Spiced Lentil Pancake Wraps and a Brace of Book Reviews
It’s pancake day and having just eaten the most delicious pancake wraps with spiced lentil dhal, I would urge you all to try something a little different today. The recipe I adapted comes from a rather special book from fellow blogger Dannii Martin, Hungry Healthy, Happy. I’m also reviewing another fabulous book from fellow Cornish blogger Jane Sarchet, Secret Kitchen, Southwest England. Read on for my recipe and the two book reviews.
Secret Kitchen, Southwest England by Jane Sarchet
Last year Jane had the arduous task of travelling around the South West of England seeking out the best places to eat and buy great food – a tough call, but someone has to do it. As the name suggests, the venues all have something a bit special or ‘secret’ about them. From tiny cafes, to restaurants, pubs, bakeries, markets and cookery schools, you’re sure to find something you weren’t aware of before.
It’s a proper guide book. By that I mean it’s easy to find your way around and look up places that are nearby or where you might want to travel. It has an index too. The first part is divided into counties: Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Bristol & Bath and Somerset. This is where you will find a selection of independent restaurants, cafés and pubs that offer something a little bit different. There is then a section on Delis, Bakeries & Suppliers. which has a map with the venues marked. Farms, Markets & Street Food follows. A section on Cookery Schools comes next and the book finishes with a handful of Foodie Towns. Or, I should say, almost finishes. There are a couple of handy pages right at the back that give best venues for specifics such as ‘value’, ‘vegan food’ ‘gorgeous views’ and a host of other useful categories.
Of course I immediately dived into the Cornwall section and lo, I found an entry to the appropriately named Secret Garden Café in Truro. In our charming capital Truro, really? How could I possibly call myself a tea shop connoisseur and not have known about this one? It’s mostly vegetarian food too and from Jane’s description, it sounds right up my street. On the opposite page is a vegan cafe in Falmouth. I’ve heard about it from several quarters now and the book confirmed that I really need to get myself down there.
The book is illustrated with stunning photography, all taken by Jane herself. Every entry has at least one picture and many have more. The book should come with a warning though; the lavish photographs not only make you feel hungry, but create a burning desire to jump in the car and head off to one of the venues immediately.
I’ve always wanted to do a tea shop guide and if I had, I’d probably have come up with a slightly different selection, but there’s no way I’d have been able to take such beautiful photographs. This is a must have book for anyone who’s interested in food and loves the South West. Thanks Jane for a whole heap of new food destinations to explore.
Published by Secret Seeker, ISBN 9781910992067, it has a RRP of £15. Jane blogs at The Hedge Combers.
Hungry Healthy Happy by Dannii Martin
Dannii’s book is a result of a very personal story – a story of weight gain followed by weight loss and a complete change of diet and lifestyle. This is not a book about dieting, no, it’s one about eating healthily and enjoyably. The full title of the book says it all Hungry Healthy Happy: how to nourish your body without giving up the food you love.
By taking regular exercise and cooking meals from scratch, rather than relying on heavily processed foods and take outs Dannii has maintained her ideal weight. The recipes in this book are not weird or faddy, they include some of our nation’s favourites. With a few tweaks, Dannii has made them less fat and carbohydrate laden. Recipes for comforting shepherd’s pie and macaroni cheese include cauliflower to reduce the carbohydrate load. Likewise protein rich quinoa is used to make sushi rather than white rice and courgetti is used rather than spaghetti to serve with the bolognese. Each recipe comes with a nutritional breakdown of calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, fibre and sodium per serving.
For those of us with a sweet tooth, (qui moi?) there is plenty to keep us happy, with banana bread, lemon squares and even chocolate chip cookies. Maple syrup replaces refined sugar and coconut oil is used instead of butter. Having made many similar sweet treats myself, I know how delicious they can be. Green smoothies sit alongside luxury hot chocolate and avocado and poached egg alongside chocolate hazelnut spread.
Whilst the recipes feature quite a lot of meat, I’ve found quite a few vegetarian and vegan recipes I want to try. Quinoa bean burgers and portobello mushroom pizzas are high up on the list as is the refreshing sounding Japanese noodle salad. Many of the meat recipes, such as sausage casserole and moussaka can easily be adapted to use vegetarian ingredients.
Although, I’m not convinced by the use of fat free or reduced fat milk and yoghurt in the recipes, I was pleased to see that most of the ingredients are wholefoods. When flour or bread are used, for instance, they’re wholemeal. There are plenty of fruit and vegetables present and nearly everything is homemade, including sauces and dressings.
As well as giving helpful pointers on how to lose and maintain weight, the book includes several useful tips on how to eat well for less. Dannii stresses that eating healthily doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Money saving ideas include, buying in bulk, eating seasonally and buying cheaper brands. A two week meal planner, complete with nutritional breakdown for each day is a handy tool that may help people get started on their own healthier lifestyle. The bulk of the book is of course, the recipes and these are divided into the following chapters: Breakfasts, Snacks and treats, Light Meals and Lunches, Hearty Main Meals, Side Dishes, Desserts, Drinks.
