Apologies for missing June's cookbook club post!!! Rest assured, that means TWO recommendations are coming for this fabulous month of July... First up for this month's Figbar cookbook club selection (straight off of our home shelves!) is Elly Pear's Let's Eat!. What can I say about this lovely cookbook except, it's fab! A lot of cookbooks claim to be approachable and fun, but this one actually is. I love the layout of chapters which includes "Freeze for Ease", "Building Blocks", "Menus". I love the creative and intuitive movement of the dishes; for example, the "Freeze for Ease" section gives a base dish and then multiple recipes which use it to create interesting and varied meals. I love the fun and realism (Menus include "dinner for four when you want to show off a bit but not stress" which has recipes for seared scallops, smoked haddock tart, Stephen Fry cabbage, cocktails, and spiced plum dessert!). It's just a great all-rounder of a book with some delicious recipes. Can't go wrong.
What really sold this book to me was a full page dedicated to this: "I have a hashtag on Instagram solely for ideas to use up that bag of kale in the fridge, so there's no excuse to waste any! #100wayswithkale" YES, ELLY!
To highlight this cookbook's brilliance, and why we have it in our home kitchen, we've made the Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Dhal. It's included in the following recipes: "as a soup", "with a 6-minute egg", "with wilted greens", and "with seared tofu, avocado, pickles and seeds". We made it with the seared tofu here, but have the rest of the dhal neatly stacked in our freezer for more when we need a quick and healthy dinner.
Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Dhal
4 Tbsp oil
2 medium onions, peeled and finely diced
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and grated or finely chopped
3 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
2 tbsp garam masala (nb: Elly includes a recipe to make your own if you want!)
1-2 tsp chilli flakes, to taste
2 tsp black mustard seeds
500g red lentils, rinsed
2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the onion, ginger, garlic and a big pinch of flaked sea salt and cook for 10 minutes until softened but not coloured, stirring occasionally.
Dissolve the bouillon powder in 1 litre of boiling water for the stock. Add the garam masala, chilli flakes and mustard seeds to the onion mixture in the saucepan, stir thoroughly, then add the lentils. Give everything a good mix. Add the tomatoes and the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down tot low and cook for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender and retain no bite, stirring frequently and deeply so the lentils don't stick and crushing the tomatoes a bit as you go. Add the coconut milk, remove from the heat and season to taste with flaked sea salt and pepper.
(nb: Elly also gives instructions here on how to freeze this dish, how to chill it, and exactly what to do. Worth having this book on your shelves to help with meal prep!)
NB: (from Steph)- pictured here is our go-to 1x1 flatbread (again! Three times we have featured variations of this!). This time it's 1-to-1 plain yogurt to plain flour with 2 gloves grated raw garlic and 1 tsp black sesame seeds and a strong pinch of Maldon sea salt, rolled and pan-fried in a little olive oil for a quick and easy naan-type flat bread.