We start our cookery classes in 2018 back at Q3 Langley where this term we are teaching the Year 8's. Both myself and Laura have been looking forward to this Spring Term to see how the children have got on since Summer 2017, the last time we taught this group of pupils. Will they have remembered any of the techniques and skills we covered, will they still be keen to get involved with our classes?
Back to school yesterday and we weren't disappointed in the slightest!
The students at Q3 are always a delight to teach, but it was wonderful to see just how many remembered those recipes from last year and the knife skills that we covered and how to still put these into practise.
What continues to amaze and delight us is the children's keenness to try their food and adjust/adapt the seasoning to suit their palates. Asking for the salt and pepper again, tasting how lemon juice brings out the different flavours in the dish or even adding a few more chilli flakes to alter the heat of the dish to their liking.
You can't always choose a recipe that everyone is going to be wowed by and want to cook, lentils just aren't for everyone, but even those that are unsure still try their cooking and I like to think it gets taken home for someone else in the family to have a try.
Coconut and Spinach Dhal, a very healthy 4 servings
200 g red lentils rinsed and drained
1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil
2 onions finely sliced
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
small pinch of chilli flakes (more if you like the heat, but add at the end after tasting)
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¾ tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 can coconut milk
500 ml vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Juice of half a lemon (optional for taste at the end of cooking)
handful frozen spinach
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes. Keep an eye on the pan at this stage, the garlic and ginger can catch quickly in the pan and start to burn faster than you think.
When the pan is smelling wonderfully fragrant, add the spices, chilli and mustard seeds to the pan and cook for 1 minute, here we are infusing the oil with these delicious fragrances which will be incorporated in the dish.
Add the lentils, tomato puree, coconut milk and stock, then stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for 20-25 minutes until reduced and thick.
Stir in the lemon juice if using and spinach, then cook for a further 3 minutes.
Serve warm with rice, naan bread or poppadoms.
We like this Dhal with a fragrant and spicy Chutney
Mint and Coriander Chutney, 4 servings
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh coriander leaves
1 – 2 green chillies
3-4 tbsp water (as required for consistency)
squeeze lemon juice
optional – ground cumin and fresh ginger
Pick the mint leaves off the stalks and place in the processor, do the same for the coriander. Blend all ingredients in a processor until really smooth.