The photographs, taken by Jacqui Melville, are bright, clear and enticing. I was pleased to see that every recipe had a photograph. I like to be inspired by food and whilst the recipes are the most important part, pictures are one of the main ways this happens for me. I know I’m not alone.
All in all, this is a really well put together, useful and motivational book. It has lots of interesting recipes and ones you could happily live off most of the time. It’s a keeper and somehow, I will find a place for it on my overcrowded book shelves.
Published by Jacqui Small, ISBN 9781910254370, it has an RRP of £20. Dannii blogs at Hungry Healthy Happy.
As soon as I saw spicy lentil tacos in Dannii’s book, I knew I’d have to try them and soon. Dhal is one of my all time favourite foods. This is an adaptation of Dannii’s recipe, but that should be no surprise to regular readers who know I’m incapable of following anything exactly. I decided to go with pancakes rather than tortilla wraps as I had a load of kefir in need of using up and I thought pancakes might work very well as a substitute. They did. I threw everything into my Optimum ThermoCook to make the pancakes, but I’ve also given the instructions on how to make them by hand.
I don’t use garlic and onion powder, so I couldn’t make up Dannii’s taco spice mix, but I do have a freezer full of our chillies, so I used one of those. I also added a carrot. I had some rocket in the fridge, so used that instead of lettuce and I also made up my own tomato salsa as I had a couple of fresh tomatoes to hand. The guacamole I substituted with slices of avocado.
As I suspected from Dannii’s recipe, the result was excellent. They really hit the spot on a miserable blustery day, being warming, filling and very, very tasty. CT and I ate them for lunch on Sunday and were satisfied for the rest of the day.
- 225g split red lentils - soaked for at least an hour if possible.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion - finely chopped
- 1 large organic carrot - scrubbed and diced
- 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 hot red chilli (seeds removed) - finely chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 scant tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- a few sprigs of parsley or coriander
- a squeeze of lime juice
- 300ml kefir
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seed oil (or 2 of olive oil)
- 2 large free range eggs (I used duck eggs)
- 170g (6oz) wholemeal flour
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- a little olive oil for frying
- 1 bag of rocket (or salad greens of choice)
- 1 ripe avocado - sliced
- Fry the onion in a large pan with the olive oil over a moderate heat for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots and fry for a further couple of minutes or so. Add the garlic and cumin seeds and stir.
- Give the lentils a thorough wash in several changes of clean water.
- Add to the onions together with the chilli, paprika and oregano. The salt is best left until the end as it can lengthen the cooking process.
- If the lentils were previously soaked, just cover slightly with water. More will be needed if unsoaked. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, checking the water situation occasionally. You don't want the lentils to dry out, but also don't want them to be too wet, so add any additional water cautiously.
- When the water has been absorbed and the lentils are soft, add the salt, stir and turn off the heat.
- Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor or blender, until everything is finely chopped, but not smooth. I used the chop function on my Optimum ThermoCook.
- Either throw everything into a blender & blitz for 30 seconds, or place the dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly whisk in the wet ingredients until everything is combined and the batter is smooth. I used the smoothie function on my Optimum ThermoCook.
- Lightly coat a non-stick frying pan with olive oil and heat it to a moderate level. Pour in enough batter to just coat the pan (you should be able to get 8 pancakes out of this amount).
- Cook for 2-3 minutes until the batter no longer looks wet. Turn the pancake over and cook on the other side.
- Place on a plate and keep warm in the oven until all the pancakes are cooked.
- Place some rocket down the centre of a pancake, spoon over a little dhal, add a tsp or two of tomato salsa and finish with a couple of avocado slices. Fold the pancake over and repeat with the others.
- You don't need to soak split red lentils before cooking, but it does reduce the cooking time and makes them more digestible. It also makes them easier to wash
- If you cook pulses with a bay leaf or two or a bit of seaweed, it's meant to make them more digestible.
- If you're using organic carrots, keep the skin on as that is where much of the nutrients reside.
This also goes to Jac at Tinned Tomatoes for Meat Free Monday – it makes for a very satisfying meal.
And with the two gorgeous duck eggs, I’m hoping Dom over at Belleau Kitchen will approve the pancake wraps for Simple Eggcellent.
Other reviews of the books you might like:
- Breakfast burritos and Hungry Healthy Happy via Farmersgirl Kitchen
- Hungry Healthy Happy book review via A Glug of Oil
The post contains affiliate links. Buying through a link to the Optimum Thermocook will not cost you any more, but I will get a small commission. This helps keep Tin and Thyme blythe and blogging. Opinions are, as always, my own.