Aubergine and Chickpea Curry #SundaySupper

I love spices. I have over 30 different kinds of spices and seasonings in my kitchen. One of my favourite things to do when I am traveling is to find local spices to take home and try. So a theme all about spices was right up my alley. Now some people hear the work spicy and they instantly think of spicy hot, but spicy foods can mean so much more then just hot. It is also about flavour.

Now I have wanted to add to my retour or Indian recipes for a while but to be honest it is one of those cuisines that does sometimes intimidate me, especially veggies ones. I have had some bad experiences with recipes turning out not so great so I have hesitated delving as deep as I would like into that culinary world. But I had some aubergines that were calling for me to do something unique with them so I decided today was the day.

I will admit that I questioned whether or not this would work, I don’t know why. I love aubergines, I love chickpeas there was no reason this wouldn’t taste good and yet I still doubted.

So what was the result?

This curry dish has now gone down as my all time favourite none meat curry dish that I have ever cooked at home. It is INCREDIBLE, so full of flavour you won’t know what hit you.

Aubergine and Chickpea Curry

800g (28oz) aubergine (about 4-5 small-medium sized aubergine) cut into small cubes
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
2 red chillies, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
400g cooked chickpeas
400mL (15.5 oz) coconut milk
3-4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala

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Slow Cooker Chana Masala #SundaySupper

I’m back!

After a week holiday in Italy for my brother’s wedding and then a crazy week at work with studying for my citizenship test, which I am so happy to say I PASSED! I have been MIA but I am back and so excited about this Sunday Supper theme. Today we are all sharing slow cooker meals. And I don’t know about you but I could always use inspiration on slow cooker meals. Especially when life gets as busy as it has for me.

For my recipe I decided to attempt something I have wanted to do for a while now, Chana Masala.

This is one of my favourite curries and yet I have never had success with it at home. But this recipe from Simple and Sustainable Cooking seemed a lot easier then others I have seen so I decided to finally give it a try. I have to say when I noticed she used dried chickpeas and yet didn’t soak them first I foolishly questioned whether or not it would work. Not only did this recipe amaze me with how well they cooked but it has made me want to start to cook my dried beans in the slow cooker instead of the stove from now on.

We seriously have such an amazing collection recipes to share with you today so don’t forget to check out the rest of the Sunday Supper menu.

Slow Cooker Chana Masala

140g (3/4 c.) dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
600mL (2 1/2 c.) water
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 onion, diced
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander powder
3 tomatoes
1 inch piece peeled fresh ginger
1-2 green chilies
1 tsp garam masala
1 lemon or lime
2 scallions, chopped
handful of coriander (cilantro)

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Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

I am not supermum, I am not supermum, I am not supermum. I have to keep telling myself this every day when yet again I fail to complete all of the tasks I have given myself. There is no way I can realistically get everything done that I “need” to in a day. So why do I get so upset with myself when I fail to do so?

Please tell me I am not alone in this?

As if being a mum wasn’t hard enough, we then have to deal the the constant nagging voice in our heads that tells us we need to give more. But you know what, that nagging voice needs to be quiet because it is time to believe I am a great mum and wife and that I already give my all and that is all I can expect from myself.

So in the spirit of being kinder to myself I have dusted off the crock pot and started looking again to easy meals for the week days. And what a way to start my easy meals, this makes enough for 4, so the plan was it was going to be an even easier meal idea for the following day as reheated leftovers. I am happy and sad to say this didn’t make it to the next day leftovers. I am afraid I will have to do a few more hours on the treadmill for this because both hubby and I polished off two helpings of this amazing dish. But trust me once you try it you will understand. The compliment I got from Chris was that I had finally captured that amazing smell you always smell when you go into a Chinese restaurant that you always want but you can’t seem to find a dish that tastes like it on the menu.

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

500g (1 lb) flank steak, cut into bite-size pieces
25g (1/4 c.) cornstarch
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 large green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
120mL (1/2 c.) soy sauce *I recommend using reduced sodium
120mL (1/2 c.) water
110g (1/2 c.) soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
120mL (1/2 c.) hoisin sauce
recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

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Tarka Dhal

*Edited
Sorry for the long silence. Between getting sick and starting a second job I just haven’t had the time to sit down and blog as much as I would like. I am hoping this week to start carving out more time to dedicate to the blogging world so I can get back into things. This post accidentally went out on Thursday minus any images and after I discovered it went out I quickly took it down. So now I am over due it to you so here we go.

