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Last weekend we had the most lovely food all weekend – and, obviously, all meat-free.  We had Mr Rigg’s parents over for lunch on the Saturday so it was quite a challenge for us to come up with something we thought they would love, as they both really enjoy meat and fish.  We decided on a curry feast and some little nibbly bites to start.  Then on Sunday we seemed to eat well, or at least what I would consider to be eating well.  See what you think.

Saturday 28th January

beluga lentil goat cheese crostini

Beluga lentil crostini.  It’s always nice to do something a bit special when you have guests, so we made these little tiny nibbles, a lovely recipe I’ve been wanting to try from 101 Cookbooks.  They are small toasts topped with a goat cheese and herb mixture – utterly scrumptious!

Now the pictures get a bit less lovely as I was testing out my new phone and rushing to get everything out!

Jamie Oliver Rogan Josh vegetarian curry

We made Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals vegetarian Rogan Josh curry – it’s got butternut squash, cauliflower, spinach and chickpeas in it and is utterly delicious – one of our favourite meals to cook.  From the same meal in the book we also made the lemon pickle (I thought it was disgusting, but everyone else said it was quite nice in small amounts with everything else) and carrot salad (I leave out the almonds and don’t add much chilli).

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So following on from my weekend (last week) with my family and then the little sister, this is what we got up to when she came to stay…

We made French toast or eggy bread.  The little sister had hers with cinnamon sugar and I added some crushed (and homegrown!) raspberries to mine…

We made ‘cheats’ wraps – seed flecked tortilla wraps filled with Moroccan style hummous, sweet potato falafel and homegrown lettuce.  Sadly only the salad was homegrown…

We also had a delicious girlie lunch at Tampopo (the little sister’s favourite) – we shared Vietnamese goi cuon, she ate yaki udon noodles and I ate pad Thai.  Sadly we ate it all too quickly and there are no photos to show for these delicious dishes.

However, we also grabbed some lunch from Selfridges which I did snap a few quick photos of before we devoured it.  A selection of Indian delights and a pesto, mushroom and cheese pretzel and a mango smoothie to share…

A vegetarian breakfast for a hungry sister – a fried egg, sunny-side up with diced vegetarian sausage…

As part of her final parting dinner we did a baked Camembert eaten with crusty white bread that we picked up at the Abbey Leys farmer’s market.  Recipe for how to bake Camembert (it’s really easy) here.

We also made to-die-for cookies.  These are Hugh’s 10 minute cookies from his River Cottage Everyday recipe book, and they are everything you want from a cookie.  They are moist in places but crispy in others, chewy, sweet, and bittersweet with dark chocolate…

And finally, just before we left to pop her on a train home, we whipped up a quick quesadilla.  Two tortillas pan fried in a little oil with grated cheddar cheese and chopped cherry tomatoes sandwiched in the middle…

I miss you little sister!


Last night we cooked a meal that we’d never had before, and it was delicious.  Over the summer I bought a recipe book called Freshly Pickedby Jojo Tulloh after reading a lovely excerpt from her book in a magazine on how to make the perfect salad.

One recipe I have been wanting to try from the book, is Sorrel dhal.  My favourite grocery, Unicorn Groceryin Manchester currently has big bundles of sorrel, so I thought this the perfect time to try this dish.  They also have a nice deli counter, with olives and hummous and all kinds of goodies (often an incredibly delicious homemade dhal!) and amongst all these I spotted a ‘channa salad.’  It comprised of a spicy chickpea salad – fantastically, Unicorn have a recipe for it on their website.


So along with some pitta bread (this was what we had in the freezer) rather than naan, we set about creating ourselves an Indian inspired feast.  The dhal recipe itself was not difficult to make, but I did have a few teething problems – nothing too difficult to fix though.  This was my first foray into dhal making, so it was bound to have a few hiccups.

Once the dhal was made, we served it up on plates with warm pitta bread and the channa salad.  It was more delicious than I was expecting, incredibly comforting, a wonderful blend of gentle spices and hot chilli, and all vegetarian.  Even N was pleasantly surprised and wolfed the lot down.

Below is the original recipe from Freshly Picked, with a few tweaks that I made whilst cooking it.


Sorrel dhal

Feeds 4

450g chana dhal or split yellow lentils (we used yellow split peas)
3 thick slices of ginger, unpeeled, smashed with the handle of a knife
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 – 1 tsp salt (use this as a guideline, I seasoned it until it tasted the way we liked it)
a pinch of garam masala (I used a generous pinch)
a knob of butter
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and flattened with the flat side of your chopping knife
2 green chillies, deseeded and finely sliced (I used one small green chilli as we don’t like too much heat)
a bunch of sorrel leaves, sliced into ribbons

Put the chana dhal into a saucepan and cover with about a litre of water.  Bring to the boil and remove any scum.  Add the ginger and turmeric and cook for at least 1 1/2 hours.  

Caution, if you are not experienced in using pulses, like me, check on your pan regularly.   I set my timer for 30 minutes as the cooking time on the packet of split peas said 40 minutes – I didn’t check on it during those 30 minutes and it boiled dry – an almost disaster!  I simply added more water and carried on cooking it until it was the ‘thick puree with the pulses very soft to the touch’ that Jojo describes later.

If you are following Jojo’s recipe…

Keep your eye on it during the last 30 minutes and add a little more water if it is too dry, stirring occasionally.  You are aiming for a thick puree with the pulses very soft to the touch.  Add the salt and garam masala.

Just before you are ready to serve the dhal, heat a knob of buter in a heavy frying pan.  Add the garlic and the chillies, quickly followed by the sorrel. 

Cook the sorrel down gently for 5 minutes until it starts to disintegrate.  Tip the whole mixture into the pan with the cooked dhal. 

At this point, I tasted the dhal and adjusted the seasoning to our taste.  This involved adding some more salt, and a couple of other ingredients: a little lemon juice to enhance the lemony flavour from the sorrel (perhaps I didn’t add enough) and some Tabasco sauce to increase the heat a little.

Add a little hot water from the kettle if it looks too thick.  Stir well and set aside until you are ready to eat it.

Jojo recommends that this dish goes well with sour chickpeas and chapattis (both recipes included in her book, Freshly Picked) for a simple Indian supper.  This is an utterly lovely book and I would recommend you go out and buy it and add it to your collection – it will become a family favourite!


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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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