Late night dhal for my little darling last night. I've been using the Ella's Kitchen app as a rough weaning guide and this dhal recipe is a winner. The recipe wanted mild curry powder, which we naturally didn't have, like the time I needed ground cardamon for a pudding and had to dig out the pestle and mortar *sigh*, so after a quick google search I concluded that a tsp of cumin, turmeric and coriander and a clove of fresh garlic would do. I quadrupled the recipe in order to use up some leftover coconut milk and have enough to turn into soup for Granny Monday.
Baby dhal (with enough for 4 ladles of grown up soup):
200g dried split red lentils, rinsed
450g potato, peeled and diced
240g carrot, peeled and sliced
8 tbsp coconut milk
8 cardamom pods
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 clove of garlic, grated
1. Pop lentils and potato in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the carrot and cardamom. Cook for 15 minutes until soft, skimming off any foam. Fish out the cardamom pods then drain, reserving the cooking water.
2. Return the lentils, potato and carrot to the pan, together with the spices, garlic, coconut milk and enough of the reserved water to combine. Blitz until smooth.
To turn two ladles into grown up dhal soup:
1 tbsp tomato puree
100-200ml chicken stock
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Small bunch of fresh coriander and chives, chopped
1. Add all of the above, bar the fresh herbs, to step 2 of baby dhal. Serve and sprinkle herbs on top. Enjoy, marvelling at how brilliant you are for having made fresh soup and that it actually tastes good.
2. Get Granny to feed daughter baby dhal whilst you finish your grown up dhal. What's not to love? Realise grown up dhal soup could be served up to best friend's vegan boyfriend. Remind yourself to make a note.
3. Remember to freeze baby dhal in ice cube trays before it goes 'off'. This will invariably involve getting cross at the ice cube trays which will already be engaged with another unidentifiable orange-ish puree that won't just 'pop out' into the freezer bag, requiring much banging, a sharp knife and swearing, the uttering of 'I'm fine' when asked if everything is under control and then need washing up. Because life's irritating like that.
We're slowly starting to get somewhere with this weaning lark. It was the red cabbage and apple combo that did it. Thanks to that, Alice is now opening her mouth like a little baby blue tit. Even when it's mixed with other things - last night it was added to; aubergine, sweet potato, red pepper, red lentils, carrots, orange and tomato. The colour was interesting but the bowl was empty. Little baby Yeo yoghurts also seem to be a winner. And she will eat your hand off if it's holding a carrot puff stick (a little like a wotsit). Three meals a day are a little way off. Teatime is set, but breakfast and lunch are movable feasts depending on the diary. For example, she had lunch and tea today (two lots of dhal with chopped up roast chicken in the second sitting - am slightly dreading the output), but yesterday just her technicolour tea.
I'm finding this weaning lark is forcing me to cook things that we don't normally use - like red lentils. Which have turned out to be surprisingly easy to cook. Who knew. I assumed you'd have to soak them but no, quick rinse and into the pan they go. The soup was so good that Granny asked for the recipe and I might actually cook it again just for grown ups. As silly as it sounds, it's these little milestones - late night cooking and managing to turn something into grown up soup in daylight hours for the first time that keep me sane. I struggle to email but manage to IG. Phone calls are a no-no but I'm pretty good at WhatsApp responses. Staying up late to write a blog post once a week is empowering. How I laugh when I think of the many pre-Alice hours I frittered away. We're slowly finding a rhythm.