Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lentil & Sausage Curry

Yum, this is one of our favourite meals! Like most of my favourite recipes, I tend to make it a little different every time so my instructions are very dodgy as to quantities! This is a vegetarian recipe, but liking it so much, J made a meat sausage version one day and said it was just as good if not better! If making a meat version, it is probably a good idea to grill your sausies first.

You need:

* A little vegetable oil
* 1 large onion
* Vegetarian sausages (I use 1 packet of Vegie Delights Hot Dogs, Traditional, or BBQ flavour)
* Half jar of curry paste (any will do, I like Korma or Rogan Josh)
* 1 can chopped tomatoes
* 2 vegetable stock cubes
* About 1/2 pack (200g?) red lentils
* 4 cups Water
* (Optional) Thickened light cream

Heat the oil in a large pot or saucepan and add the chopped onions. Fry until translucent. Add the curry paste and stir for a few minutes until nice and fragrant. Add the can of chopped tomatoes. Mix the stock cubes into water and add this to the pot too. Bring to the boil and then add your lentils and sliced sausages. Bring back to the boil then lower to a simmer. Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking and to check it does not dry out - I don't measure my lentils, so sometimes put in too much and find I have to add more water. Simmer for at least 20 minutes. I like my lentils mushy so I normally simmer for about 30 mins. Taste the mix now and see how you like it. Depending on the curry paste and your own preference, you may want to add more water to lighten the taste, or add a little curry powder or ground chilli to intensify the flavour. If your mixture is quite runny, you might want to add a little cornflour to thicken. When done, for a creamier curry, you can stir in 1/2 - 1 tub of light cream to your taste but this is optional.


* Serve with steamed rice if desired, although I like a kind of soupy curry, so I eat a big bowl of it on its own without rice like a chunky soup.

* I usually add whatever vegies need using up to this curry. Green beans, mushrooms and capsicum are all good added to this.

*When I can't be bothered standing over a stove, I make this by putting ALL ingredients at once into a big casserole pot and putting it in the oven at 180 degrees. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to cook and you need to take it out every half hour or so to stir. But it is so much less energy than the saucepan version, and tastes even better!

Tortilla Stack (or easy Sunday dinner)

J calls this dish Sunday Special because I often make it on a Sunday when I can't be bothered cooking! It is soooo quick and easy. I used to make it as a special dinner and make my own refried beans and salsa (which took all day, well, hours), but now it is my stand-by "fast food" and I use packets and tins and jars of everything. It takes less than 5 mins to put together and about 20 mins to cook!

If you don't put much cheese in and skip the sour cream, it is pretty healthy too because most cans of refried beans now are almost fat free, whereas years ago they used to be made of lard (yuck!). And the salsa and tortillas are virtually fat free too.

You will need:

* 4 flour tortillas
* 1 jar of ready-made salsa (the hotter the better)
* 1 can of refried beans (you can use two and make a thicker version, which will serve 4 - 6 easily)
* Grated Cheese
* Sour cream to serve

Spray a 23 cm round cake tin with cooking spray. Lay your first tortilla in it. Then spoon in 1/3 of the can of refried beans (if only using one can, 2/3 if you have two cans!) and spread evenly. Top with salsa. Add a little grated cheese. Lay your next tortilla and repeat process. And again. (A bit like making a lasagne!) Lay your last tortilla on top, then top with remaining salsa and grated cheese. Put in 180 degree oven for about 20 mins or until cheese is melted and all looks hot and smells good.

Serve cut into wedges with a dollop of sour cream and a green salad.

* Note: I have skipped the cheese between the layers before without sacrificing any taste, so to lower the fat content, you can just put a little cheese on top if you like.

* This serves 4, but if you are not serving with a side salad, a hungry person can easily eat 2 quarters and hence will only serve 2 (and in this house, this is often the case!). If you make it with 2 cans of refried beans it is really filling and I would challenge anyone to eat more than 1/4.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lyn's Quilt

I made this simple quilt from a Jelly Roll. I am addicted to Jelly Rolls at the moment. I was intially reluctant to use them at all, thinking the fabric strips were just too narrow to be anything but limiting, but I have been having fun inventing lots of simple designs to use them with. In fact, I have two more simple quilts in progress, made with Jelly Rolls.

I gave this lap quilt to a friend who has moved quite a few hours drive away, for her birthday last year.

Lyle's Quilt

I think this quilt will be the bane of my life - it has been sitting in fully pieced contentment for nearly a year now, and I still haven't managed to quilt it. I bought some backing off a website but after washing, the colour slightly changed and is now unsuitable! So I just have to remember to get some plain black homespun for backing. I am going to commission a talented quilter friend to finish this one for me with some nice fans or another Asian design.

This quilt is for my friend Lyle who has a fetish for all things Asian. You probably can't see on this photo, but the fabrics have Asian (Japanese I believe) writing on them. He is constantly harrassing me to get this finished, and so I have promised it in time for Winter this year. Fingers crossed.