What have I done since Hell froze over? Well we’ve had visitors, and a jolly good time we had too with John and Eric. We went shopping and walked and ate and walked and drank and walked even more. Great fun! I have also re-started my classes and I seem to have overestimated my capabilities. I am doing Spanish on Monday evenings; exploring the Metropolitan Museum on Tuesday afternoons; French contemporary conversation on Wednesday lunchtimes; Catalan on Thursday afternoons. I have been full of how I wouldn’t confuse the languages – well, no, it’s sort of true but basically French comes more naturally to me, and I really have to concentrate on the others. I am enjoying myself though and am busy for the first time since I came here. I am still going to the gym very regularly and have lost the 4 lbs gained over Christmas. Sadly, I’ve discovered that I just need to look at a glass of alcohol to put on a pound, but I live in hope!
Last Thursday, my friend Lorna and I went to explore the newly refurbished City Hall, built in the early 1800s and one of the oldest buildings in NYC. The tour was free courtesy of the Mayor and we enjoyed ourselves very much. It amused me to see New York referred to as Novi Eboraci on the seal – somehow I didn’t expect them to use Eboracum.
City Hall – look at the blue blue sky – this is typical of New York
The inside of the cupola – not a great photo but you get the idea
The Council Chamber
And this amused me a lot – apparently it was misplaced for a while and so that it wouldn’t happen again, this was stencilled onto the desk.
So back to today’s recipe – I was woken up today by a text from Daisy asking if I had any recipes that include red split lentils. My immediate thought was to text back and ask if she likes dahl (dal, daal, dhal are all alternative spellings). Daisy doesn’t know but she’s willing to try! One of the culinary surprises in India for me was how prevalent dahl is. When we travelled around Rajasthan, we had dahl in some form with every dinner. Basically dahl is a dish made mainly with lentils but also chickpeas or split peas, which is served just with rice, or with other dishes. I really like dahl, but often find that there is too much food if we order it in an Indian restaurant. Anyway, here for Daisy, is Red Lentil Dahl. Madhur Jaffrey has been my guiding light with Indian cookery for many years now and this is her recipe
Red Lentil Dahl – Ingredients
- 8 oz / 225 gm red lentils
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp oil or clarified butter
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 2 small dried chillies
- Half small onion, thinly sliced
- Half large clove of garlic, thinly sliced
Wash the lentils well in water, drain and put into a large pan. Cover with a pint / 750 ml cold water and bring to the boil. Skim off the grey scum and remove.
When boiling, stir in the turmeric, turn down the heat to the lowest, and partially cover the pan. Cook for 40 mins. Check and stir occasionally. Add more water if you think it is sticking or is getting too thick.
Heat the oil and add the cumin and chillies. When the chillies are crisp, add the onion and cook until browned. Add the garlic and lightly brown. Immediately pour into the lentils and cover completely. Turn off the heat. Eat.