Saturday, 2 April 2016

time for change

As we lost our pooch last summer, and life and time have inevitably been marching on, I have recently realised that my waist has been gradually increasing, and as you may recall, when I was pregnant with Tiny, I suffered from pregnancy diabetes which puts me at a far higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes any way, but the waist increase, weight gain and general family history and tendency have basically led me to take the decision to join a weight loss group a couple of weeks ago.  I have always considered myself to be health-aware, but the group and the literature has been a revelation! I'm very conscious that I don't want the kids to lose valuable calories or nutrients, but I want to minimise my unnecessary calorific intake and increase my activity levels too. It will be a learning curve, but I've learned some great tweaks and tips that don't impact flavour or ease.
So far what it hasn't been is cheap, but I'm planning to try to use this blog to record the "credit crunch kitchen" versions of the healthy living/weight loss recipes I find or devise.

The first really GOOD adaptation of home food I've done was a homestyle masoor daal. This red lentil dish has always been a favourite comfort food, and as yesterday was the first anniversary of my very beloved (and complete foodie) Uncle's death, I wanted to make something he loved. However on a "Year's Mind" (death anniversary) we usually keep a vegetarian "fast", so daal was clearly the way forward.

I "measured" the lentils (split red lentils, or "masoor") as I always do, 2 cupped handsful per person, but I have small hands, and don't mind leftovers. I would say 300g would feed 4-5 people with rice.

I then added 1 tsp of ground coriander, and optional tsp of ground cumin, and a pinch of turmeric powder.  Then add a teaspoon of salt.

Cover with water so that there is about an inch of water showing above the level of the lentils. Now either put a lid on and boil and simmer until the lentils are soft (20-30 mins), or if using a pressure cooker: lid, bring to pressure and cook for 7-10 minutes.

While the lentils cook, spray a non-stick frying pan with Frylight (I used the coconut one) or up to 7 sprays of proper olive oil spray and fry the following in this order, leaving a few minutes before adding the next:
half an onion, finely SLICED
half and onion, finely CHOPPED
a cube of frozen grated ginger, or a teaspoon of finely chopped/grated ginger.
2-3 sliced cloves of garlic.
Allow plenty of time and a low flame to let these all soften well.

Add these to the pan of lentils and stir, return the frying pan to the heat, (using more oil spray if needed) and fry 2 chopped fresh tomatoes, until well collapsed, and then add to the lentils.
Finally stir in a tablespoon of tomato puree. 
If you want this a bit more creamy, you can also add a good dollop of fat free yogurt or low fat fromage frais.

Serve with rice. On this occasion, I cooked a cupful of frozen peas with the rice, to make what I always called "party rice" because we never ate this except on weekends at people's homes at the "share parties" I have described before.

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