the chopped silverbeet or defrosted spinach. 
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

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large jug, then add the tablespoon of passionfruit seeds.
  2. Pour into a clean bottle, seal and store in the fridge for up to three weeks.
  3. 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.


  1. So, why DO you have overturned pots in your garden?

  2. Hi Rhonda,

    I'm assuming that yellow split peas and lentils can be used interchangeably in the spicy lentil recipe? I don't see lentils in the ingredients.


  3. Ashley, to stop poking out our eyes when bending over near the stakes.

    Irene, yes, or green split peas, split orange or red lentils.

  4. I love using lentils for meals, tasty, healthy and super budget friendly.
    Thanks for the cordial recipe too.

  5. I am dancing a happy dance! That recipe was published in a much earlier WW cooking book as well, I had a copy which I loaned to someone and it never came back. I have been looking and looking for that recipe for about five years as it was a favourite of ours. Thanks Rhonda.

  6. Hi Rhonda

    I love lentils and make my own cordial too. I use the pulp and peels leftover from juicing old fruit. You or your followers might be interested in looking at the recipe.


  7. Thanks for the recipes! Our winter orange crop will be ripening soon and we always have lemons but the passionfruit could be tricky to find in the shops at this time of year. Lol, may have to substitute something else and see how it tastes :).

  8. Have you been told today? Your blog is awesome. Thank you for taking the time to share...

  9. Both recipes look delicious - I'm always looking for more ways to eat dried legumes and can't wait to try the lentils.

  10. Wonderful lentil recipe!! The photo leaps from the page on this chilly afternoon. And if I don't have a slow cooker, any modifications needed to get a really great result? Apologies for being in remedial grade here.

  11. Rose, I'll send you the original recipe.

    martina, with no slow cooker, do everything the same but put it all in a large saucepan, bring to the boil and cook on very slow 2 - 3 hours.

  12. Hi Rhonda,
    thank you very much for the recipes.
    Have a wonderful trip !!
    Hugs from The Netherlands

  13. Oooh spicy lentils, yum! We're vegos so always looking for new vegetarian recipes. Thank you! :)

    Katie x

  14. It's been a big couple of NAPLAN days here in the NT too.

  15. Just want you to know how much I appreciate your blog. I am trying to lower our food bill and the lentils will help. Lana www.lifeatwildberrycottage.com p.s. every morning when I make my bed I think of your post about the importance of sleep and making the bed. I used to think it was a chore but now I feel like it is something important.

  16. Thankyou Rhonda. I am dong the Live Below the Line challenge next week ~ and this cheap lentil dish sounds just perfect for it.

  17. Hi Rhonda,
    Thank you for the lentil recipe, i was looking for something tasty like this. Also just wanted to say how inspired i am by your blog, and also by the comments from readers. Whenever i feel down it cheers me up and gives me a renewed sense of purpose. You have changed the way i think about housework,and i feel much happier moving towards a simpler life!
    Thanks again

  18. Hi Rhonda Jean!
    I am a long time lurker. I so enjoy your blog, but just now have decided to come out of my little corner of the world and comment. I'm actually following your directions for your great 'On My Mind' idea, but the post is gone (probably due to problems on blogger) so I'm just commenting here. I am Becky, aka. Mrs Maker at www.oldredhoodie.blogspot.com. Greetings from Manitoba, Canada!

  19. Thanks so much for advice on slow cooking. Maybe I should consider getting a cooker? Is it just another gadget? Am always resisting that!

  20. Hello would you mind letting me know which webhost you're utilizing? I've loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then
    most. Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a
    fair price? Thanks, I appreciate it!

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