A few weeks ago someone asked if anyone had some good Indian Curry recipes, I thought to myself ‘Oh of course I do, I make curry a few times a month’. But then I looked through my posts and I realized I didn’t have as many as I thought I did. Shame on me.

Curry is the national dish of in England and it is a cuisine that we love and enjoy every month. So I am rectifying the lack of good Indian curry dishes with this fantastic lentil curry, Tarka Dhal. I never knew how much I could love lentils until I tried my first lentil curry, which admittedly wasn’t Indian but Malaysian. When I was 14 we went to Malaysia and I was first introduced to lentil curry. I had only eaten one type of curry dish up until that point but I discovered curry is so much more then just one dish. I have to admit I had no idea how vast the curry world was. The possibilities are endless, there are sweet curries, spicy curries, creamy curries, tomato based curries, vegetable curries, meat curries, I really could go on. If I posted a curry recipe every day I probably wouldn’t run out of unique recipes to share after several months. I could almost guarantee that if you don’t like curry there is probably a curry out there for you. Different cultures have their own versions and their own mixture of spices. I was recently introduced to North African curries and now have a new culinary cuisine that I can’t live without.

One of the wonderful things about a Dhal curry (lentil curry) is they are very cheap to make. I keep all of these ingredients on hand so recipes like this make their way into my kitchen frequently when my budget is at its tightest. This recipe was a new one for my to try and I have to admit I was slightly confused by some of the original instructions and I had to make a few changes to match what I had on hand. I am a bit confused by the original recipe’s instructions for what you do with the chillies. The result is a bit strange of a process and I am not sure what it adds but I will say this tasted wonderful so I guess in the end that is all that matters. Right?

Tarka Dhal

250g (1 1/2 c.) red lentils, rinsed until the water runs clear
1 litre (4 1/4 c.) water
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 whole green chillies, pricked with a knife (my chillies were large so I just added 2)
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
3 tomatoes
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
Adapted from BBC Food

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Enjoying our Meat-Free Month Challenge with a bowl of Winter Vegetable Soup

For the month of January hubby and I have gone meat-free. I haven’t talked about it yet, I think part of me didn’t want to talk about it because I was worried that if I talked about it too much I might build it up and then not have the follow through that I needed. I already knew that I had two meat posts that were scheduled for this month so I wondered if it wouldn’t make sense to say I am going meat-free this month. But those meat dishes were cooked and eaten before this month so I guess I can let it slide.

Why meat free?

Well there are two parts to that answer. Hubby and I put on some weight last year and we have been wanting to eat healthier. It isn’t that I feel meat is unhealthy although too much of it is. But I have found that giving myself a challenge like this has forced me to get creative with our meals. And having to pay more attention with coming up with this many meals that are meat-free has helped me focus on keeping it healthier.

The second part is to do with Small Wallet, Big Appetite. You see I talk a lot about cutting down your food budget but I feel like I don’t do enough to show examples of how to do that. One thing that helps immensely is to not include meat for every meal. Normally we try to keep our meat dishes to only 3 times a week. Making this change a few years ago made a huge impact to our food budget. But I noticed as I started working on a better recipe archive, my current one is terrible I know, I noticed how few meat free dishes I really had. I feel that in order to encourage you to cut down on your meat dishes that I needed to do a better job of actually giving you recipes in order to do so.

I have to say I am really glad I took on this challenge because, while it has been harder than I thought it would be, it has brought back my creativity. And we are feeling a lot healthier, especially after all the heavy meals we are during the Holidays. Giving up meat won’t be a permanent change for us but it is inspiring us to go meat-free during the week more often. At the end of the month I will talk more about the financial aspect of the challenge.

This soup is perfect for this cold weather, filling, yet not too heavy and very healthy. Perfect for a cold winter day.

Winter Vegetable Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large leek, rinsed and sliced
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large swede (rutabaga), peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
900ml (12fl oz) vegetable stock
4-5 tablespoons milk
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt, black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste

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