Monthly Archives: November 2014

Moujadarra – Rice and Lentils from Lebanon


I used to think rice and lentils were the most boring dinner and they certainly have a dodgy reputation but since eating them Lebanese style with lots of crispy fried onions I have changed my mind.

It’s the ultimate comfort food and perfect partner for so many simple things. Roast vegetables, fried egg, grilled fish…. They are also delicious one their own with just a little labneh or Greek yoghurt on the side.

Here’s a picture what’s left in the bowl half way through serving. Hunger overcame us and the picture got delayed!


We ate them tonight with  spicy pumpkin and stir fried kale


Here’s the recipe, it’s called Moujaddara

or Rice and Lentils with Crispy Onions.

This is enough for four hungry people


4 big onions, peeled and sliced

200g green lentils

200g long grain rice or basmati rice

1tsp cummin

1 tsp seven spice

150mls olive oil

Put the lentils in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil then simmer, covered, for about 15minutes – until the lentils are half cooked and most of the water has been absorbed.

Heat the oil and add the sliced onions.


Fry on a fairly high heat until the onions become golden and begin to get crispy. Lift the onions out of the oil and leave to drain on a piece of kitchen paper.

When the lentils are half cooked add the rice, the cummin and seven spice mix, 300mls of water and half a tsp salt. Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes.

Take off the heat, give and leave to relax for five minutes.

Tip the rice and lentils onto a warmed serving dish and scatter the crispy onions on top.

Serve with labne on the side or try some pumpkin chopped into chunks and tossed with olive oil and roasted with a little cinnamon, cumin and coriander.


Served with a drizzle of tahini sauce




Funky Carrot Cake

Now that the cookbook is up and out there it’s time to get back blogging. This has been sadly neglected in the past month.

I have recently rediscovered one of my original cookbooks. It was printed in 1973 ‘The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook’, and it is so well thumbed that it’s held together with sticky tape.


It was printed when cookbooks contained very few pictures which means there are in fact an awful lot of recipes. I reckon we probably tried near enough fifty percent – it was one of our only cookbooks – before it retired quietly to the back of the shelf. Rereading it is like a trip down memory lane – food’s like that – and I find myself remembering all sorts of gatherings and occasions. There was one recipe, which did have a picture , for a carrot cake.


This was before carrot cake became famous and in every cafe. What attracted me was not only the cake made with a vegetable but it was also orange. I thought that was so funky that I had to try it. I made it for a friends birthday. I vaguely remember it being an outrageously expensive cake to make – ground almonds were expensive and we were as broke as church mice. I was living in an apartment in Antwerp with a dodgy oven. It was before I owned any kitchen gadgets and the cake was made with the aid of a potato masher and a whisk .

On rediscovering this recipe I’ve realised that it is also gluten and dairy free which most carrot cakes aren’t and also is why the cake is orange. It’s made with eggs, almonds, sugar and carrots.

Here’s the recipe made with the help of a food mixer and a magic wand – aka hand held blender.

350g carrots

225g sugar

6 eggs

350g ground almonds

grated rind of 1 orange

1tbs brandy or similar booze

Peel the carrots and chop into equal sized pieces. Put them into a small saucepan, cover with water and a little salt and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for about fifteen minutes or until tender. Drain and buzz to a smooth puree. Leave to cool.


Pre heat the oven 170c

Line a 24cm cake tin with parchment paper

Separate the eggs.


Put the yolks into a bowl and whisk until they are pale and frothy, add the sugar and continue beating until the mix is blond and creamy.


Add the carrots, ground almond, orange zest and tablespoon of booze.


Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks then add a tbs sugar and whisk until stiff peaks.


Using a large metal spoon fold half of the egg whites into the carrot mix then tips the remainder of the egg whites onto the mix and fold them in.


Pou the mix into the prepared cake tin and bake for about 50minutes.


To test the cake is done poke skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean it’s ready