The Part of My Becoming

There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time
– Milan Kundera

I forgot how therapeutic cooking is. Chopping, pounding, stirring, tossing.. the perfect mindless activity while I self-doubt my parenting method. Let him be. No, he doesn’t understand yet. Let him cry a little. 30 mins is not a little! Besides, he’ll outlast you. Ahh, the never ending argument. Our little guy is headstrong. When he wants something, he will fight for it till he gets it. And when we finally give in, he will let you know he wasn’t happy that you did not just succumb since the beginning. Daddy’s attempt to show who the boss is met with equal fervor. And daddy’s is not winning…

Lentil & Brussel Sprouts Salad 2

Brussel sprouts are a vegetable that only now I taste and discover. Its bad rep goes for a mile, H doesn’t really like them. Then in my attempt to convert him, I bought a kilo of it. One you-must-be-joking kilo of brussel sprouts. Hey, I bought 200 grams of it (about 10) and ate in one sitting. So I figured one kilo between the two of us is possible. Until H informed me that he’s gonna be away for a week. How convenient.

Anyway, this is a recipe from Happy Yolks that I barely modify. I found the salad to be delicious and filling. I would certainly make this again when H is back home. The only thing I would do differently is probably cut the pears thicker. Comice Pears are in season and they are really delicious. When I cut them thinly like I did here, the sweet juicy taste is overshadowed by the dressing, which is a shame. That or add them to the bowl last. (more…)


When Lentils Go Dink Dink

Lentil Salad Smoked Salmon Green Apple Radish Mint

How do you like your lentils? In a soup, I like them mushy thick. As an accompaniment to a meat protein, I like them in rather soft. But in a salad, I like my lentils to make a ‘dink dink’ sound when they fall onto the plate.

Radish Blonde Lentil

I made this earlier today in what I hope a good attempt to add a balanced meal into our diet. H is very much a sandwich guy. As long as there’s a bread (yes), a good cheese (always), and anything from ham, sausage, or tuna (plenty to all three), he would be happy to run on his own. Forget about the salad nor the fruits.

Truth be told, I’m rather egoist in this matter: I get bored easily so I need to try new things every so often.

Lentil Salad with Smoked Salmon, Green Apple, Radish & Mint

This salad is rather whimsical in terms of ingredients and flavors. Each of them have their own bold flavor. The lentils are nutty, the salmon earthy, the radish bites sharply, the green apple is nicely sour & crunchy and the mint is refreshing. So I made vinaigrette with Dijon mustard to go along with it. It is a nice summery salad that you can ship onto the table in no time at all. My kind of salad.


What’s In Your Bowl?

Lentil Coconut Soup

My collection of lentil recipe has been pretty non existent. Lentil stew (French & Indian), lentil salad, lentil burger/meat ball. That’s it. Boring. I’ve bookmarked this particular recipe for a very long time. Few days ago while sorting and deleting my growing bookmarks of recipes, I toldl myself either I delete this bookmark or I make it. Just get on with it already!!

To say the least, this Coconut Lentil Soup was pretty friggin’ awesome. I didn’t create this recipe, but boy it was hard not to pat myself on the back. I can understand now why someone would want to sell his birthright over a bowl of soup. (more…)

My Kind of Soup

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Chickpeas & Quinoa
I didn’t grow up eating lentils, they aren’t inside the South East Asian repertoire of fantabulous dishes. But during the 11 years I lived in Singapore, I had many bowls of Dal and Haleem. And that’s how my love story with lentils began.

When I married H and moved to Luanda, lentils are the obvious thing to cook. It’s extremely affordable, it’s filling, it’s super healthy and it’s something that H grew up eating. It’s kinda no-brainer.

This is a hearty soup without being heavy in your stomach. The multitudes of textures from the quinoa to the chickpeas to the lentils are just lovely. The yogurt adds a touch of creaminess. You can use green lentils, red lentils or like me, yellow split lentils (also known as Chana Dal). This is my kind of soup when I’m stuck at home while the ocean pours over the entire city.

(Source: Closet Cooking via Zesty Cook)
serve 2-3

1/2 tbsp oil
half small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tbsp curry powder – add more to taste
1/2 cup yellow split lentils
2 cups vegetable stock
half can diced tomatoes
1 tsp chili sauce – I used Sriracha
half can chickpeas, drained and washed
half cup cooked quinoa
chopped cilantro, to garnish
Plain or greek yogurt, to top

  • Heat the oil in a pan.
  • Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add the lentils, stock, tomatoes and chili sauce.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas and quinoa and warm them up.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve with a garnish of cilantro and a dollop of yogurt.


By Accident

(serve 2)

2 medallions of foie gras (0.8 cm thick)
red lentils enough for 2, picked and cleaned – For us, 1/2 Cup of dried lentils are enough
1/4 large yellow onion, diced
1 medallion of ham, diced – see picture below
water or chicken broth
salt, pepper
celery leaves & twigs, for garnishing & taste
1-2 tbsp OO

  • In a pot, heat up the olive oil and add in the ham and yellow onion. Saut√© till the onions turns translucent
  • Add in the lentils and 1 cup of water/broth. Check every 15 mins, and add more water/broth if needed. Cook until the lentils have turn soft, but not overtly mushy.¬†Season the lentils to your liking.
  • When the lentils are about to finish, heat up a pan over medium heat and spray lightly with oil. Carefully lay the foie gras medallions and let them seared. After 2-3 mins or when they start to turn brown (you will smell it), turn and brown the other side.
  • Ladle some lentils onto a curved plate, carefully lay the foie gras and garnish with celery leaves.

What really surprised us is how even with minimal taste on the lentils, the foie gras is creamy enough to embalm and cocoon the entire taste in your mouth. Obviously the ham lends a good taste to the lentils soup (if I may call it a soup). And the fact that you still have to chew the ham, gives an interesting texture.

This is the ham I used. It comes in a roll with beautiful fat marbles.

I used red lentils (Lentilhas vermelhas in Portuguese) to draw the eyes to the foie gras. The lentils are actually bright orange colour in their dried state but turn soft yellow once cooked.

Lastly, I originally intended the celery leaves & mini-twigs to serve as garnishing, but surprisingly the crisp taste of celery balances the entire earthy flavor. Like david vs. goliath. I’m actually quite pleased with how the entire dish turned out and feel a little bourdain-esque!